Saturday, October 30, 2010

Closing In On The End Of An Era

So it has been a few days since since I posted and that is really because I have been severely ill. Missed several weeks worth of work and been through several rounds of antibiotics and even steroids. The good news is I am feeling much better and happy for that.

In WoW related news, my guild is making our final push on ICC. We downed Sindregosa in about a month's worth of attempts (Around 12-16 nights roughly) We were hindered originally by members switching in and out and a lack of attendance by many who are our core raiding group. Last night was a huge lack of attendance but one that we were not going to call a raid for. We recruited some quality PuGs and knocked out Dreamwalker rather quickly and then after several training attempts and a few adjustments to strategy we burned that ice queen to cinders. We are finally near the end of our stated goal for this expansion and I for one am completely happy about that.

We went up and snapped some photos with the Lich King and started the event so that the PuG members could see this and get a feel for the strategy and then called it for the evening to let the raiders go and relax. At the end of the evening we had one PuG member who requested to join MAS and another PuG who said he knew several of our members in real life and was seriously considering making a switch to MAS as well. I think it speaks volumes that our guild continues to grow without spamming for recruits or posting on forums and other locations. It is a special group of people.

As for other news, Ruhtra finished off his Glory of the Hero achievement on Thursday with some help from the guild and that put one more achievement down that I personally was looking for. One of the things that has been waying heavily on mind over the last few weeks has been deciding what to do in the long term. The guild is fairly deep in Paladins and at this point in time we are in dire need of some other roles to be filled in consistency. After thinking about this for a long time I have decided that Ruhtra is going to continue on in Rated PVP where his heart is and in lieu of that, Popebutch is going to now be the main character that I spend my time working on. With that decision having been made that led me to another interesting decision about the future of my blogging. I originally started this blog as a blog for Holy Paladins and then slowly evolved to talk about a lot of different topics, but attempted to keep the focus on being a Holy Paladin. It seems kind of weird to feature a Shadow Priest as the main focus of a blog called Holy Shock does it not? So with that answer being obvious, it is the end of an era here at Holy Shock. When the Lich King falls, so too will end Holy Shock.

Thank you all who have been reading the blog and commenting. It has been a hell of an expansion and I am sure the future holds a lot of great opportunities for us all. May the Light shine brightly on you in the dark days ahead.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Change Of Pace

So as Cataclysm is creeping ever closer and closer, I have been spending less time in WoW, but still spending much time online playing a different game and today I want to share that game with those of you who may still read my blog. First, I know this is a blog dedicated to WoW, but it is okay to deviate from WoW once in a while right? I am guessing that many of you have heard of it either directly or indirectly. I am speaking about Minecraft!

This game is so addictive and requires just a little bit of time or you can get lost in it for hours. I personally resisted getting the game until one of my friends in MAS (Scrawny) posted about it in our guild forums. I figured why not and purchased the game along

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The New Is The Old Which Is The New When You Think About It

Perhaps I have been watching a little too much of Pirates of the Caribbean to come up with a title like that, or it is the drugs talking. Either way, it is what it is much the same way that the Holy Paladin's style of healing is what it is and that is what we are going to talk about after all isn't it? Yes, it is! I first want to say that all the crying and wailing that has been done, oh and the lamenting for days gone by, is simply ridiculous! So if you are a blogger or Paladin that is moping around and upset over the "c" word (change) then just stop it right now and straighten up and look like the lean mean tank healing machine that you were intended to be.

First Impressions

It feels exactly the same as it always has. What I mean is that if you are so stuck in the rut as a spamming healer then you are in luck because you can still spam heal. If you were one of the Paladins who found healing to be boring then you are in luck because we have a whole bunch of new stuff that can really be leveraged to provide you with a great time while standing there healing the tank. Are you catching what I am throwing down here? To borrow a phrase (and hopefully not get sued), we are the best there was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be at healing the tanks and by the Light it is time we started acting like it.

I am not a number cruncher as I have stated numerous times. Hell, I don't even care what number crunchers are saying right now. I am a results driven man and in my world the variables of who I heal with changes too much to have a perfect world attitude that some jerks may have. [;)] (That is a wink, but hard to do you know.) So I decided that there was no better way to test out the numbers than to raid ICC fresh with those of my guild who were able to be on. Raid leader had a corrupted file which meant reinstall, off-tank was slowly downloading the patch, and several DPS were either lost in the real world or in trying to make heads and tails out of their specs. So myself and five guild members dared the pool of PuGs and trudged into ICC to start fresh and check out rotations, specs, and our intestinal fortitude.

We started with a two healer set, myself filling the role of sir spams-a-lot (the stuck in the rut healer) and my counterpart Druid. I specifically built and play tested a spec for staying true to a spamming style because I wanted to see what effects it had overall on my healing style. When spamming Holy Light, I was able to spam for what seemed an eternity with minimal loss of mana. It felt somewhat comfortable but a little bulky/slow when compared to my favorite spam spec from Flash of Light and even when compared against the Holy Light spam-fest spec. The effective healing done was somewhere between the Flash and Holy Light styles that I used up till this patch. The overall results were me having a ton of overhealing and finishing with almost the same amount of healing done as my Druid counterpart. I have to admit I was surprised that it was that close because it really felt off to me (which it should have). That was through the first wing of ICC.

For the second wing, we had a PuG Shaman switch to their off-spec for healing and proceeded to mow down that wing. The thing I noticed in a three healer set for a ten man raid was that one of the healers was always much lower than the other two healers. It basically seemed like if you were the third healer to react then there just wasn't enough damage to heal for you. In retrospect I would be interested to see how it would have went in the two healer set versus three. Had it been full guild, I would have felt much more comfortable causing a wipe due to my curiosity but we did have guests and so we owed them the courtesy of not wasting their time. We called it on night one with the first and second wings cleared completely.

On our second night we picked back up with more guild members and the blood wing. We again went with a three healer set. This time we had myself on Ruhtra, my wife on her Paladin (Eus), and our guild Druid once again. I switched my style this time to focus on healing around Holy Shock and Word of Glory. My wife right away noticed the same thing I did and remarked about how slow the healing seemed now compared to pre-patch. We knocked out the Blood wing fairly quickly with some issues coming from the off-tank having some agro issues and a gung-ho Warlock pulling the orbs off the tank who was handling the ranged member of the council. We do that fight a little unorthodox with a Warrior tanking the ranged orb member in case you were wondering. All in all, it was pretty much the same results as I felt from the previous night.

We went and healed up our green friend and that was the same old same old there. Holy Paladins in and Druid and guild Shaman outside healing. Once again we had issues with some agro and had to make a couple attempts instead of one shotting as usual. We decided that it would be best to call it prior to doing Sindi simply because our PuG members (not saying they were bad) seemed to be playing a little loose and some careless mistakes had been made that I just didn't want to deal with trying to heal through. We did do one attempt to allow the PuGs to see the fight and explain what they should be doing. In reality only one PuG survived the air phase (phase 2?) and justified my decision for having the raid called.

After Thoughts

So now that it is all settled and done with and I have one ICC 10 run under my belt how well do I like or dislike the new abilities? I have to say I like what I saw during this past week. It is nice having some additional spells for those moments where movement is going to be required. I definitely felt the difference on Rotface while running after the slime tank and also on Profesor Putricide as well.

I think where we will need to be careful is in not using Holy Shock enough. I really struggled on the second night in the Blood Wing and Frost Wing with making sure to cast it every time it was available. I have always used Holy Shock and considered myself well prepared for the change of focus for healing spells, but found myself wanting to find a comfy spot and just spam Holy Light. Another thing I feel I could have really improved on was using Divine Light in a more balanced way. Part of it was because I wanted to test the spamming of it, but the other part was that I still mentally fight thinking of it as the Flash of Light/Holy Light spell combo and that just cannot be the case any longer.

As it stands now I am going to focus on making Holy Shock the center of my healing universe. This is going to provide me with the mobility I craved for so long and coupled with the ability to feed Holy Power into Word of Glory it just makes sense and feels right. In the downtime between cooldowns of these two spells I will fill with a combination of Flash of Light, Holy Light, and Divine Light with Holy Light being the most used for mana conservation and Divine Light being second. Flash of Light is going to be relegated for those moments where you just cannot afford the longer cast time of Holy Light in a similar sense that Divine Light is for the moments where you will need a monstrous heal to bring back your tank. Remember to throw out a Light of Dawn when everything is aligned in a good spot and keep Beacon of Light up on the tank or special assigned raid member and things will go pretty smooth. That definitely is not the old style of healing but yet it retains the base idea of one spell is going to be cast much more often than others simply because it is available.

I realize there is a lot more depth to healing now and I plan to take a little closer look at it in detail, as well as specs, gemming choices, the age old argument of haste or crit, and a multitude of other things. As for now, what do you like or don't like about our new talents? What questions do you have burning inside that you just have not seen anyone talking about?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Be Very, Very Quiet....

Hey all, been a while since my last post and I apologize but I got hit with what the doctor referred to as a sever sinus infection. I am still not feeling 100% from the nasty little bugger and I hope none of you out there get it. That being said, since the new patch has gone live I am sure that you all have been exploring the new talent trees and quite possibly even trying out a second spec with the price reduction down to 100 gold. I plan to talk a little bit about the changes for Paladins and my thoughts specifically about the holy changes, but that is for a little later. Today I want to talk about hunting rare pets.

If you are a Hunter, then you know what I am talking about. Sure, you could go and get the ordinary pets but what fun is there in that? This topic actually came to mind because my lovely wife has been trying to track down Skoll and I have been helping her out when I can. While I was reading up on the spawn points and other useful comments it got me thinking back to the very first rare mob I ever tamed and so I am going to share the story of my taming of Krethis Shadowspinner.

I feel it important to say that since the game has changed, this may not seem as impressive and some of you may not know that the rare mobs used to be considered elite mobs and were as hard, if not harder to kill than some of the bosses in the instances back a few years ago. This also means taming one could be a nightmare. I remember exactly what I was doing the day I came across Krethis. I was doing the quest in Silverpine to collect the items from the spiders and bears in the zone. I found the cavern that was loaded with the green spiders and figured it would be easy enough to kill them and so I ventured inside. At the time I had one of the spiders from Ghostlands as a pet. We were about half way down the shaft when we ran face first into Krethis. It did not end well for us; however, I desired that spider!

I was level 16 at the time and Krethis was only 15 and that should be easy right? I abandoned my current spider because we did not have the luxury that we are afforded now days and I proceeded to start the taming. Yeah it didn't go so well the first thirteen times. Finally, on my fourteenth attempt (and after fourteen deaths) I was smart enough to drop my trap far enough away to allow maximum time for my tame beast spell to pull him into the trap and the trap afforded me the remainder of the time needed. My friends made fun of me for having a caster pet, but it did not matter to me because this here little spider was a beast to get and I still have my precious Widowmaker with me today. Although it would be much cooler if she could spit flame shocks and cast her shield.

So as I sit here now having left my wife to go to Grizzly Hills and look for Arcturis, I am reminded of the fun, and pride, that can be had by taming these rare beasts. How about you all, what rare mob or pet are you most proud of?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Achievement Chasing

I have a dark confession to make. I spent this week forcing Ruhtra to drink until he went and vomitted on a Dark Iron Dwarf that apparantly set off a giant brewl, er brawl. At this rate, poor Ru may end up being a hobo down by the bences at the tram station. The good news is that he did manage to sober up enough to complete the Brewfest holiday achievements and pick up the pint sized pink pacaderm! Now if we can just get him to put the brews down. Last time I looked he had conviced Whoopy to join him on his foray into Brewfest and they were both chasing pink elephants. So while they are off chasing elephants let's talk about achievements!

When achievements first came out I was somewhat negative towards them. I viewed them as a shiny object that distracted players from the lack of content. I am a big enough man to admit that I was wrong and that they have added a different level to the game that was not present in the past. I only discovered the complexity of some of these achievements recently. Even the ones that seem simple take quite a bit of effort to achieve. For instance, have you looked for the books of higher learning? It seems easy but it is a pain in the ass hunting for those damn books. Go out and try to love all the little animals or kill all the annoying vermin! I have found a lot of fun and depth in things that I viewed first as little more than a distraction to the lack of content.


Rather is back again for another round this week and I want to talk about a thread I read on the US WoW forums. Basically we have this poster, who is crying about the required 35 points in a talent tree. This guy claims that he doesn't have any "hybrid" specs but feels that it is somehow infringing on his right to build his character how he sees fit. I can understand his desire to fight against the machine, but to be honest with the way it sounds that the trees are turning out there won't be a need to dip into other trees for those first few levels.

I tried to approach it from the other side, but very few of the hybrid builds (think PVP prot/heal Pali build) ever proves to be successful in the long run. The only thing that they tend to do is cause Blizzard's team to grab the nerf bats and start the whacking process. If anything, I am grateful that maybe, just maybe, we will be able to play the classes and their redesigned trees for more than a couple weeks before they start making changes. I understand an argument could be made for some of the hybrid builds that have proven useful (think the Fel Guard/destruction Lock build) for leveling and other things, but most of these builds have you go a little farther than 35 points and so they will not be effected by this.

I think what we see here is Blizzard making people learn to play a chosen class and that is not all bad. If they decided to restrict you to say spending 50 points in a tree before being able to dip into other trees then I may be more willing to fight, but I just see this as an overall win for everyone. Hopefully this means players who understand the class a little better, less nerfs done as a knee jerk reaction to a mechanic that was not intended to be used in a certain way, and more time spent by the staff on developing other aspects of the game.