Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Odds & Ends

Last night was an interesting night for me. I finally broke down and took my Warlock, Emprius, into the random LFD (aka PuGland) for the first time. To be honest, I have not touched him since the patch dropped. I had been so focused on running Ruhtra through stuff that I felt my alts needed some PuGland love too! So I logged on around midnight local time and checked on the guild and then hit the LFG system. I spent my time waiting making some of the special cloth. I am trying to stockpile some for the guild and so when I get the extra mats, I just make the trip over to Dragonblight and hit all three at once. So I had just finished my last cloth conversion when I got my notice of group. I accepted and ended up in H FoS. Yeah nothing like being rusty and landing in the new instances. Well, the group I was with geared very similar with only one person being a little higher of an overall gear level and everyone seemed to be decent as we greeted each other.

So we started out and managed to clear the instance in what I would consider a decent amount of time for a group that was geared at the appropriate level for this run. We did have a few deaths along the way, but no one was really aggrevated or upset. We actually spent more time laughing about some of the randomness of how we died. We downed the first boss (and sorry but I cannot remember the guy's name) and I got the caster sword! Now I have to stop here a moment and complain! I run this stuff with Ruhtra often and have gotten a big fat goose egg in regards to gear. I go in there for the first time ever on heroic and get the best caster sword available to me pre-raiding?!? Is it a sign that I should devote myself wholy to the dark side? (Queue evil maniacal laughter!) Anyway, moving on! We progressed through and finished the instance and also completed H PoS as well. We called there because it was late and we all have jobs that required us to be semiconscious.

That was the highlight of my night. I was finishing up the run and chit-chating in guild at the same time (and yes I can multi-task!) when I noticed one of our fresher 80's was being pretty hard on theirself for the DPS they were putting out. Now this person, when on, is one of the more quiet guild members but is always polite and considerate of others. Really, the prototype for what all guild members should be, so I asked them what was wrong. Short end, they got in a PuG who voted to kick them for low DPS. I was kind of angered by this since I have carried a lot of bad players through stuff and never vote to kick anyone (even when they should be booted, I just do not vote). So I pulled up their armory and gave them a couple tips on what they could do to improve their overall performance and told them to forget about the loser PuG and assured them that I would make sure and run with them anytime they needed. I even offered to dust off the healing gear and rain down some Holy Light for them.

I said all of that to get to my next point, which is that I have had a change of heart. You see, yesterday, Honor's Code had a post up that was talking about the availability of geared raiders currently in the random PuGs and how this was effecting the PuGs. Some people agreed with what he was saying and others did not. I at first agreed with what was said; however, after speaking with my own guild member last night, I have really rethought my attitude. I think there is a valid point that because so many of us are running for a specific piece of gear or to round out our off-spec gear that we expect all members of the random PuG to perform to our level. However, I think that we have a responsibility (and yes this is a social statement) to those who are not geared to go at a pace which makes them comfortable. I am the first one to push any group to move faster because I like the challenge of pushing myself, but if this is causing someone to not enjoy the game or perhaps start thinking negatively about their own abilities then perhaps we could slow down a little for them?

Secondly, if you are degrading someone openly for being terrible, then I challenge you to instead send them a whisper and offer them some suggestions in a positive way to improve their overall play. Some people really are so new to the game that they do not understand some of what we consider the basics and by taking a brief minute to offer a few pointers such as hit cap or def cap we stand the chance of improving the game overall as a whole. Now, if the person responds with a negative comment and acts like they know everything, then by all means kick them to the curb. I just think that we could all come down off of our high horses and not make the rest of the folks around us feel so uncomfortable.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Change Is In The Air!

So, I hope that the changes to the layout here at Holy Shock has not scared you away. I have been wanting to make some changes to the layout for some time now. I was going to hold off until the first of the year, but I figured that I had some extra time tonight and took advantage of this. A couple things I wanted to point everyone to is the changes to my bloger list. It is going to grow something fierce. I had tried for a very long time to keep it down to a few blogs only. Sort of a highlight of the blogs that I feel provide some good content that is useful. The only problem is that I have found so many good bloggers lately that my list that I stored for my favorites at work and at home have gotten out of control. So I am merging those two lists into the current group of bloggers that I follow. I also changed the list name to focus on blogs about gaming as there are so many of us who do play other games (I know hard to believe huh?). Along with that, I am keeping my list for blogs that are not focused on WoW or gaming and will add more to that list as time goes on as well.

I also wanted to point out the nice video that I have up on my blog (right above the posts). It was made by my friend and guildie and shows the progress that we have had as a guild. This is actually the second video he has done and hopefully some day down the road we will get some more (hint hint hint)! It is also a shameless promotion of our guild as we are going to very soon start openly recruiting new members. I warned you that it was shameless!

The final change, which is not showing up this week, is going to be just once a week, I am going to highlight another blogger by linking their post. This will not really be anything earth shaking or new, but more focused on who I felt really provided me with some solid information or something that I found to be funny.

Well, that is pretty much it for me. I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays and because I cannot say it at work, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

LFG, Like It Or Hate It? That Is The Question!

Alright, so I have spent a couple of days in PuGland! I pretty much hate that place in general. So what about the new LFG system with cross realm PuGs? Well, I am somewhat up in the air. It definitely gets you into a lot of runs much quicker. It has provided a way to gather all the vendor gear in a matter of hours. You meet some really nice folks and for the most part everyone is really nice. People even apologize when they make a mistake. So everyone knows me and knows that I am a pessimist by nature and in order for me to live up to everyone's expectations I am now going to explain why I do not like the new system!

My biggest issue, so far, has been with the actual grouping up of people. I pretty much have stopped healing on my Paladin because the stress is not worth it. I have always said that I love the tanks we have. They are, for the most part, well rounded in their play style. They watch their healer's mana and manage agro with a degree of skill that I could only hope to find in PuGs. However, in PuGland (my new name for the LFG system) you get these tanks who want to run everything in under 20 minutes. Now this is fine and wonderful I suppose, except if you have no skill. My very first PuGland group was for the new instances. I ended up with three Death Knights and one Mage. The Mage was really good. One of the Death Knights was extremely polite but undergeared or did know how to break 800 DPS, and the other two Death Knights were "special". The tank was trying to blaze a trail, but the only problem was they were not able to hold agro. I took such a pounding I was afraid I ran in there wearing my prot gear. The other Death Knight, while geared well and putting out massive DPS, paid no attention to the agro that they were creating. Now, I like to think of myself as a more elite healer (yes I said it and I will not shy away from it), but these two Death Knights made me work harder than I did in PuG ToCr runs. I chalked it up to just bad luck.

My second PuGland experience was in random mode. I figured might as well grab my frost emblems and see how that goes. I ended up in a H UK run. Easy right? No where near easy. I had the tank who was on speed! I am used to fast tanks, Scrawny (our resident Warrior tank) runs at a break neck speed but is aware of the rest of the group. When he first learned to tank in BC he was moved as if his bony ass was on fire! He never stayed in one spot, which made me have to chase after him to heal him. Yeah those were the days! So I said all that to certify my credentials of running with tanks on speed. However, this tank not only wanted to on speed, but I think he had some bad LSD or something too. He would run after things that were not even there. He held agro well enough, but I honestly think he may have been blinded during this run. I am not talking chain pulling either. I am talking running through a mob, hitting his Thunder Shock ability and then running into some small narrow corner out of my line of site. The entire group would move to be able to see and he would run the mob straight through us. It was the single worst H UK experience I have ever had, bar none. It may be the worst healing experience I have ever had. We ended the run and I quickly left the group and solemly resolved myself to stay DPS in PuGland.

How about you all? What experiences have you had in PuGland? Are they brutal or are they great?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Balance

So today I wanted to talk about something that is WoW related and not WoW related. Please do not stop reading just because I said this. I actually think that it is an important topic that we all need to think about every now and then. Recently I have seen a disturbing trend within our blogging community. It seems like a lot of us are losing our balance. No, I am not talking about stumbling drunk from the consumption of too much adult beverages (as one friend puts it), but I am referring to our balance in our daily every day lives. We saw the first signs of this way back when a well known blogger made it very public that he was dealing with some very real life issues regarding neglecting his family because of spending so much time in the game. It has continued on over the months but here recently we have seen a few more well known (and perhaps not so well known) bloggers decide to step away from WoW (and blogging in some cases) because they had lost the balance in their life.

I know that here recently I have made mention several times of going through some personal stuff which has kept me away from blogging as much as I would like. Some of it has been simply needing to run some errands or do some chores and some of it has been more serious matters. In the end, it all boiled down to balance. Sure I could stick my head in the sand and ignore the things that needed to be done, but that would lead me into even greater issues I am sure. Instead, a long time ago (probably unknown to many) I created a simple balance chart. If I feel I am spending too much time doing something, I can make a quick check against it and say nope, that fits in here or damn what in the world was I thinking (?)! Actually, let me show you exactly how my list looks today (simply as an example):

  • Health - Have to be well in order to be of any use to anyone else.
  • Family - Above all else, my family is important.
  • Work - This was a toss up, but without solid income you would not be able to pursue much else.
  • Friends - I try to be there for my friends whether it is moving furniture or being a shoulder to cry on.
  • Home - The place where you live deserves a spot on your list. If your roof is collapsing, then you best get off your butt and at least dial a roofer.
  • Recreation - This is the stuff you find relaxing. Throw a lot of different things in here including sports, movies, television, games, and even blogging.
That is pretty simple but it is what I follow. I know I mentioned this earlier, but I will say it again here. We have seen some pretty good bloggers decide to give up playing WoW and some that have even stopped blogging altogether. It is not an easy task to find balance in our lives; however, you have to at least try to. I am fortunate in that my wife plays WoW and because of this fact, we can spend time together playing our alts or wreaking havoc in battlegrounds. Sadly we do not get to do enough of this because her schedule constantly changes and I went from normal wake up in the morning and work to waking up in the afternoon and working till late night. Often times I arrive home to see her heading to bed. I know it sounds like a good life right? Well, let's add in my son, who I am not kidding on this, his first words were "zug zug"! Yes, you may play a little too often if your child's first words are related to any video game. Now that he is older, my wife will sometimes allow him to take control of her character and he runs her all around Dalaran (although he spends a lot of time running into walls). Our guild is familiar with our son since he is extremely loud and loves to talk with Edyion in vent (ask if you do not believe me). If he is being roudy, I will sometimes calm him down with a nice WoW Machinima. For some reason he loves "The Lament of the Highborne" on the WoW media tab.
So why all this personal talk? Well, because I feel that too many people become too burried in this game. Yes, it is an escape of sorts from the real world where we sit at our desks, stand in lines, run cash registers, manage departments, organize large events, ect. The problem often is that as human beings we are easily addicted to things. I like to call them crutches. Instead of facing our problems and dealing with them, we are content to get by one more day with whatever our fix may be. I really started thinking alot about this over the last few days since my good buddy Fish has decided to stop playing WoW. You can go check out his post, but the short end of it is that he lost the balance in his life. He does not blame this solely on WoW, but he does point to how much time it has taken up of his life and the things that he could be doing, such as cleaning the house, going to the gym, and practicing his wrestling finisher! (You will have to get him to tell you about that some time.)
I just think that all of us need to make sure that we are living healthy well balanced lives. Ask yourself when was the last time you considered going out with friends as actually going out with friends and not logging into vent to prepare for the epic raid? I know the one area of my life I have been most guilty in is losing touch with my friends that I grew up with. Now I lost touch with many of them long before WoW came into the picture. Some I lost touch with after I got married, and then there were the ones who never played WoW or quit playing WoW that I did lose touch with because WoW was taking up more time. I have cut back some from the game and have decided that I do have some areas of my life that do need more focus on than others, but I refuse to simply reshuffle the deck and throw something else out of balance. I think the big take away from those who decide to give up a game, smoking, alcohol, or anything else that is addictive in nature, is not the fact that they have given it up, but the fact that they know they are out of balance. For the things which can shorten your life, definitely stepping away from it is a good thing, but I would challenge those who have gotten theirselves in a habit (habit equals addiction in nice terms by the way) to not simply push it away but rather learn from what got you there and balance your life out. Am I saying that if you stop playing a video game that you are wrong? Absolutely not, especially if it has had a negative impact on the quality of your life, but do not stop playing one game and replace it with another. Instead take some time and really think about the situation and rebalance your life so that you can live happy with yourself and your decision.
I wish the best of luck for everyone who has made the decision to make these changes as they are often not easy to make and truly take some time to decide upon. Fish, buddy, best of luck in staying away from WoW. Lord knows you are going to need to be strong considering how much we talk about it. I am glad you are going to continue to blog and like many other people have said in your comments, I will miss your take on WoW, but look forward to hearing about your thoughts on other games, especially since I am way too cheap to go out and waste more money on games like Warhammer. Oh and while you may not have been the most coordinated raider out there, you definitely always made it fun, even if it made you mad and angry enough to punch a baby!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

3.3??

I was sitting here tonight doing some deep thinking and working up one of those deep posts that I do maybe once every year, but then I decided I was way over my quota for the year so I thought I would simply ask, what is it in the new patch that you love/hate and why?

(Seeings as I am at work and everything will be old and used by the time I get home and eventually log on.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Update

Hey all! Do not worry, I have not forgotten that I have a blog where useful information and rants can be placed. I have just been pretty busy both in real life and in the game itself and unfortunately that has not allowed me to spend as much time on the blogs as I would like. So expect some more periods of time where there is nothing, but do not worry I am alive and kicking!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Raid NIght! (What's Up With That!?)

So I mentioned this briefly in my update post, but I wanted to take a little more time to bring something to the community's attention. I am sure it is nothing new and we have all experienced it, but I still feel compelled to point this out. In this past Friday's raid on Ulduar, we had the majority of our usual group but had to PuG one member. I went and started looking at the list of folks who were sitting in LFG and I see this Mage. Now he was absolutely perfect. I looked him up and he was arcane spec. I checked him out on Pugchecker.com and he had been in Ulduar before. I looked over his gear and he was well geared. He was sporting some nice items from both Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader (25). Just looking at his gear, he should of been punching out 3500 DPS blindfolded and if he has any clue about playing his class should of been hitting between 4000 - 5000 DPS. This was a no brainer. I whispered the guy and asked him if he wanted to join us and he immediately said yes.

So we summon him and in we head. I really did not pay much attention to him during Flame Leviathon as I was too busy trying to do my job and gun things down from my siege engine. We hit Razorscale and I noticed the guy is only putting out around 2300 DPS. I figure that it was no big deal. It takes some time to get use to running in a PuG and maybe he just did not want to look too good. We downed Razor and moved on to the creepy robot. We wanted to kill the heart and then him and felt that we had all the right tools. We failed. I looked over DPS and once again this guy was only putting out around 2400 DPS. Sure it was an improvement and if this was back when Ulduar first launched that would of been alright for a ten man run, but this guy was sporting item level 245 gear and talked like he knew what was going on. I pay it no attention and figure let's go down Ignis and move on. We go in and proceed to wipe on Ignis. I was pretty pissed off at the wipe to be honest, but did not yell at anyone just took note of who had gotten hit by flamejet and who had low DPS. Sure enough, our Mage was hit by flamejet a whopping six times and he was sporting a cool 2000 DPS. Now when we do Ignis, we have one tank take the adds and the other holds him facing the water and we proceed to rock his world. We have always done this with little trouble. So we roll back in there and proceed to roll Ignis with minimal effort. I am going to be honest, at this point I was aggrevated and only healed the Mage because it would have been a reall ass move not to.

Having knocked out Ignis, I went in officer chat and debated what to do. It was clear our PuG Mage was unable to get over 2400 DPS and that he was probably carried by friends within his own guild (which we all know I dispise). We decided to down Kolgram and then call it. We had been moving slower overall and felt that it was because we were out of rythm, aka the Mage sucked. So we went and cleared the trash to Kolgram and proceeded to down him. Oh and a big surprise here, the Mage stood in the eye beam! Yeah, this guy was not impressive and definitely made a poor representation for his guild. After we downed Kolgram we looted and I announced it was getting late for me and that I would need to be leaving. My wife stated she would be leaving with me and losing two of your healers is rough. Now, we did leave. I was hungry and so I wanted to get a bite to eat before all the food places closed for the night. We did decide to extend the raid since no one really needs anything off the first few bosses at this point.

So here is my issue, you are getting players who are looking like they are geared out their ass, yet they are unable to produce what their gear is indicating they should. I think ToC 5, ToC H 5, ToCr 10, and ToCr 25 are really at fault here; well, more accurately, Blizzard is at fault. I understand that they wanted to make gear accessible so that everyone could try the new instances and ICC when they drop, but they have really destabalized the whole raiding game. PuGs have always had bad reputations, but at this point and time I would rather not raid than take a PuG who I do not know. This is not the first time this has been encountered. When I go into the LFG channel looking for something specific and get whispers from people asking what I need, I always look up these folks to see if they can fill a roll and perhaps we can bring someone's alt in to do a different job. What I find is that people do not understand their classes and have specs that boggle the mind, or they are a healer with +hit gear, or they have all the gear and when you bring them in they have no clue what is going on. Now I do not consider myself a hardcore raider at all. I have one raid group I run with on one night a week. We value our time and want to clear content as much as possible. I will run with the guild on other nights if something is posted for us as well.

I am just afraid that at the rate this is going, ICC is going to be a laughing joke. Sure, there will definitely be the guilds that clear it. I am intending for MAS to clear it. However, there are a lot of people who have the impression that because they have all epics that this makes them perfectly geared. I hate to break it to you all (if you are reading this), but it does not make you perfectly geared. It just shows that you love you some Trial of the Champion/Crusader. I am sorry, I do not want to step on anyone's toes, but from now on, if the only gear you have is from ToC/ToCr, then there is no chance in hell I am picking you up. It just has gotten to the point where I feel the same about this as I do about most Death Knights (and I know there are a few good ones out there). People need to understand that a blue item may be bette for you than a purple item. For instance, on my lock I currently am rocking something like five blue pieces of gear, yet I can put out numbers comparable to those with much higher gear score. Why is this? Because I understand itemization and that you need to be able to hit the baddie before you even think about anything else. (That is just an example, I do not consider myself a great player on my Lock.) However, I suppose I should jump into the new age of raiding and throw on all my ToC/ToCr gear that has no hit rating, but will give me a hell of a gear score. I will definitely get picked up by PuGs who will be in awe of my purple haze, but once the shit hits the fan they will realize I am litterally just shit.

So in closing first let me apologize, I try to keep the blog "G" rated, but people are starting to really piss me off with their stupidity. Secondly, if the only gear you have is from running ToC/ToCr, then please start running some Naxxramas, Ulduar, Obsydian, Vault, and any other raid where you will first learn what raiding is about and then secondly gather some other gear which may be itimized a little different. Thank you and have a good day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekly Update: November 16 - 22 (2009)

This has been a pretty active week for me really and I look forward to jumping in and talking a little bit about everything that has been going on!
  • Ulduar - As a guild we have been pretty focused on raiding as of late and have managed to acquire a few achievements this week that I am proud of. In Ulduar we decided to activate the hard mode for Flame Leviathon and we managed to get Orbital Bombardment on the second attempt. Now we were a few short of our regular members, but we also went after Heartbreaker with no success. We did however have the solid numbers from our core group. Had we not taken a Mage who had the right gear and numbers but no clue how to actually play, we probably would have achieved this as well.
  • Onyxia - It is weird but we have never done this raid as a guild. So, Nymeros (one of our raid coordinators) decided we should go for it. We gathered together and had six guild members online. We ended up picking up some great folks to help us and we went in there and in true MAS style wiped the first attempt, but owned her on the second attempt. We also managed to acquire She Deep Breaths More. I have no clue how we went from total chaos to accomplishing that, but hey we did it and kudos to everyone for working together to down her.
  • Whoopy - Yes, my Rogue gets his own spot here as I have been working hard on developing him. I believe I said this before, but I had enough of the Combat build I was using and switched backed to Subtlety. I have spent countless amounts of gold changing my spec and adjusting my rotation to where Whoopy puts out solid numbers in PVE with this spec. I will probably go a little more into detail on Friday about him and what the build will ultimately look like. The main drive behind leveling him is that he is my jewelcrafter and I am tired of buying cuts or waiting for a guild member to log online. The thing I discovered that I did not know was that you could work on the jewelcrafting dailies as early as level 71 (probably sooner). The nice thing here is that every daily can be completed in the Howling Fjord or the Borean Tundra. On top of doing the daily, I can now make myself the Delicate Dragon's Eye cut (which Whoopy has all three in use) and I get 20,000+ experience at my current level of 73. On top of working on leveling his jewelcrafting, I am working on leveling his mining (which is much lower and a much bigger pain to level). I finally caught up his lockpicking skill, so now I just need to lockpick some big viking wanna-bes and we are golden. Seven more levels till I can see if this will all come together for him.
  • Blogging - Yeah, I had slacked off some and I apologize for that. I feel like I am back on track and I actually love spending time sharing my thoughts on certain aspects of the game. I also miss it when I am unable to actually blog. So hopefully, with the broader topics and more flexibility on my part, I will be able to give you a little more of my time.
  • PuGs - Man they have been getting more stupid every day. I actually have taken a break from running Emprius and Lrem through stuff simply to avoid the PuGs. I have played with every level of stupidity known to WoW. I have had several runs where I could have punched a baby. Thank God, my kid is in a different room usually. If it stays like this, I will be spending most of my time leveling through questing, which I simply despise.
  • Auction House - Oh yeah, the cow is back into dominating the auction house. I had laid off of listing for quite some time simply because I had acquired enough funds for what I wanted. However, two brand new 80s later and the desire to acquire a few other things and get duel spec on six of my alts, I now feel the urge to list. That and I find it quite enjoyable. I am actually working on writing up a series for Holeycow on auction house tips for a new player. It will not be anything insightful, but it will cover what I used to get started and it has proven to work on servers even with next to no population (Alliance Cho'gall). So hopefully I will have some time to get all my thoughts in order and get an outline up and running on that.
Well, that is all that my mind can think of right now. As always, thanks for reading and catch everyone later!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Red Sunday: PVP and My Lack of It!

So, I typically dedicate my Sunday blogs to PVP, but I have one problem! I have not been involved with much PVP at all lately. There are a couple reasons for this actually.
  1. Alts - I have been spending so much time focused on my alts lately that I just have not had a desire to spend a lot of time running them through battlegrounds and arena.
  2. Professions - It is freaking annoying how much time I have spent leveling up enchanting, jewelcrafting, leatherworking, and inscription. Do not even get me started on the gathering ones or the secondaries.
  3. Raiding - While I use to not spend much time raiding, now days I typically raid two to three days a week and then on the nights I am working I typically spend time working on my alts or professions (see above).
However, do not take this pause as a change of heart. Nothing makes me feel warm and fuzzy like the screaming sounds of a dieing Night Elf. I plan to get some time back into at least arena. I am currently wanting to work in some time to be able to run on all three of my arena teams. My main focus is on getting Ruhtra's 2v2 team back on track. I also am very focused on getting Emprius' 2v2 team solidified. My partner with Ruhtra has a druid and we have been running some arena with a Destro Lock/Resto Druid team. We have seen some good signs, but neither of us have had the time to really dive in and see what we can do. Then there is Lrem who is on a 3v3 and 5v5 team. Quite honestly, I just want to run some 2v2 with him while I get use to PVP with a BM Hunter.
Aside from the three level 80 characters, I am also leveling my Rogue Whoopy. Now with Lrem and Emprius I spent a lot of time leveling in the battlegrounds. That was a great way to level and I really nailed down a good system that mixed questing, instances, and battlegrounds to provide decent gear for them. However, trying to play a Rogue in a battelground where your enemy NPCs can spot you a mile away and kill you in three shots takes much more patience than I usually have. Ofcourse it is not nearly as annoying as being told you are playing completely wrong because you do not haul your little level 70 Rogue ass up to the enemy's base bunkers. I mean to hell with the fact that you cannot litterally sneak there and sure your whole DPS ability is dependant on being able to sneak behind someone, but that is for me to work out because some PuG battleground Priest obviously knows better. Yes, I had one really loud mouth Priest who thought he knew everything about every class and just made me so mad I wanted to punch babies the last time I was in there. So, I have decided to give the battlegrounds a break and do some other constructive things.
On the battleground subject, there is a couple things that I wish Blizzard would do with AV. One of the biggest is bring down the level of the marksman/bowman that guard the towers. This is not for the sake that I cannot sneak anywhere, but for the sake that they left the NPCs the same level as when we shared battlegrounds with level 80s. It simply does not work out that well, but I doubt there will be any change on this front. Blizzard has their hands full with a lot of other things that are much more important (at least we hope they feel ICC is much more important). The other thing I wish they would do is find a way to balance the teams a little more. There is nothing more frustrating than going into a battleground and having everyone on the team being level 70 - 71. Then you find out that your opposing team is level 78 - 79. Yes, I have seen this happen both favorably and unfavorably. I really do not think there is much that can be done about this, but it would be nice for them to set a certain percentage of slots for certain levels. This could provide some form of balance overall, but would require a lot of resources I am sure to develop a system for this. The final thing I wish that Blizzard would consider doing is rebalancing the battlegroups. It takes forever to get into a battleground now days, even at level 80. I do not know of any way for them to overcome this other than enlarging the battlegroups. It would also give them a prime time to move some of the servers to different battlegroups where there me be a higher representation of one faction verses another.
Well, that is really all that I have for today. What about you? Do you like PVP? If so what do you think they could to improve certain facets of the game? We are talking minor, not complete overhauls. I do not think some of the suggestions for AV are large. The battlegroup realignment is large but definitely needed though. What about those who do not like PVP, what could Blizzard do to make it more appealing to you?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Raid Night!

So as promised I was switching some of the themes around on the blog and this is one of those that is changing slightly. Do not misunderstand me, we are still going to talk about raiding and what is going on with MAS and our raids, but at times we are going to discuss other aspects of raiding and today is going to be one of those days! You see while I was listing a billion auctions late Friday/early Saturday (yeah it takes that long) I came across this post from WTF Spaghetti that asks why do you raid? So I figured I would answer that right here on my own blog. See, doesn't this make you want to have your own blog? So let's jump into the heart of this question!

So why do I raid?

The simple truth? I felt insulted when some former guild members indicated that MAS should just be a "PVP" guild. See, I took it as saying that we were not going to ever be good enough to clear any raid content, much less do any sort of raid progression. Now the truth be told, I hated raiding with a passion. I mean how difficult is it to go online to WoWiki (or any other site) and find some strategies and watch some videos and then go do exactly what they say? I mean really, if you are not one of the top ranked guilds in the world, then you are simply reading what others did and repeating that formula; whereas, with PVP (specifically arena) you never have the same match twice. You have a constant change in oponents and thus there can never be one strict guideline to go by. So, you see that I truly did not have a use for PVE.

So I guess first I should thank the folks who left as at the end of 2008 through the first quarter of 2009 for laying down a challenge to me. I would have never taken raiding seriously. Trust me, you can ask my fellow guild members. Sure I am all business when healing, but if I saw an Alliance player outside a raid I was likely to go running off and pick a fight with them instead of running into the instance. However, I had a purpose to show those who said we couldn't that we could. We established a core group and proceeded to clear Naxx with little effort (other than some folks who have two left feet). It was during this time that through unforseen circumstances we lost our raid leader and I had to step in. Now, I am the last person you want to have explaining fights, but I am a great organizer. So, I did just that and simply organized and relied on other guild members to explain the fight for certain groups. I handled working with the healers (at least I knew that much). It was funny because during this time is when I really started to like raiding, and by saying I liked it, I mean I wanted to go all in and that has led us to where we are now. Are we a top ranked guild? Nope, but we are not a bottom rung guild either. We are the quiet guild that makes steady progress.

So in response to your question WTF, here is my chart:



So, let's take a look at what my chart represents:
  • Pride - Is one of the largest sections on the chart, representing 30%. When I say pride, I am referring to my own personal pride in my character for being able to clear this content as well as the guild's progression. For every member who left us to raid with another guild, I take great pride in the fact that we are running much of the content that these folks left us to run. (So thanks for doing us a favor!)
  • Challenge - This is the second section which takes up 30% of my chart. I love running content that is challenging and I strive to run hard modes, not for the achievements (although some of those are rather nice), but to say that I did it (yeah it is hand-in-hand with the pride section).
  • Social/Fun - This section will increase as the challenge section decreases. I raid with MAS because I want to run with my friends. I have (in the past) been recruited by some of the top guilds on our server and each time I have turned them down because I love raiding with my friends and family in MAS. (It's base value is 15%)
  • Gear - Yes, gear takes up 20% of my chart because it is what allows me to push on into more challenging content.
  • Bored - There is 5% of the chart devoted to this as I sat up in Dalaran for around an hour tonight bored enough to look for a scrap of a raid.
So there you go. Now you know my thoughts on raiding and more importantly why I raid. Anyone who reads this, pick this up and post a response on your own site or drop a comment here on Holy Shock.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Through the Eyes of the Leader

So, since I am taking this particular series in a new direction I think a new name is in order. So from today on we are going to refer to this series as "I am the leader! Which way did they go?"! I am almost mad that I did not think of that name for the title of my overall blog. At any rate, I felt that since we are heading in a new direction here that we should go over what to expect with this particular series.

As I stated in yesterdays post very briefly, I want to move from very narrow topics to allowing for a little more breathing room in regards to topics. So what topics will we actually cover now in this series? Good question and here are some themes that are open to discussion:
  1. Leadership - It is always good to be willing to talk about leadership in a series that wants to focus on leadership right?
  2. Guild Drama - Or more sepcifically, how to squash it quickly. I do not think there is a way to say how to avoid it as people will always find ways to create drama and our job is to squash it like a nasty bug.
  3. Direction - How does one set a direction and how does one achieve that direction? This is a tough topic to tackle, but we shall do our best to take it on here. Having led a guild for a little while, I have learned a few things about direction.
  4. Delegation - We cannot do it all ourselves and therefore we need reliable people to delegate authority and responsibilities to and that is what we will talk about.
  5. Penalties - I was trying to think of a nice way to say what to do if someone completely fails at their assigned task or even how to tell if you are failing at your own duties and this is what we are going to look at.
  6. Voodoo - That is right, we are going to examine the mystic art of running a guild, which often may be voodoo (or "smoke and mirrors").
So there it is in a nut shell. I am sure some other topics will creep in every now and then, and when they do we will tackle them and welcome them to the party that is "leadership". I wonder what kind of questions folks may have about leadership, because you know I am always willing to give my opinion on anything.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where Have You Been?

So, it has been a while since I posted consistantly and I apologize for that. Life seems to keep throwing some crazy stuff at me and the family, but we are still here and going strong. I am actually working on a couple different things and you know I hate to talk about anything I cannot at least back up based on personal experience, so it may be a while on a few things. I did want to hit on a couple of subjects today (which may turn in tomorrow depending on how long it takes me to write this), so here we go!

1. I am going to stick with the series method on this blog. I like having some direction and focus for writing posts. Many of my posts are written and then scheduled to post at midnight my time. The ones that are written the day that they post could be any time, although I typically try to schedule them for noon if at all possible. In regards to the series theirselves, I am going to keep most of them the same. I am merging topics of leadership and guild management together as they often combine similar elements. I am switching the raid project from a specific topic (Naxx 10 & Ulduar) to a more broad base topic. Now I will always continue to provide updates on where we are in our raiding as I love to share personal experiences. I just do not want to lock myself into mroe narrow topics. I have not decided if I will stick with a certain series on a certain day. This has worked well, but has also left days with nothing when I felt that there was not enough information to make a decent post.

2. On the topics of overall blogs, I have not done a whole lot with any of the blogs I curently write on and this will also change. Over at Holeycow I have been cranking back up the auction business and I plan to look at some ideas on way to help generate some funds with little effort. Do not expect the "get rich quick" methods, but I want to approach it as a beginner guide. I will also deal with anything related to the auction house or economy of World of Warcraft over there. So do not expect anything like that here on Holy Shock. My other blog which is more of a vent release, sort of died quickly. It was too shortly lived since I have much to rage about and I plan to start raging again. I just found that trying to balance being a husband, father, guild leader, raid coordinator, employee, and blogger was a bit much. I have since been working to maximize some of my time to allow me to enjoy all of these things. I think I have a good plan in place and time will tell.

3. Alternate Fridays has been focusing alot on only two characters. This has actually been a good thing. I am planning to start running it more in a continuing series where I follow the development of one character as they level to their final version at 80. I will provide updates then in the weekly update section which I am hoping to include at the end of each Friday edition. So hopefully that will work out well.

4. I switched my second spec on Ruhtra to protection for fun. It has not been fun. I am only kidding. I actually had a lot of fun with it the few times I have used it. I just have been spending more time on alts and auctions than actually playing Ruhtra. This trend is probably going to continue as I pretty much only take him out to do the occasional daily and run the raids. I guess it was destined to happen, but I was running out of things to do with him. Well, at least things that I consider fun. Chasing achievements and grinding for stuff is not overly fun to me.

Well, that is all I have for today and hey what do you know? I actually got this done today. Well, I will see everyone a little later. Take care!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Alternate Fridays: Emprius

As I stated twice before, Emprius hit level 80! I was unsure of how best to play him and build his spec. While I was leveling him I ran with a hybrid build that went far enough into the demonology tree to gain my Fel Guard and then spent the rest in the destruction tree. This build proved quite useful to me for leveling via questing and battlegrounds, but put out way too little single target damage in instances. So I knew I would need to decide on a spec when I hit 80 and my love of trying to learn it on my own had me firing up target dummies for two days. When i found a build that seemed decent I would then PuG a group for an instance (typically ToC regular). I was satisfied, somewhat, with the build and decided to hit a heroic up. It took forever to find a group that wanted a fresh 80 along, thank you gear scores. I hit heroic Nexus and I did absolutely terrible. Well, I guess 1500 DPS was not as bad as some I have seen, but I definitely knew that there was room for improvement.

So I finally broke down aftr blasting target dummies for hours and started looking over some resources. The majority of them said the same basic stuff that was useful, but nothing that I did not know. I knew I wanted to go with a destruction build as it provided some of the best overall DPS for raids and I had come to love the flaming of others in battlegrounds. On a side note, there is just some sort of strange satisfaction I get out of firing up a Paladin. So, on my search I came across this:



Now, I have made it known that I am not a huge lover of following a set guide or "cookie-cutter" spec, but I am a firm believe in trying and using what works best for you and this was so close to the spec that I was working around that I had to try it. I chose the first spec as I plan on getting to 17% (446) hit rating since we currently do not have a shadow Priest or Boomkin in our guild or raiding groups. I was amazed at how much better my DPS was overall with the Glyph of Life Tap (GoLT) and using Curse of Elements(CoE) more regularly. I am going to admit it right here folks, even I do not know everything and while I recocgnized the importance of CoE, I had never tested it out on the target dummies to really compare it to say using strictly Curse of Agony (CoA) or Curse of Doom (CoD).

The end result was going into ToC regular and being the number one DPS for overall and boss encounters. I have not yet had enough runs to guage where I will fall in heroics yet though. I did run a heroic Utgard Keep, but went in with a group, who's gear, composed of ilvl 232 - 245 (litteraly all of them) and then me. I did manage to pull down around 2200 DPS on average (mobs and bosses). Where I saw the biggest difference in my current build verses my previous build is in single target DPS. My single target DPS was really awful and since the switch, I have kicked it up to being even greater than dropping Reign of Fire (RoF) on mobs.

With my spec nailed down, and a priority set (see the video for that), I am now focusing on my gear. I managed to get the crafted dagger the day after I turned 80 and that should last for a while. I crafted the ebonweave gloves but soon replaced them with the pair that drops in ToC reg. I also got the waist, bracers, and pants from ToC reg as well. I am keeping my ebonweave gloves simply because they still have more hit, so if I get into a PuG raid (Naxx 10) then I can switch them on if I need the additional hit. I am currently using the veiled cut gems which I will replace as my gear improves. The plan is to gain the hit cap off of gear and enchants and then focus on adding spell power from gems. I am wanting to get a decent amount of haste, but believe that I should be able to get that via the gear itself. If I find that I need more, then I can always try to switch some gems or enchants around.

Aside from gear issues, I will need to start doing some dailies to get my reputation grinds over with and also to acquire some gold. I still need epic flying on Emprius and also need to get a good supply of flasks and food for him. Sure I can fund Emprius from my auctions, but I like to get each of my level capped toons to a point where they are self sufficient. My professions will be easily utilized for this. There is never enough ebonweave out there for the impatient and enchants are always a solid money maker, especially the vanilla ones such as agility. I am considering leveling cooking on either Lrem or Emprius just so I can supply my own food. It is becoming harder and harder to find the buff food at fair prices and it seems I am on less and less from the folks who I used to get to make some for me. That will be probably the single worst thing of it all to me, I hate maxing professions. In regards to both Emprius and Lrem, I used their professions to gear them as they leveled which naturally means that they are almost leveled, but starting from the beginning to leveling something like cooking, fishing, or first aid just makes me want to go do something else (which usually happens).

As far as for future plans for my alts? I am somewhat at a standstill. I am not sure what alt I want to level now. I have two Druids (one feral and one Boomkin), a Priest (currently Holy although thinking of going Discipline), and a Rogue who are all apealing to me right now. I could just pick to level in order of highest to lowest, which would put Walani (Shaman) next in line. The rule of thumb here folks, do not end up having a rediculous amount of high level alts, because they always demand attention too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekly Update: November 1-7 (2009)

It has been a while since I have done an update so I thought that I should get back in the swing since I have been working on a lot of stuff and the last three weeks was pretty much spent with me sick and not writing a whole lot of stuff. So here we go!
  • So, I think a lot of bloggers get out there and dedicate a post to their one year annivesary. If I were a huge important star in the blogsphere I may feel the need to, but November 6th marked my first full year for blogging. So there it is for anyone who is interested in that sort of thing. I did think it would be for to share my very first blog post, so go check out....here.
  • In more exciting news which I did take time to post about, my Warlock Emprius hit level 80 as only he can. (Have to go read the blog to see that.)
  • I hope people did not fall into a coma after reading my clarification piece of the whole haste/crit issue that came up a few posts back in my comment section. I did have a guildie or two tell me they attempted to read it before they got critted out. Sorry, but I warned you all I was rather wordy.
  • On a side note, if you are a healer, please go check out the Miss Medicina's post for the links of everyone who responded and posted for that survey since there are a lot of good link to some great healing blogs (some are known and some are not as well known). Seriously, why are you still reading this? Go! Shoo! Be gone!
  • Well, if you stayed to check out the rest of this, then you must be dedicated to my blog or just really bored. At any rate, we formed up an Ulduar raid team and hit Ulduar on Friday evening (late night, it sort of blurred together) and managed to push through and down the crazy cat lady. I was pretty happy as we one shot her with a group of folks who were well geared and followed instructions. You have to love folks who take it serious (some of the time). So now we shall be focussing on the Keepers! (I will have more about this in my Tuesday raid topics.)
  • After the Ulduar raid was called from sleep deprevasion (what slackers, up for twelve hours and crying for sleep....tsk tsk) I got into a ToC 10 run and was pleasantly ssurprised that we one shot everything and blew through it about 40 minutes of actual play time. It took a little longer than the play time because we needed to have some explanations for some folks, but well worth it. There was some really nice things to come from it and perhaps I shall share some of that at a later time when it begins to take shape.
Well, that is pretty much everything that I have that I can think of, at least that is not gross and involving being sick!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Something Evil In Icecrown!

Something happened last night in Icecrown. Something dark and evil occurred. In the early morning hours, when the sun was barely shining down on the icy fields. There were sounds of explosions! Chaos was raining down everywhere. The undead of the Lich King were set aflame as were any unwelcome mortals who happened onto the scene. Through the smoke and fire a feint sound could be heard. It was a voice, softly whispering the words spoken by only those who dared to challenge fate and unleash the darkest of arts known to the races of the Horde and the Alliance. In the midst of the fire a dark flaming beast could be seen and there upon this wretched mount was the Warlock Emprius. Laughing maniacally as he surveyed the scene of destruction that he had wrought at the end of his long journey. A cold wind swept over the field as he turned his mighty steed and slowly rode away.

That is right, this morning, after a very long night, Emprius hit level 80 in the only way that felt right to me. I had been running a combination of battlegrounds and quest grinding all night when the server reset hit, I headed for the Argent Tournament and the quests available for the new day. Emprius finished off the first set of quests and became a Valiant for Silvermoon City. He then headed out to challenge the forces of the Lich King where in the heat of combat, he finally reached the end of this journey and hit level 80 while lighting up the night sky.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Haste or Crit? Not So Simple of a Question

Alright, so as promised I am going to attempt to explain my choosing of crit over haste, but before I can even begin to explain this we first have to understand how Ruhtra is built. This is actually a lot more comprehensive than I had originally planned and may be a bit longer of a post than even my usual wordy posts, so bare with me. In order to understand how Ruhtra is built we are going to be first looking at his talents and the glyphs that were selected. After we examine the talent build, we will then look at the gear that is equipped on Ruhtra and see how this fits in with his style of healing. Finally after we have reviewed his build and his gear, we will attempt to wrap this all up and, hopefully, explain the reasoning for my choices. However, before we even take a look at any of that I want to state what my opinion is on haste and on crit. I think there are some misconceptions regarding my thoughts overall.

My Thoughts Overall

So, I had an anonymous poster who got on and made a remark that they had built their character to be much like Ruhtra and that they too spammed Flash of Light. I need to point out the fact that while I have built Ruhtra around Flash of Light, I rarely stand there and do nothing but spam Flash of Light, except for when running basic heroics where quite frankly I could probably spam Holy Shock and not have anyone drop. I do not want anyone walking away from any post of mine ever assuming the only spell they need to cast is Flash of Light. If you are healing this way, then you are walking a really bad path. It will allow you to succeed probably 90% of the time, but you will in no way be an effective healer, or even more to the point a clutch healer. I will get more into how this all works in my approach to healing later on in this post, but please do not dismiss my healing as spamming Flash of Light because that would be an insult to me.

I have built Ruthra with a lot of consideration in regards to not ONLY being a tank healer, but instead being able to provide healing at the raid level. I hope that by the time you finish reading through this post, that you will understand that while the Paladin has three true healing spells (Flash of Light, Holy Shock, and Holy Light), there is a lot of depth as to how to heal with this class and I feel sometimes that we are all too happy to accept the status quo when we should be looking for ways to improve ourselves and our skills and show everyone else that we are capable of doing other things than standing in one spot and spamming any one healing spell. Because let's face it, everyone who thinks about a Paladin's healing, generally assumes we spam only one heal, regardless if it is Flash of Light or Holy Light and I cannot imagine that any Paladin really just stands there and can spam only one heal, and if you are doing this, then please level a new character and quit ruining it for the rest of us who care about the class. Sorry, I get aggrevated by that mentality really easily.

Now, in regards to haste and crit. I feel that you cannot have a successful Paladin without both of these. I think where the question becomes all chaotic is how much? That is a bit trickier to answer as you have to really decide what method of healing you want to do, which hopefully we will get a little bit clearer idea of later. In regards to haste, the easiest way I have found to understand it is simply that it litteraly allows you to cast your spell quicker. For instance, a player who chooses to have a Holy Light build is going to want alot of haste because it allows them the ability to cast that huge healing spell that much quicker. Typically they are looking to get it down to around 1.5 seconds (at least with most of the builds I have seen). This is casting it as quickly as the base Flash of Light spell, which means you are going to have a high output of healing on a target. Now haste works the same for Flash of Light except it is a shorter cast time and less powerful healing spell when compared to Holy Light. I think we all can understand haste, it is a pretty easy concept. If you are wanting a deeper number crunching type of post, then you are going to be disappointed as I leave that for some other folks. I like to talk simple since I think people get more out of this. So what is haste? The ability to cast your spells quicker, which in practice leads to a higher healing amount on your target.

So what about crit? Crit adds to your chance to land a more powerful healing spell. The key thing to remember here is that it is a chance. It is not guaranteed. You may crit your first heal and then not see another one the entire fight (depending on the length of the fight). I think the part that makes building with crit less attractive is the fact that it is not guaranteed. When you compare haste to crit, you can clearly see that haste is going to provide you with a guaranteed result; whereas crit, may give you a boost in your numbers or it may cause you to crit when you didn't need it, such as the crit on the first heal of the fight. So why would anyone want to use crit over haste? That is a good question. I do not think it is so much a question of which one is better as it is of how do you prefer to heal? If you are using large spells, then you need a guarantee that the spell will arrive before the target is dead. If you are using crit, then you need to make sure that you are putting out a lot of spell casts in order to get advantage of any crit rating you have. The trick is balancing between the two and that is what I ultimately hope to bring across in this lengthy post.

Ruhtra Talent Build

So let's take a look at how I have built my own talents in regards to focusing on flash of light with crit:

Holy Tree
  • Spiritual Focus 5/5 - Pretty self explanatory
  • Healing Light 3/3 - Increases Flash of Light (and Holy Light) by 12%
  • Divine Intelect 5/5 - Increases total Intellect which increases your spell power and larger mana pool.
  • Aura Mastery 1/1 - A good utility spell
  • Illumination 5/5 - Restores mana
  • Improved Concentration Aura 1/3 - Reduces push back (Not a necessity in my opinion)
  • Improved Blessing of Wisdom 2/2 - Increases mana regen
  • Divine Favor 1/1 - Auto crit ability (Macro this one to your healing spell of choice)
  • Sanctified Light 3/3 - Improves crit chance of Flash of Light (and Holy Light) by 6%
  • Holy Power 5/5 - Ups your crit chance of holy spells by 5%
  • Light's Grace 3/3 - Reduces casting time of Holy Light.
  • Holy Shock 1/1 - Not just an "oh shit" heal. This should be used in your rotation as often as possible in a Flash of Light build. If macro'd correctly, you should be able to instant crit with it and cause the next Flash of Light to be instant as well. This is a huge advantage because you are going to drop a HoT with your tiered set plus get an instant Flash immediately.
  • Holy Guidance 5/5 - Increase your spell power by 20% of intellect.
  • Divine Illumination 1/1 - Reduces mana cost by 50% for all spells for 15 seconds. If you are not using this, then you should start working it into your rotation, especially if you opted to go with a Holy Light build.
  • Judgements of the Pure 5/5 - We do not care about the judgement bonus, but we should care about that haste bonus. If you keep this up at all times by judging, then you get a free bump in your haste. Always take the free buffs, they were put there for a reason. Also, by building to optimize crit, a 15% bump in haste is nice.
  • Infusion of Light 2/2 - Regardless of build, this is a must in my opinion. Again, if you macro Holy Shock for the auto crit and work it into your rotation of healing, then you will reap a reward of instant Flash of Light for this build or 20% increase to crit rating for your Holy Light spell.
  • Enlightened Jusdgements 2/2 - Increases the range of your judgements. This is the key to making sure you have your free 15% haste bump. You can effectively judge from your maximum healing range, thus removing yourself from AoE damage.
  • Beacon of Light 1/1 - Any healing build needs this regardless.
Protection Tree
  • Divinity 5/5 - Increases your healing by 5%.
Retribution Tree
  • Benediction 5/5 - Reduces mana cost by 10% for all instant cast spells. This is a nice one to have for working in all your utility spells and Holy Shock.
  • Improved Judgements 2/2 - Reduces the judgements by 2 seconds.
  • Heart of the Crusader 3/3 - More utility for a party/raid. Increases the targets chance to be critically struck by 3%. Might as well get some utility for the three points we needed to spend.
  • Conviction 5/5 - Increase crit chance by 5%.
So there you go, that is my basic Holy build that I will use 90% of the time in raids. What is key to remember is that when I state I built for Flash of Light, what I am saying is that my preferred healing spell will be Flash of Light; however, I will be using both Holy Light and Holy Shock throughout, the course of a fight. Now, let's take a look at the glyphs that I will use. Something to note here is that I prefer to rotate my glyphs quite often. It really depends on the group I am with. I shall try to explain each glyph I like and the reason I will use it over another. I will list the three major glyphs that I currently use first. (I think minor glyphs are fairly easy to figure out for our class and will not go into detail on them in this post.)
  • Glyph of Divinity - Doubles the mana granted and also grants you the same amount of mana. I pretty much took this one for selfish reasons because of the mana it grants me back when I use it. I also run with my main tank being a Paladin probably 75% of the time, so it comes in handy when I have to use it. In all honesty I am probably going to be removing this glyph in favor of something else, since it is not nearly as effective as it was when I first turned 80. Yes, my one weakness in this game is that I rarely mess with my glyphs, but I am working on that.....really I am.
  • Glyph of Holy Light - 10% of Holy Light to surrounding party/raid members. You definitely want this regardless of what you build to because of its' usefulness. It is important to remember that even though you build for Flash of Light, you will use Holy Light and this provides a nice splash heal to your melee, which will make your raid healer's job a little easier.
  • Glyph of Flash of Light - 5% chance of crit. I hope you are seeing that even though I favor crit, there are ways to get it without dedicating all of your gear to it. Also, remember that when you build to Flash of Light, there are spells, talents, and even gear which cators to it. Sometimes you just have to look a little, but I promise that it is out there.
  • Glyph of Holy Shock - Reduces the cooldown of Holy Shock by one second. In all honesty, I need to replace Glyph of Divinity with this one on my main build. Being able to cast Holy Shock every five seconds is such a nice thing, especially on those mobile fights or even when you need to spot heal raid members.
  • Glyph of Beacon of Light - Increase Beacon by 30 seconds. This is another nice glyph and depending on the length of the boss fight (or the lack of DPS) this one here can save you some serious mana and it also makes it a little nicer to manage healing a raid as it is gives a little more breathing room for casting it.
I have all of these glyphs on at least one of my Holy builds and they really are important for me in the way that I heal, as I am sure they are important to all Holy Paladins. I did want to mention one minor glyph to consider taking and that is the Glyph of Lay on Hands, which decresses the cool down by 5 minutes.
The thing that I hope you take away from looking at my current build is that there is a lot of room to pick up crit rating in your build itself, which leaves you room to work your gear around your own style of healing. I also hope you see that you can grab some haste rating so long as you remember to keep the judegement up during fights. We will talk more about this at the end of the post where I shall try to tie everything up in one nice little package. Onward and upward!
Some Key Gear and Notes
Alright, I am not going to link every single piece of gear that I have. That would take way too long. I am not even going to list every single piece of gear that I have. I just want to hit on some highlights!
  • Conqueror's Aegis Headpiece and Tunic: Alright, so these should be easy enough for every Paladin to get a hold of, but they are highly desirable for a Paladin is building with Flash of Light in mind as we should definitely be utilizing Holy Shock in our healing and the two piece set bonus gives us a nice little HoT (heal over time) when we crit (remember our instant crit ability that I said to macro?).
  • Epaulettes of the Grieving Servant: It is not so much the item itself (although it is an extrmely nice piece), but rather the itemization of the stats. It contains both haste and crit. I have noticed that the gear you get from the raids like Naxxramas and Ulduar tend to be better itemized than that of the badge gear. Do not just look at the item number on something, but look at what it has on it actually.
  • Furious Gladiator's Librim of Justice: A librim from the PVP vendors that is made for the Flash of Light healers. If you can tolerate running arena and can find a good partner, you only need a rating of 700 for this one. I believe the previous seasons is available for simply honor at this point. Definitely worth picking up, especially if you are still carrying the Librim from Nagrand or Kara (which is not bad, but there are upgrades which can be obtained that are superior).
  • Forethought Talisman: If you can spare the stats, this is a nice trinket for any build really. It places a HoT when it procs on your target that you just healed. It is a little bit random, but it is another HoT that is going out for us Holy Paladins and it comes with 111 spell power.
  • The Egg of Mortal Essence: This is extremely important to have in a build where you have favored crit. This is some more free haste and the nice thing about this trinket is that it procs fairly often.
There is so much to go over with gear, but I really want to take a moment and talk about the second bullet point. I mentioned those shoulder, not as a must have, but because I want you to realize that there is gear out there that has both haste and crit. As a crit build we are reliant on casting a lot of heals to take advantage of the higher crit rating. How do we cast a lot of heals? A really long fight? Well, yes but then the whole issue of raid wiping because of enrage timers comes into play. You have to have haste on your gear and you need to use any abilities which will increase the haste. I think that everyone knows this and if for some reason you didn't, then now you do. The trick is that because we are casting Flash of Light, we are already on a shorter casting timer and therefor should not require as much haste. I understand that people feel that the near instant Flash of Light would be a great idea, but then you should really just be casting Holy Light because there will not be enough of a crit rating to make Flash of Light worth while. We will touch on this a little later.
If you went and looked up my armory then you are going to see that along with a modest crit rating that I have an insane amount of MP5. To cut to the chase and stop any sort of debate on this subject, the average Paladin will not need this much MP5. For one, if you are going Holy Light build, then you should have an unwordly amount of mana as you will need it to sustain the casting of Holy Light through an entire encounter. If you are building for Flash of Light, then you will need, in my opinion, a little more MP5 as you may end up overhealing other targets. As you begin to become more familiar with the build, then this should cut down and you should be able to add either haste or crit, depending on which you need more of. So why in the World (of Warcraft) do I have so much? Good question and a great lead into our next topic.
Wrapping It All Up
The truth be told, I have been going through this part in my mind for probably close to two hours now. I want to make sure that we are clear on a few things. The first thing is that as a Flash of Light healer you should never, ever, ever be standing there spamming nothing but Flash of Light. When I say that I am built for Flash of Light with crit, I mean that Flash of Light is my primary spell, but it is simply unable to keep a raid alive. The trick is that we must understand how it all works together. So let's take a look at everything and put all the parts together. The first thing to realize is that my Holy PVE build gives me around 32.98% critical strike rating, or every third heal works out to be a critical heal. My haste rating comes in at a base of 10.07%. Finally my MP5 (mana regenerated while casting) is at 289 unbuffed.
Looking at these numbers you would wonder how in the world I manage to put out solid numbers because it seems that my haste rating is way too low and my MP5 rating could definitely be lowered. However, we need to add in some important talents into the equation. The first one is my 6% boost to critical strike rating for my Flash of Light spell from Sanctified Light which is going to push me to 38.98% unbuffed. Also, remember that I stated it was imparative to keep your judgements up at all times. This has two reasons, the first is that it provides a great little boost in healing for all melee based party/raid members (which includes Hunters). You may not think it adds up to a whole lot, but there are many fights where my Judgement of Light will come in as my number three highest spell. This translates to providing some assistance to the raid healers. The second benefit is from the talent, Judgements of the Pure, which increases your haste rating by 15%. That is putting me to a 25.07% haste rating on fights (so long as I keep judging). However, we need to take a look at the trinket, Egg of Mortal Essence, which procs often and provides a solid boost to haste.
So, where conventional wisdom says stay away from this build, if we look at the gear and talents, we can see that the haste rating is no where near as bad as what it looks like at a glance. Finally, let's take a look at the MP5 rating of 289, when Greater Blessing of Wisdom is applied (with the talent), it pushes my MP5 to over 389 (sorry but I warned I wouldn't do a lot of number crunching). That does seem like a lot, but not when you think about the fact that I can sustain casting Holy Light on the fights that require this without having the large mana pool that is common among the Holy Light build. I rarely feel the need to use Devine Plea or Arcane Torrent and when I am pushed into overdrive, those are readily available, along with Runic Mana Potions, which then allows me to pump out the large Holy Light spells (and large is extremely large when you are receiving critical strikes on every third cast) that will more often than not, save the raid.
Now the trick to making this build work is to beacon your main assignment (most often MT/OT). I also cast my Sacred Shield on my assigned target (unless they are a Paladin, in which case they should be keeping their own Sacred Shields up) and begin the fight by casting a Flash of Light and triggering the HoT. I then have two specific groups of party/raid members I focus on. I watch, like a hawk, the health of my fellow healers and if they drop I am right there with either a Flash of Light or an auto-crit Holy Shock. The biggest weakness we healers have is tunnel vision of healing where we ignore our own health and I like to keep my healers up as it makes my job that much easier. If I am in a group where the other healers are keeping their own health up high, then my second group I am watching is the top two DPS (one melee and one ranged). I realize that along with a tank and healer, you must have a DPS up in order to down a boss and so I monitor recount DPS data during every encounter and make sure to keep my firepower up and firing. This is the point where Holy Light is going to come into play. I will more often than not drop a big heal on my DPS in order to top them off hopefully in one shot or at least by them time till the raid healer works their way to them. It is a lot of information to be watching, but it is what seperates a great healer from a good healer (and I am not claiming to be great/good/average/bad, I am just me). All of this is going on with Beacon keeping my assignement alive.
A couple other things that I will be watching while the encounter is in progress is going to be the timer on my judgements as this is a key to my healing. I have my JoL (Judgement of Light) hotkeyed to my equal button (as it is what equals success for me) and constantly can tap it as my judgement falls off of the boss. I always set my focus to display my tank at the bottom of my screen above a select group of buttons and macros for a couple of specific reasons. The first reason is that if something goes wrong and the tank is taking massive damage and my Lay on Hands has been burned, then I am going to be using Hand of Sacrifice with my Divine Shield to eat the damage while I bring their health (tank) back up to full. The second reason is to monitor my Beacon of Light spell, since that is the key to my healing. It also allows me to see the true timer on the Sacred Shield and its' HoT, which then allows me to refresh each of these as the need arises. Another key thing that all Paladins should be monitoring is any sort of dispellable debuff. I handle this by setting up my Healbot to display a certain color for what my cleanse ability is able to remove and set it as my middle mouse button so it is a one click and done. Another ability that you should use (but consider carefully when) is Avenging Wrath. This is a make-or-break ability. Once you use this you lock out Divine Shield (and vice-versa) for 30 seconds, so you have to really consider how you want to work this into a rotation. I prefer to use it more towards the beginning of a fight rather than the end where I may need Divine Shield to keep the main tank alive.
One big thing to remember is that when you build Flash of Light, you will be casting it often. After all, why build for it? However, do not become lame and rely only on it for healing. You need to use Holy Shock as often as possible (this means every 5-6 seconds depending on glyphed or not). Holy Shock is the one ability that you have that can provide solid heals to raid members who may be on the verge. Holy Light I reserve for my tanks and top rated DPS to get them back up full. If they drop to 50% health, you better bet that Holy Light is heading their way. Lay on Hands I tend to hit my tanks at 25% health and I will use it on either the main tank or off tank. One thing I noticed the other night and have not had a chance to try yet to confirm, but it appeared that when I hit Lay on Hands on the off tank and had the Beacon active on the main tank, the main tank received the heal as well. I have not had time to confirm this or not, so if someone has seen this as well, please share, but that only adds to the importance of using it.
Oh don't worry we have a few more things to discuss. Another big one that I do not see a lot of Holy Paladins use is Aura Mastry. It may not be such a huge boost if you are the only Paladin in a group, but we tend to run with at least three Paladins (typically at least one Prot and one Holy). The trick is in the little bit at the end, "and improve the effects of all other auras by 100%." Notice it is an "and" not an "or". It will buff the Prot Devotion Aura by 100% which will increase the armor thus causing a reduction in damage to the entire group. I am pretty sure that I have hit on this a lot, but make sure to use Divine Favor as often as it is up. I personally have it attached to Holy Shock via a macro. When it is not available, it just casts Holy Shock, when it is available, it will automatically be used. The same goes for Divine Illumination, make sure and use it as often as it is up.
Final Thoughts
I hope that after all of this, you all can see that there is a legitimate build for a Flash of Light that focuses on crit. The thing you have to remember is that if you go down this road you are going to have to learn to anticipate some damage and react very quickly. It is a very fine line for healing with little room for error. If you miss time one important Holy Light, then you could be the raid breaker instead of the boss. It requires you to be focused on a lot of numbers besides what is going on all around you. The thing I have found I like about this build is it allows you the flexibility to cover when your raid healer may go down or be otherwise unavailable (via some sort of CC). I have always loved the thrill and challenge of pushing myself to the limits and this build will do that. It will take you to the brink and it is up to your own skill if you can come back.
I have mentioned in the past that a hallmark of Paladin healers is overhealing. In this build I tend to have a much lower degree of overhealing verses what I had when I built for haste/Holy Light in the Wrath expansion and even compared against the old true spam of Flash of Light during the Burning Crusade expansion. It is an all or nothing build that relies on the gear such as Furious Gladiator's Librim of Justice (Flash of Light spell power only), utilizing your talents to obtain desired goals (both crit and haste), and learning to not just spam but create a true rotation where you are watching timers and abilities. In truth, I think a lot of people do not prefer a build like this because it requires much more focus than other healing builds that may be available. I realize that this build is not for everyone and I do not mean that based on a skill level, but simply that we all have certain things that we excel at, and the trick is to find what you excel at and then challenge yourself so as to not become complacent.
What about the other classes out there? Is there anyone else who has built against the "cookie cutter" and found success in their roles? I truly hope that this has shed some light on my particular build and maybe, just maybe, helped someone who may have had some questions about a build that incorportates crit as a focus based on a Flash of Light build.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another Quick Update

Trust me folks I have not forgotten the post for crit/haste and how it fits into my build, but I have been pretty worn out and just feel like crashing. I have an off day scheduled on Wednesday and plan to tackle this subject then, so look for a post sometime then later in the week.

I am also curious as to what other questions may be out there in regards to Paladin healing? I have never really thought much about it a whole lot. Way back a long, long, long time ago I did a series on some very basic Paladin healing and have never looked back. I think that often times we spend more time reading sites with the "pro" tips that we do not discuss the basics. A start athlete is not born a pro but has to develop the bodies into that level of play and the same holds true for playing any class in WoW. So hit me up with any questions that you may have regarding healing as a Paladin or in general. I know some pretty good healers and if I do not have the answer, then we can always get some other folks to share their opinions on things.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Quick Post

Hey all, just wanted to drop a quick note as the posts have not been so regular. I have been sick over the last two weeks with a stomach virus and so that has interrupted the usual posts. I am currently working on putting a post together talking a little more in depth on the haste or crit and the reasons why I have chose the build I have. I am also going to list my builds in another post discussing the reasons I have selected what I have. Also, it will show the differences between the two holy specs that I am currently using. I say currently as I sometimes switch out of my PVP holy spec into ret or prot (but shhhh, we don't want people to know I can tank). Catch you all later.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I Was Tagged

Well, I do believe this is the first time I have been tagged for one of these but I shall do my duty and drop some light on this meme. ;) Did you see what I did there?

So let me thank Saunder from over at Non-Squishy Heals for tagging me in.

I am going to call on my buddy Fish to give us his perspective on lowbie healing and I am gonna see if I can get some Shamanistic rage on healing from the Doctor over at WTF Spaghetti. I also am going to shout out to my wife Eus to perhaps consider responding to this as well. She is not as vocal about her healing, but she is a damn fine healer.

So here we go :

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?

Alright, this one was easy. My main healer is Ruhtra. He is a light spitting, holy shocking Paladin who can not be contained to one holy spec and therefor had to duel spec holy.

2. What is your primary group healing environment? (ie raids, 5 man, PVP)

That is a tougher question and the honest answer is all of the above. I am rocking to healing specs. One is built for raid healing and the other is built for PVP. So call me the master of heals.

3. What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?

I would say ask Edyion, Nymeros, Eus, Fish, Abbadonn or any other member of my guild cause they all know it is the epicness of the Flash of Light. It is blindingly delicious. I was spamming that when most of your characters were wearing diapers. (Cheap plugs are always nice aren't they?)

4. What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

Alright, so I am going to clarify this one. I consider my healing spells to be Flash of Light, Holy Light, and Holy Shock. The other spells I consider utility, such as Beacon of Light. So, the one I use least is Holy Light. Kind of weird that when you can crit that one for 17 - 20k that I would not use it right? Well, the simple truth is that the epicness of my heals lags our servers and blows guildies right off the web. True story. ;) Okay, the real reason is that I have built Ruhtra for healing Flash of Light since the beginning of my healing run. I get a nice HoT off of it when coupled with Sacred Shield. I then use Holy Shock in my rotation, sort of like how a gunslinger would blast the a sneaky baddie trying to get on their side. Yes, I think of myself as a one man sherrif of healing. Then Holy Light comes out with my auto crit ability and I save the day. Oh and Lay on Hands is for sissies.

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?

The biggest strength of a Paladin, in my opinion is that I wear plated gear. Those sissies who cannot carry the weight of true armor tend to drop from one or two hits while I stand there getting slapped in the face by a runaway mob laughing the entire time while I wait for a tank to pick up their lost child.

6. In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel is the best healing assignment (in general) for you?

For some classes this may be a serious question, but for a Paladin we are tank healers. There is no question. Can we raid heal? Hell yes, I can solo heal Razorscale. True Story again. However, in a properly organized group they will recognize the fact that we were made to heal tanks. Our spells are single target oriented and as such we are best utilized for that and with 20k+ on-demand-crits and that sissy Lay-On-Hands spell, there should never be any debate on it. (If there is, get the hell out of that PuG!)

7. What healing class do you enjoy healing with the most and why?

Alright, that is a tough question. If we are talking me and just one other healer then I am going with a Druid. They are the Bonny to my Clyde. (Hee hee) In all seriousness, with the combined power of my solid one hit heals (although I am rocking three HoTs now) and the ability to spam Hots, Battle Rez, and Innervate, we make a potent team. Truth be told though, if I have a good healer as a partner I do not care what class they are as they will know the tricks of their trade. I have healed with every class, including one damn bandage spec Rogue.

8. What healing class do you least enjoy (hate) healing with and why?

The bandage spec Rogue? No, we are not going to accept that answer? Well, I do not want to alienate anyone who may take it wrong. I honestly do not care who I am healing with, but for the sake of this, I would have to say that I least enjoy healing with a Priest. Now please do not get mad at me you squishy people. My reason is that most Priest I have ran with absolutely try to be tank healers, even when they are sportin that flashy holy spec that gives them some nice group heals. That and they scare me.

9. What is your worst habit as a healer?

Looking at the television while healing. Seriously, at this point most content is boring to me so I am busy reading news stories online while healing. Sometimes I will catch a good show while we are raiding. I have some good conversations with my wife (so long as we are both not healing in the same group/raid). Okay, sorry I am in a good mood today. My worst in-game habit would be toying with my tanks. I love letting their health drop dangerously low and then drop a big heal on them just to let them know I can. Sorry guys. Really. I mean it.

10. What is your biggest peeve in a group environment when healing?

You have come to the right person for this question. I hate DPS (Dumb People Suck) who stand in the bright glowing stuff that is hurting them. Honestly, how stupid are you?

11. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PVE healing?

Absolutely. I know some folks tend to view Paladins as a one trick pony, but let me be the first to introduce you to the Paly school of raid healing. Beacon the tank and then drop Flashes all over your raid. They will be amazed and you will top charts (if you are into chart topping). I honestly am a firm believer in going against the traditional school of thought (ask my guild). I do not like boxes and aim to break through (good thing I carry a freaking huge mace).

12. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?

This is a good question. The number one tool any healer will tell you is how many deaths compared to those left living. However, I completely disagree. It is a good judge for a guild, but if you are not running with your guild or spend time in PuGs, then you could be being carried or could be carrying a bad healer. I tend to look at the healing done and focus on heals per second. This let's me know who was casting during the fight. Then I view the overhealed information. If someone had a high heal per second but shows a ton of overhealing, then they get the worst healer award as they were covering someone else's target more than likely (now this is assuming that there is healing assignments). The biggest problem I had from jumping from five man to raid healing was not trusting the other members of the healing team. I would constantly spam heals all over. This often resulted in deaths as this meant I was not covering my own assignment.

13. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?

That we are only tank healers. We excel at tank healing no doubt. We are probably the best single target healer in this game, but it does not mean that we are incapable of raid healing. Now granted there are other classes who excel at raid healing and they could be awarded the title of greatest raid healer, but you still see raids where those classes will be the tank healers. It all comes down to skill and knowing where abilities and limitations are. I am just as comfortable healing a raid as I am leaning against the wall spamming heals to a tank.

14. What do you think is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?

It is really hard to say. When I started healing, there was not any sort of blog telling me what stat to get or the best way to heal. I never used an add-on till the very end of the Burning Crusade. (Yes, I love pain and I hate change.) So, I said all that because I had to figure it all out and how it worked best for me. If I had to give one piece of advice for a new Paladin healer, it would be to not listen to everyone else. Find the style that you like to heal and heal that way. Some Paladins want to spam Holy Light with high haste. Some Paladins want a high crit rating and enjoy spamming Flash of Light. My single biggest piece of advice is simply find the style that suits you and then stick with it. My second piece of advice is heal for PuGs non-stop. PuGs are brutal in two ways. The first way is that a bad PuG will make you a better healer because they force you to push yourself. The second way a Pug is good is that if you are a bad healer they will tell you.

15. If someone were to evaluate your performance as a healer (via recount), what sort of pattern would they see (ie lots of overhealing, low healing output, ect)?

This is a great question, probably the best of this whole thing. If you look at my recount you will see a couple things. The first thing you will see is a traditional mark for all Paladins, high overhealing. We will always have that, no matter what we do. The second thing you should see is that I have a solid HPS number. This means that I am healing constant. I am not running out of mana. The third thing you will notice is that I am going to be either number one or two. No questions asked. I accomplish this by placing the beacon on my main tank and then spamming heals to everyone else. More often than not I will heal the off-tank, but if the other healer is struggling, then I will heal their assignments as well. The fourth thing you will notice is that I have a high amount of HoTs that will show. There should be a minimum of four: Sacred Shield + Flash of Light, Holy Shock crit from tiered bonus, Forethought Talisman, and Judgement of Light. (Word of advice to all Paladin healers, if you do not have at least the three class abilities, then you need to work on getting these into rotation.) The fifth thing you will notice is that my number one heal is going to be Flash of Light, my second heal will be Holy Shock, and my third heal is Holy Light. I have worked long and hard to develop my healing style and how I build my character. I never was one to buy into the idea of spamming Holy Light as it eats too much mana. I prefer to run a marathon and not 100 meter dash.

16. Haste or Crit and why?

This is another good question for Paladins. (We are going to assume that we all know that we need Intellect and Spell Power as our base stats.) I do not like to have a ton of Haste on my gear. I take just enough to get a moderate speed increase, but I prefer Crit above Haste. I also prefer MP5 above Haste. I pretty much only like to have Haste on two or three pieces of gear. Anything else, I feel is a waste of space (for me at least).

17. What add-ons or macros (if any) do you use to aid you in healing?

I use healbot.

18. Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats or do you stack some much higher than others? Why?

I hinted at this in previous answers but pretty much we are going to get enough intellect and spell power from our gear that we will not need to worry about that. So for the little green stats on gear I look for crit and MP5. I prefer crit because I spam so many heals in a fight that I naturally will have more opportunities to crit compared to classes who may cast few spells or spells that do not benefit from crit. Now as a Paladin, we should be able to reach into our retribution tree and grab a free 5% crit increase, so that is important to remember. There is wiggle room to add some other stats in. This is where I get my MP5 from. It is important to remember that if you find yourself alone in a raid setting through bad luck or bad players, then you need to be able to go the distance. MP5 is the amount of mana you regenerate while casting. So, if you have a higher MP5, then you are going to be regenerating enough mana to hang in there for those last few crucial seconds. MP5 is what made the difference in many raids I have been in. (See jokes about single healing Razorscale.) A lot of Paladins will feel that Arcane Torrent and Devine Plea will give them all the regeneration they need (which it does provide a decent amount of mana), but the problem is that both of these are on cool downs and Devine Plea (which I was never a big fan of pre nerf) cost you a high percentage of your healing.

Well, I hope I dropped some useful information. I know a lot of this is pretty basic, but maybe it will do some good out there.