Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Heroic kills, Drake chase, and a missing buff

First, Bladfist-US somehow missed the memo that it was time to make our numbers bigger - and instead of raiding with a 10% buff, we still had the 5%. Rumor has it that the 10% was active, until our sever was reset to fix an issue with the AH and WG. No official response from Blizzard, and it doesn't really matter, but it was noticed that we didn't have it.

We killed her anyway

Even with the 5% buff, we're now 9/12H in ICC, after one shotting the Blood Queen last night. The fight didn't feel any more difficult than on normal. Blood Princes were actually more difficult. Heck, we had more issues trying to get the Full House achievement. Speaking of that, it seems that we had an Adherant or something change at the 5% mark - so we wound up killing her without getting the achievement. There may have been some cussing on vent.

Heroic Festergut is the same fight, with just a little shuffling to avoid the green slimes. It took me a few shots to recognize the warning splash on the ground, but once we had it figured out the fight was very straight forward. We had to use a few more cooldowns on the tanks, and use them a little earlier, but overall it's not very different.

Heroic Rotface is again, the same fight with just some foot shuffling. We did it exactly the same way we did him on normal mode.

Note - every Heroic fight I've done, I've done in full HL gear and 51/20/0.

Thursday is heroic Sin, and Putricide if we can figure out how to deal with the plague debuff.

***Edit, because I fail at naming bosses correctly***

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My new favorite fight

Intense healing encounters - these are the things that really make a healer's night. Up until last night, I though Heroic Saurfang was the pinnacle. Two healers, tight rotations, limited free GCDs. One missed CD or heal, and you're looking at a wipe.

Officially boring.

I'm fairly certain that Mongrr will agree with me on this, but straight up healing encounters are mind-numbingly boring. Regular Marrowgar? Snoozefest. Gunship? Not even worth mentioning. This is one of the reasons we try and two heal as much content as we possibly can. I know some healers don't like the stress of two healing, but that's where we get our game rush. Of course Mongrr was two manning Scholo with Aurora back when Tier 1 gear was the hottest gear on the market.

I live for the interesting fights that require me to dip into my full box of tools. Mana management, my full kit of Hands, shocks, Flash and Holy Lights - everything. The Lich King encounter is right up there with this, with an incredible amount of raid damage and tank spikes. We run three healers on this though, so help is generally available.

Enter the Dreamwalker

Last night we focused on Heroic Dreamwalker. On normal, I'm one of the portal jumpers, using Beacon of Light on Valithria and exploiting the bonus healing that you can get from the Glyph of Holy Light. This leads to some insane healing numbers, and allows us to blow through the encounter amazingly fast. Mongrr covers the raid healing, and never has any issues between bubble use and quick heals. Heroic mode is something else entirely.

During our first attempts, Mongrr was getting overrun with raid damage. The tanks were taking inordinate spike damage, and the raid damage was spikey as well. We made a switch to put him in the portals and to have me stand out healing the raid since my BoL could cover the tanks.

I was not prepared

I honestly wasn't ready for the sheer volume of damage that was being handed out to the tanks, especially when they had worms and such on them. The first few learning wipes were definitely due to me figuring out which mobs I needed to worry about, and which ones I could 'rest' on.

By our second night in, I was set. I went with my full INT gear setup, and used the 51/20/0 spec for DS/DG and Imp Devo. Given that the main issue before was tank damage, I elected to not use BoL on Valithria, but instead focus on keeping the raid alive and letting our portal jumpers do their job.

Let the chaos begin

I'm sure that there's still something we're missing on this fight, as far as avoidable damage is concerned. Sometimes I'd see an add explode and 1/2 the raid would drop to 10% health. Other times it'd go off and nobody's bar would move. Figuring that out would probably knock this down a notch in difficulty.

Regardless, by the end of the fight I didn't have a single CD left available. LoH? Gone. HoP? Used. HoS, HoF, DS/DG, cleanse - everything was going into the mix. After a 99% wipe (would that be a 1% wipe?) when we got close again I just focused on helping push her over the top. I probably should have just dropped BoL on her at the end, but instead I let our Panzerkin die while I helped with the last 2%. Sry:(

The only disappointing thing for me with the fight was that there weren't any fireworks, or even an achievement spam, for having killed her in heroic mode.

The post fight rush

More than any fight yet - this one had me scrambling the most. No, it's not the most difficult in terms of mechanics, tricks, or other little gimmicks. It's simply dig in and pump out the green numbers. This is definitely another fight where "alive" is what's needed - topped off is just a bonus.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Starting Over

So the shared topic and much discussed question over at Blog Azeroth this week: what would you do if your account was gone forever and you had to start over?

I believe this is assuming something tragic happened, like aliens ate your account, or somehow it was simply gone forever. Obviously Blizzard has shown a track record of being able to restore some of your information, so very rarely is all lost. For the sake of argument though, let's look at a couple of options.

Account gone - no friends available

If my account was completely gone, and I didn't have any friends available from my guild, I'd probably just stop playing all together. I mainly play to raid, though I do have some alts, and getting back into competitive ICC raiding would be fairly tough with my current play schedule. If I kept my same play schedule, it would still take me a month to get kitted out in badge gear - and I don't have the AH skills to supplement me with the BoE epics I'd need to round out my set.

Of course, losing your account AND everyone that you know in game is pretty unlikely. Oh, I'd buy a PS3 and Assassins Creed I/II - because I'm always late to the party.

Account gone - friend structure exists

Assuming that nothing changed but my ability to raid, I'd get a RAF going and power-level my butt to 80. I could probably count on enough gold from our gbank to cover the basics, and getting all the badges you'd need (with a good support group) just wouldn't take long at all. I'd also try and just buy an 80 off someone in the guild. I mean, if the situation is extreme enough that I've lost my whole account, I think some corners can be cut.

Yeah, yeah - but what class?

I think the real point of this question though, was what class/role would you play? Would you re-roll the same class as your main, or use the opportunity to change?

In this case, because my goal would be to get back into the end-game raiding as quickly as possible, I'd definitely go with the Paladin again. I love the versatility, I know the class backwards and forwards, and I can save myself 1g at lvl 20 with the free mount. What's not to love?

If I ever had to choose a different class though, I'm pretty sure it'd be a druid. Same flexibility as the Paladin, but with a ranged DPS setup as well. I'd want to be a Troll though - even if you do spend 90% of your time shapeshifted.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Flowchart

OT - Late to the party - 40K style

I am generally not late to anything. Raids? Early. Dinner with my friends? They have to tell me the REAL time they want me to show up, because it seems "Dinner at 7" really means "Start drinking at 8".

However when it comes to 40K, I'm so late the place is probably closing soon.

I've actually seen this quite a bit, especially with some great blogs. I stumble across them, discover how amazing they are, and then three days later they quit blogging and disappear forever. I'm then stuck reading their archives (providing they don't delete their blog entirely), and wishing I'd shown up a few months sooner.

So it is with 40k.

How it started

I blame this all on the Wombcrusher. About six or eight months ago, W-Crusher made a book recommendation - Dark Apostle. Trust him to get me hooked with a Chaos themed book. The story had everything I could want - death, destruction, absolute horror - and it didn't even end on an up note. I'd grown tired of books that always managed to end on the side of good by some miraculous note. Dark Apostle didn't even try.

From there I started the Space Wolf Omnibus I and II. The stories have just gotten better and better.

I'm now on the Horus Heresy, learning about the fall of Horus and the Space Marines. Each story is just building on the last, a runaway train of death and destruction.

Taste of the forbidden fruit

So now I'm hooked, and I realize I'm eons behind. Trying to keep the chapters straight, Primarchs, who's Chaos and who's not - it's a lot of information. The world is amazing, and the stories and lore are absolutely fantastic. With all the games, support sites, and canon lore available, it's kind of like drinking from a fire hose. Fortunately, I've got my own backup feeding me little nuggets of info.

Time to learn about Ultramarines.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

OT - The ripple effect

I think a lot of folks in this world live under the impression that they have a larger impact on their world than they really do. While it's true that our actions will often have ramifications that extend far beyond the intended target, the impacts are generally not as long lasting as we might hope or expect.

A visualization

Imagine a big pond - flat, glassy, maybe sporting some lily pads and some tall grass near the shores. Your pond might even have some ducks, or storks even, and some fish swimming around in it. This is your world, and everything is connected into it in some way.

Now toss a rock into it - this can represent a blog post, an action in game, a forum post - anything. At the point of impact there might be a nice splash, and the ripples will run out fairly quickly. The further that each ripple travels, the smaller it gets, until eventually it either dissipates entirely or reaches the shore.

If it was a big enough rock, the splash might scare the birds, or startle the fish swimming around. If it hit the bottom hard enough, some silt might resettle in a slightly different place. After a few moments though, life on the pond would return to normal. The birds would land again, fish would swim back through the area, and any indication that a rock ever hit would be forgotten.

An example

World first LK kill by Ensidia, followed immediately by cries of foul play, and accusations of intentionally bugging the game. Ensidia is stripped of the kill, and is forced to take a three day hiatus. Blogs everywhere cover the story, and it's the WoW equivalent of Watergate.

A month later, you don't even hear about it. It might as well have never happened for all the impact that it had in the game. LK was hotfixed, equivalent to some silt settling differently and maybe giving us a new rock to swim around.

Angry blogs, wars against bloggers, rage-quits, grand kills, legendaries. None of these are more than a poke of a finger into a pool. Pull your finger out, and the water fills it right back. Despite what Maximus said, what we do does not in fact echo across an eternity.

The best we can hope for

I have always likened people to lumps of clay, or play-doh. I'm sure I actually heard this from someone famous, but I can't for the life of me remember where. The point is, here we are - lumps of clay going through our life. Each person that we meet, every interaction that we have, is us touching our balls of clay together. When you do that, a little bit of each ball transfers to the other, and the shape and composition is slightly changed.

If you're very lucky, you will make some sort of lasting impression on a person (hopefully in a good way), making them remember you fondly in the future. Thus it is also true that even bad interactions will leave a mark on someone, so don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise. Yes, the pond will return to its glossy sheen - but a tiny piece of you is now left with the other person.

It's where you've been and what you've done that make you who you are. - Jim Croce

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Healing meters don't mean squat

Ladies and gentlemen - in what I am sure will not be the last time, I want to poke a big fat stick and finger at what is quite possibly the second biggest bane in the Holy Paladin's existence (other than being pigeonholed as tank healers).

Topping healing meters does not a good healer make.

Hell, topping DPS meters does not a good DPSer make (usually).

Meter topping nonsense

First off, unless you're in an epeen swinging PUG (where these kinds of things seem to matter), total healing doesn't mean squat - and neither does effective healing, or over healing - unless your raid is wiping. Look at me, I'm keeping up JoL and healing the raid! I'm high on the meters, I must be good!

Oh, what do you mean that I wasn't doing my job. I was topping the meters! Well, yes - one of my assigned targets was dead, but OBVIOUSLY that only happened because I was healing everyone else. After all, I topped the meters!


This is exactly the same mentality that DPS get into with fights that involve target switching. One of my least favorite mages, Decius from had this awesome tendency to top the DPS meters in any raid he was in. Of course a quick glance at recount/WoL shows that his damage to bone spikes/adds/snobolds was precisely zero. That's not doing your job, that's sacrificing your team for the sake of your personal epeen.

You simply cannot measure someone based upon a tool like recount, unless you know exactly what you're looking for. Saying that "topping the meters is the sign of a good healer" is ludicrous at best. Any fight that I want to top the meters on I'll simply run into the melee, beacon a tank, and spam HL on myself while rotating my CDs and DP for mana efficiency.

OK, so what does make a good healer?

Like I mentioned last week, you have to start with trust. Trust that your teammate will do their job, and focus on your responsibility. This is the first step in forming a cohesive healing team. Even in a PUG, you have to trust that the person assigned to heal target X is doing that job. If you spend 1/2 as much time watching what everyone else is doing, instead of concentrating on the things you're supposed to - you're going to drop the ball on something.

Realizing that not everything a healer does will show up on the healing meters is the next step towards becoming that good healer. Cleansing targets to prevent incoming damage, or to clear a polymorph, is just one of the many things you should be watching for. Instead of just mindlessly spamming your heal, look to see what other little things you can pick up. Maybe an interrupt here, or a quick Hand of Protection there.

My point is, you can't just focus on pure throughput numbers.

How do I evaluate a healer then?

This is a tough question, and I'll be the first to say that I don't rightly know.

Start by looking at who they're healing vs. who they're assigned to. Look at what spells they're casting, and compare it with their spec. Check glyphs, gems, and flasks. Look at cleansing and CD usage.

But most importantly,


Hopefully you have a healing lead who is communicating with your healers. Find out if things feel out of control, or if they're bored because there are too many healers. Look at GrimReaper to find out how your raid members are dying, and see what can be done to adjust it (remember, you can't heal stupid).

Friday, March 19, 2010

Trusting your team - and making the heal face

We finally got Storming the Citadel-10[H] last night - when Saurfang fell over and caughed up a worthless tier token (shaman I think), and some other stuff I didn't care about. What I did care about was that he finally fell over, as we'd had several sub 10% wipes over two nights time.
Three of which I was directly responsible for.
One of the things that I've enjoyed the most about these heroic mode fights is the required communication and total teamwork required to pull the job off. Calling for non-tanks to use defensive cooldowns, or to heal themselves, coordinating saves, and timing heals - none of this can be taken for granted.
Here's a few examples of how I wiped the raid through a lack of communication - or trust.
  1. Assigned to the players with the Mark - I stopped healing one to Holy Shock/FoL the tank, that I felt was about to die. I saved them, but my assigned target died. If I'd called for them to use a CD - that wipe wouldn't have happened (10%)

  2. Let my Judgement haste buff fall off. If I'd called for a CD or assistance while I refreshed it - that 4% wipe wouldn't have happened (and yes, they died in the time it took to judge and cast).

  3. Failed to notice someone getting a bloodboil while marked - 24k in 2.5 seconds. 6%.

Each of these was preventable, and we finally got everthing wired tight and managed to plant him. I did however, have to make the heal face at the end.

For those that are unfamiliar with the heal face (and really, how many of my readers don't tank OR heal?), this is the face you make when things are really going to the wire - like when Festergut has 3 stacks on him and your tanks are getting pounded. This is where wings fly, speed pots are used, and your finger is hovering over the "AMGTHETANKISGONNADIE" button (lay on hands, nature's swiftness - whatever).

I'm pretty sure I looked like this.


Heroic Saurfang is by far the most unforgiving thing I have healed - ever. I can't see how someone can heal this in a FoL build, there's just so much damage to the marked targets in P2. liberal use of CDs really helped.

I can't wait for the next one.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Whiney Post about....whiney post day

I get it. I really do. Shared topics are fun, and they give us something to chat about in common. I also agree with Tobold, in that this is MY blog space. Not yours. I get to write what I want, and occasionally (ok, generally when someone asks) I will write about a requested topic/thought/issue. I suppose if someone wrote me and specifically asked me to NOT write about a subject, I'd write about that too.

Just because I'm that kind of guy.

Today though blogsphere, I was not presented with my usual posts of WoW. Instead I was presented with whiney posts - ranging from the angsty teen sounding, to the straight up rants.

And I enjoyed them.

Oh yes. I reveled in their wit and humor. I discovered that some of my favorite bloggers have a writing style that I simply want to read more of, and learn from. I felt like perhaps I didn't belong in the company of these folks, to count myself as one amongst them.

Which of course, is rubbish. There's no entry requirements to this merry band of fellows. I didn't have to fill out an application to become a WoW blogger, or join SAN, or even to join BlogAzeroth. All I had to do was start a blog.

So that's my complaint today. Ya'll wrote great posts, that I enjoyed reading, but that weren't about WoW. Yeah - I'll get over it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

SAN, Druid leveling, and why I fail at blogging

So I joined the Single Abstract Noun community on AD this weekend, and it was a pretty decent time. I chatted some, saw some names I know, and generally just enjoyed tooling around on a lowbie Paladin. I didn't have my BoA gear, a mountain of cash, or any of the other things I have when starting a new alt on my server. I even elected to run completely add-on free, just to try out the new starting zone tips and quest guide stuff (they're pretty awesome by the way). The game has really come a long way in making it easier for new players to get involved.

Playing on AD was very relaxing, but it didn't last long. I enjoyed the banter and the chatting going on in guild chat, and the relaxed atmosphere was a little different, but there was definitely something missing. The problem, I think, is that I'm definitely end game goal oriented. All of my alts on Bladefist were created to support my raiding Paladin. My DK is prot to farm Frost Badges for primordial saronite, and has leatherworking to create the leg kits our raiders need. My mage is a tailor to create the caster leg kits, and an enchanter to create scrolls. My shaman is a scribe, etc.

Without a doubt, I'm happiest when I'm successfully raiding. All the times in the past when I've quit playing were due to a lack of serious raiding, and this still hasn't changed. Even my druid alt is going to be a resto/feral combination - to help me understand the other healers and tanks better - hopefully making me a better end game raider.

I suppose that's why these last two weeks have been the lowest point in Wrath for me - we haven't had a good raid night in a while. Hopefully that will all change now that everyone (should) be settled down again.

Blogger Failure

I consistently forget to take screenshots of exciting stuff in game, especially things like Recount and my chat window. Why is this a fail? Because if I'd remembered, I'd be able to post a recount from a PUG 25-ICC on Friday that showed Shamburger (our resto shaman) and myself doing 40% of the effective healing on Marrowgar - when there were 7 healers in the raid. I also finished the fight with only 24% overhealing - while judging light. It would also show Reaganomics doing almost 14% of the raid DPS. Ouch.

Now I know healing meters don't mean jack as to who the best healer is, but when there's three Holy Paladins and the difference between them is over 10% - then someone's not doing their job right.

I suppose the big reason for the lack of images is that for me, blogging is something I do when WoW isn't available. I don't think about my blog when I'm at my computer playing. Hell, I'm part of a sponsored racing team, and I keep forgetting to blog there (and those guys actually "pay" me with schwag). I usually come up with my blog posts while I'm sitting at work compiling code or rebuilding a database server.

Hard Modes - Again

Despite not having everyone 'attuned' to heroic ICC-10, I think this week we're going to just start plowing into them head first. As long as the two we have who aren't attuned don't die in the far corner of Marrowgar's room, and don't release, we can just rez them back and try again. I have this feeling that general malaise is going to set in soon if we don't resume our regularly scheduled ass kicking.

Side note - this was pointed out by someone in SAN, and I noticed it myself. It seems that even though my druid is black furred, when I do a mangle the animation is a brown bear. Creepy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Gotta catch 'em all

Yeah, that's right - I just used a Pokemon reference in my blog title. In this case though, I'm referring to the loveable creatures known as "Forum Trolls" (FT). We've all seen them, and occasionally they grace our blogs with their presence. I for one welcome a good troll post, as it means that someone at least took a moment to post here - even if they didn't read or enjoy the content.

Today though I want to look at the different types of trolls, and maybe ask that they start identifying themselves through a signature line, or maybe a number in their name. After all, there are many different species of worms, and FTs should be recognized too.

Classifications of FTs

While some of these charactaristics may overlap, I think that these identifying trademarks should help you accurately identify your FT, and ulitimately "Catch them all".

The "I'm casual and mock you for spending too much time caring about a game"

A wonderful speciman of Troll, this one exhibits a lackluster approach to the game. When called out for having not achieved any type of end-game results (raids, high PvP, etc) they claim "it's only a game" and pity you for your obsession with it. One of the few specimens to generally post with their "main", they can be countered with standard FT measures - ignoring them, or just saying that "they're right". Logic fails on them, as they are bitter for not being able to accomplish anything in the end-game.

The "I'm better than you, but choose to remain anonymous"

One of the more common Trolls, this poster will claim achievments far and above anything you could hope to accomplish in game. You will however never be able to verify this, as they hide behind an alt. Often found saying "I don't need to post on my main, because you're just bad". Odds are good that they are still LFG for Scarlet Monestary.

The "I left this server, but I still come back because I LOL at you"

One of my favorite varieties, this Troll has left your server for greener ground and has possibly even managed to land somewhere successful. Their disdain for you and your server is so great that they still come back and troll your forums. Probably because everyone has them on ignore already on their new realm. Often posts on a low level alt so you can't see that they're actually in a guild that is farming content that is 3 patches old.

The "I quit playing so I don't care about WoW"

This person claims to have quit playing completely, and is only posting until their prepaid time runs out (usually five months, as they quit playing a month ago and their subscription auto-renewed). Will occasionally resurface as a transfer troll some time down the line.

The angry ex-guild member

This troll often disguises themselves in one of the other forms, but careful examination of their writing style and insider knowledge will reveal them as this specific sub-species. This type of troll is the easiest to defeat, as their own internal conflict at no longer being a member of the guild they are trolling.

This list is not all inclusive

I'm sure that this list has left out quite a few different types of trolls. I suppose one would be the main who just wants to be a troll (Reportmyname was one of the best). Fortunately you can generally defeat them by just ignoring them.

Here's hoping that the trolls never go away, because even if they don't contribute positively - at least you know they're reading.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

HA! Doing it wrong again - Rotface

So it seems that once again, is doing it wrong. For those not familliar with the fight, here's the basic rundown (without pictures). For an awesome picture example (complete with Ninja Turtle reference) go check out Fulguralis's post on "Killing 'em slowly". Anyway - here's the twenty-five cent version of the fight.

MT hold Rotface in the center of the room. Diseased people get cleansed and create small oozes, small oozes become a big ooze, big ooze is kited by the OT, big ooze explodes and the raid moves. The important part of this is the kiting, because there is lots and lots of ooze on the ground that you're supposed to dodge.

It seems the prescribed way to handle the kiting is to kite in a 'kidney shaped' pattern through the half of the room that has no slime puddles. Making your Indy track pattern, you adjust as new slime is released, and other spots clear up. It seems that standing in the slime is bad (gasp - move out of the green stuff raid strat!).

Our OT is Jeff Gordon

Have you ever seen Jeff Gordon race? Me either, but supposedly he's a NASCAR only guy, which means he drives in a circle doing nothing but making left turns. This is our OT.

It may not be conventional, but it works. Our Paladins have BoF ready for him if needed (I think the slime slows you down), but the healing has never been an issue.

The only issue we have is when he starts T-bagging the boss. That's just wrong man.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I am Sam

I'm not talking about Sam Dawson, I mean Sam Walton - the founder of Wal-Mart. While I'm no Goblin, I do have a pretty solid cash inflow that is only regulated by my ability to put up with the randoms I find in the LFD system.

Gem selling.

It's no secret that epic gems sell every day. With the release of the LFD systm, Triumph badges fall from the sky like Skittles, and epic gems can be had for just a handful of badges. An average heroic will net me five of these badges in about 15 minutes, if I'm really lucky I'll get Occ and pull in a monster eight badges for 20 min worth of work. HoS is probably the worst producer, as you'll only usually get four badges - what with so many folks skipping the rock and maiden boss.

Either way, it's fast and easy work and will also net me the bonus gold plus any gray items or enchanting mats. This isn't the real money though.

No, for my 20 minutes (assuming a slowish group) worth of play, and my average five badges, I've got myself a 10 badge gem that will sell for about 175g if I sit on it and watch the market. I've found that method to be a bit slow however, and instead I go for what I call the SAMs Club marketing method.

135g BO - gone by the time I can get from Dalaran to ICC.

Now Gevlon would call me some kind of M&S or Social for dropping my gems off this cheap, but I'm in the market for quick sales and instant returns. This method would certainly be less benificial for a DPSer, but as a tank/healer I have instant queue times. If I'm really lucky and happen to get a mostly guild run, we can zerg through heroics in under 10 minutes. This sends my time to profit margin right through the roof. It's not uncommon for me to pull in 20 or even 30 badges in an hour (Gun'Drak takes 7 minutes for 6 badges in a 'mostly' guild run).

Considering that I don't buy flasks, food, or anything else to support my raiding habit - this is pretty good money in my pocket. I don't spend a lot of time doing nothing (though this is technically farming), and it helps keep me sharp. There is nothing like healing an 'at level' geared tank (or worse) and the overeager DPS that come with most PUGs to keep you on your toes.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A shot in the dark for Ulduar runs (or a beg)

The next few weeks are pretty borked raiding for our little 10 man guild, so I'm going to take a shot in the dark and see if there's anyone who reads this that has a regular Ulduar-25 running - that doesn't have someone building a Val'anyr (yeah right - I know).

With 25/30 fragments, I'm certainly willing to xfer off the server for 2 or 3 weeks if needed to get this baby made. I'd be willing to help with any other raids of course (with no loot expectations - I'm just after this mace), and bring some pretty heavy healing or tanking to the table.

Ideally it'd be a Horde guild that was doing this on the weekends so I could bounce back and forth between servers - but I'm willing to change faction and servers if it was say a three week run.

If anyone has something like this available - please let me know.

Monday, March 8, 2010

25 Fragments is worse

Back when we were running Ulduar regularly, I started collecting the fragments for the legendary mace. I managed to gather twenty or so before we left our server and headed for 10-man raiding land. While on Bladefist I picked up a few more, and this weekend I nabbed a 25th fragment.

I'll be honest, I think it's worse getting a new one, even now.

I don't care that the mace isn't OP (or that some say it never was good at all), I still want it. Bladefist isn't a big enough server where I can find guilds that are running Ulduar for kicks, though I'm going to try pimping myself out on the forums or something. Maybe I can get lucky.

Of course if I do manage to land 30 fragments, I still have to find a way to net a 3-Light kill - which is still no small feat. If I get to that point, I'll definately start hitting up the blogsphere, offering money, hosting services, or whatever else I can - just to close the book on this thing.

Besides, who could resist an amazing looking item like that?

***Edited for accuracy***

Friday, March 5, 2010

OT - IE is screwing with my formatting

I'm going to have to do some digging now. It seems that my preferred method of composing my blog (writing in Word then doing a copy/paste) doesn't play well with IE8. Bullets and lists get messed up, and I can only imagine that it's really tough to read.

If anyone has any thoughts on this - I'd love to hear them. I'm sure it's got to do with all the formatting code that goes into Word. Maybe I'll try saving the files in some kind of HTML compatible format.

***Edit - WordPad attempts***

This is a test post. Something real will show up today (hopefully)

  • Bullet point one.
  • Bullet point two.
  • This is a third bullet point.

Hopefully this looks halfway decent, and I'll at least have a workaround by using Wordpad instead of Word.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Int vs SP and HL vs FoL – Let the Theorycrafting Begin!

Before we begin, let me toss out a couple of disclaimers.

First – someone will probably disagree and post something awesome from EJ. Personally, I’d love to see it and I welcome any discussion on this. Second – I really hope someone points Mr. Christian at this (or one of the other blogs like it), as it seems he still needs to learn that we have more than one button to push. Finally – this is some napkin math done during lunch, so if I miss something, please point it out.

The basic debate

There is a big section of Paladin healers out there who think that a) we should only be spamming Holy Light, and b) that Intellect is the only gem for us. While this is certainly a safe bet (make sure you get enough ‘off’ gems to make your meta work), it’s definitely not the only game in town.

A growing collection of Paladins are making the shift to Spell Power, relying on the faster (and more efficient) Flash of Light to carry the load. This is a perfectly fine way to set yourself up, though it can lead to some issues if higher throughput is required.

I’ve found that a balanced approach works better, but here’s a look at the numbers.

Base stats

Since Spell Power, Crit, MP5, etc. are all static stats, we need to break down Intellect to see what benefits we receive from it. I pulled this info out last year, and the only thing that has changed is the return from Replenishment.

100 Intellect will net us

· 126 Int (with Divine Intellect and BoK)

· 1897 Mana at the start of the fight

· 39.5 mp5 from Divine Plea

· 18.97 mp5 from Replenishment

· 4.7 mp5 from Arcane Torrent

· 25.3 Spell Power

· 0.759% Crit

Because of these returns, it’s easy to see why many Paladins simply stack Intellect over everything else. Much like Reaganomic’s post regarding Christmas Tree gemming, it’s easy to get caught up in searching for those ‘perfect’ gems to match set bonuses. In addition, because of our high spell coefficients, it may not always be necessary.

Cost plus coefficients

As a Paladin, our three main healing spells are Holy Light, Flash of Light, and Holy Shock. Even though we have an arsenal of supporting spells (Beacon, Sacred Shield, various Hands of XYZ), those aren’t spells that we spam. We put them out as needed, and refresh BoL and SS when they expire.

Holy Light

Touted as our “Big Gun”, Holy Light has the following properties.

· Cost: 29% of base mana, or 1275 mana

· Coefficient: 166% of our Spell Power

· Base Healing: 4888 – 5444

· Cast Time: 2.5 seconds

Flash of Light

Our faster, spammable, heal.

· Cost: 7% of base mana, or 307 mana

· Coefficient: 100% of our Spell Power

· Base Healing: 785 – 879

· Cast Time: 1.5 seconds

Holy Shock

Our only true instant, this also has a 6sec CD (5sec with Glyph).

· Cost: 18% of base mana, or 791 mana

· Coefficient: 0.81% of our Spell Power

· Base Healing: 2401 – 2599

· Cast Time: N/A – Instant

Armed with these numbers, we can determine HPS and throughput – though there are still many variables concerning mana return (Judging every 8/10 seconds? Getting JoW procs?) which cannot be considered.

In my current un-buffed raid gear, I have the following stats to work with.

· 2805 Spell Power,

· 30.86% crit (without Holy Talents)

· 770 Haste (over the softcap of 680)

· 216 mp5

This means my highest (non-crit) spells will hit for the following (not counting the bonus healing from Healing Light or any other talents/effects). Holy Light – 10,100, Flash of Light – 3684, Holy Shock – 4871. A point per cost shows Holy Light at 8 points per mana, Flash at 12 points per mana, and Holy Shock at 6 points per mana.

Now none of this will come as a surprise to any raiding Paladin. It’s been known for a long time that FoL is by far the most efficient spell in our arsenal, its only drawback has been a lower throughput vs. HL. With the expectation that Paladins act as “tank healers”, and the perception that we have infinite mana pools, it’s easy to see how we fell into the “Spam Holy Light” trap.

Break free of the chains!

Over at there is a great post talking about gemming for SP over Int, and using FoL as your mainstay. He essentially covers the finer aspects of this build - mine has more math.

Before we look at gear, let’s look at what we gain by swapping gems. Assuming you don’t go for the Christmas Tree effect, and instead swap each +20Int gem (Brilliant Kings Amber – BKA) for +23SP (Runed Cardinal Ruby – RCR), you can see a marginal increase in SP at the cost of mana and longevity. As I listed above, 100 mana (five BKA) will give you 25 SP, effectively reducing your swap by one SP gem. So for a gain of 92 SP, you will lose 1900 mana and .75% crit (plus the mp5 from DP and Replenishment).

In my current gear I have twenty BKA, so I could gain 360 SP at the cost of 7600 mana, 3% crit, plus 233 mp5 (from DP and Replenishment). That 360 extra spell power will simply raise my top non-crit FoL to 4044 (about 4400 with talents, 8800 crits). While that is a big boost to your FoL hits, you are sacrificing the gas in your tank that you will need if you have to switch to HL spam. Swapping out your INT trinkets for SP will bump you up quite a bit more, again at the cost of longevity.

But you said I could be free

This is where smart playstyle, knowing your healing team, and keeping multiple gear sets comes in handy. When we’re 2 healing 10man ICC, I know that I can’t afford to be caught short on the HL output. My heal partner is a Disc Priest, so I’m counting on him to mitigate and offset a lot of the incoming damage, but I have to be there for the big heals when they’re needed. On the flip side of that coin, in 25 mans I have a larger healing team to work with, so there’s always someone who can assist on the tanks. By putting a BoL on the tank taking damage, I can literally spam FoL on the raid and keep the tank from folding.

The problem only comes into play when I have to kick it into overdrive. Being down 7600 mana (just from the gems) means I don’t have the horses in the stable when I need them. Sure, my FoLs are hitting like trucks every second, but that oftentimes isn’t enough. This is where having a good synergy with your other healers really has to come into play. Being able to lean on each other, and trust that jobs are covered (plus snagging an Innervate if you need it) is a great help. Let’s face it, Divine Plea’d Holy Light’s are less effective than regular Flash of Lights.

You also will need to glyph and spec for a heavy FoL build, picking up Glyph of Seal of Light, Glyph of Flash of Light, and using the 51/0/18+2 build. It certainly can be done, and you can put up some impressive numbers with it – it’s just not for the faint of heart.

Finding a middle ground

Personally, I hold a solid middle ground between a full FoL build (with tons of SP gems, trinkets, etc) and a HL build. I swap out my trinkets for SP over Int, and my libram for the PvP FoL bonus. I use my PvP gloves for an extra 2% FoL crit, and use the 51/2/18+2 build and glyphs. I don’t regem for two reasons. One, I do 10 mans where having the HL heavy Int build is beneficial and two, because I want that extra Int as a cushion in case I need some extra healing legs.

This method may be frowned upon by some – I mean why not go full hog wild with the SP gems as well? Honestly, as soon as I have an effective 2nd set of gear, I will. I certainly don’t have a problem with keeping multiple sets of gear around to play with, and it’s not like I need the triumph badges for anything else.


In the end (or TLDR for those folks so inclined) either build will work for you – if you let it. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but don’t gimp your raid in the process. Far better for you to be a reliable HL nuke machine than an erratic FoL bomber. Work with your other healers to see if this playstyle will mesh with your current setup, and be prepared to catch some flak from uneducated raiders in PuGs. Remember, in order to get the most from the FoL build you pretty much have to go all in – trinkets, libram, glyphs, spec, etc. If you’re not getting 8-10k crits regularly, your HPS will suffer and your tanks will as well.

Go big, or go home.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sindragosa Kill

Watch it in HD.

Post on SP/INT and HL/FoL coming soon (still doing math).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

ICC Buff/Nerf - It's Optional

The 5% Nerf/Buff went live today for ICC. Basically you receive 5% more HP, Healing Done, and Damage done. This will be a great boost for those guilds that are 'almost there', and will hopefully let everyone see more content.

For those that want to beat the content without the nerf (This is for Bob Turkey)....


That's right, you can talk to your respective faction mate, and you can turn off the buff. It also isn't in place for hard modes.

So to those crying about it being nerfed too soon, turn it off and quit your crying.

To those that PUG ICC - your life just got a little bit easier.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Not a Cata post

Spend two minutes on the blogroll today and you’re likely to find 87 posts talking about the announced Cataclsym changes. I’m not going to repost them here for three big reasons.

1) You can find them somewhere else in about 30 seconds.

2) We have no clue if/when they will go live with Cata.

3) They don’t do anything for me today.

I’m not alone

It seems like I’m not the only one who thinks that the new Holy Paladin columnist at was the wrong bloke for the gig. Kurn, over at Kurn’s Corner, has some pretty substantial rants about Mr. Christian – you should check them out for yourself. I had considered applying for the part, but since I was tanking full time I thought better of it. Having read some of his latest posts though, I really wish I had. I’m fairly certain that the only useful thing I took away from his posts was the mouseover macro.

You don’t need to be at 100%

Most raid/heroic damage is fairly predictable, especially if you’re using a boss mod and have any kind of situational awareness. There are also few bosses where the environmental/raid damage is so high that you don’t have any kind of breathing room whatsoever. Your average raider already sports 20k+ HP, so as long as they are topped off BEFORE the big nasty hits – they should be able to live long enough for a quick heal to get them safe.

That’s right – get them safe.

Let’s take Sindragosa for example. Throughout the fight raiders take assorted damage from debuffs – which conveniently show up on Grid (or your UF of choice I assume) so you can see who’s going to be taking a big spike when they fall off. You also probably have that one person who just can’t quite get far enough away from Sin during her pull in/AOE fun times. So what do you do?

Personally I use those moments for the following actions.

· Re-apply my judgement and get a free melee swing in for mana regen purposes.

· Refresh BoL and SS on the tank.

· Holy Shock anyone who is low, if I get a crit I’ll use my instant FoL on the tank to get a HoT rolling (if it’s falling off).

· Hold my mouse over our newest raider, just in case she’s a little slow on the run out.

During Phase 3, I don’t try and top off raiders. JoL and CH will take care of that. My only goal is to get them to the 60% range or so – generally one FoL. I use my raid frames to triage, and look for someone who has a significant number of Arcane Buffet stacks, because they could be in trouble.

So yeah – I don’t have a lot of different healing spells per-se, but my eyes are never still.

This is doubly true in heroics. Don’t pitch a fit because you’re at 80% health and you’re a DPS. I guarantee I’m more aware of your health status than you are. Oh, and warlocks who life tap? Make sure you attack my JoL target.

On Blogging the Guild Business

Tam got himself in trouble recently for airing his guild’s dirty laundry, and as a result found himself in a position where he felt the need to server xfer, change his name, and go back to being anonymous. I admire his desire to keep blogging, but I wouldn’t have gone that route. There are three bloggers in our guild of 11 people, and everyone knows about it. I’m not afraid to call someone out in a raid, and I’m not afraid to mention that someone is an idiot on my blog.

Just in case you were curious, I’m Amathalanea of on Bladefist (US). Come get some.

I will kill you if you flag

Another bit of drama, which I found particularly funny, was theerivs from A High Latency Life getting some guild agro for admitting he(she?) ganks people.

I agree with his statement “Red equals dead”, especially on our PvE server. I figure if you’re flagged, you’ve done so semi-volountarily. Either you accepted a PvP quest, ran through a PvP zone, or (as in the case of some poor Paladin I found outside Stonard) you accidently stumbled into it. Either way, you made a choice to flag up. Like those crybabies in WG who get up set that we fly in from high above to crash the party – “Nut up or shut up” (from Woody in Zombieland, but I also swiped this from theerivs post).

Now it’s a little tougher for me to do recently, since I was spec’d Holy/Holy – but I went out and got myself a PvP ret spec over the weekend and had some therapeutic face smashing in AB/WSG. I may suck at PvP, but damn if I don’t have a good time doing it. There’s something truly refreshing about getting a kill shot with a wrist rocket as a mage blinks away.

My point here is that you’ve either chosen to play on a PvP realm, chosen to PvP, or chosen to at least flag yourself. Don’t cry just because someone came and punched your face in.

Roll Need if you want it

I suppose this is just a reflex action, but I’ve been bitten enough times that I’ve considered making a macro for it. When the 3.3.3 notes were announced revealing that Frozo was going to swap your Frozen Orbs for something useful, the number of ninja-needers seemed to skyrocket. That’s fine, we can all roll need. I suppose that if I hit greed on something I was just asking to be taken advantage of. Of course I will also roll need on everything if the run meets any of the following conditions.

· If after declining to help out with any achievements, someone still tries to sneak one in there. Yes, I am that guy who will hop on a green drake in Occ the moment someone says “Everyone just get bronze”.

· Someone drops agro onto me (or the healer) after pulling it. Although if someone pulls agro off me while I’m tanking, I’ll usually toss them a mental salute.

· If I’m forced to put up with jerkwadiness. Yeah, I made that up.

Maybe I need to not run heroics for 6 hours while chain drinking pots of coffee. You tell me.

WTH is with Paladins and their buffs

So I get this whisper in a random heroic I’m healing (the tank is a fellow Paladin). “Wisdom please”. WTF? Wisdom? I look him over and sure enough, he’s not running Sanct on himself – but rather is running Kings. I politely remind him that Sanct gives him everything he needs from Kings (except that tiny bit of Agi) and that running that plus using Divine Plea will cover him – and of course he’d take less damage as well. His response? “I don’t want to use Divine Plea, it reduces the amount of healing I get from my JoL”.


Really? What do you think I’m here for, to hold your cloak?

Final note on guild drama

So Bladefist saw quite a bit of guild drama over the last few weeks. Our raiding alliance died, and they lost some of their top members to us and an Alliance guild. The top Horde 25 man guild fell apart, and the #1/#2 Alliance guild transferred to Proudmore. We upgraded to another guild (Seriously Everkill, killing the relationship was a blessing to us) for our “PUG” 25s – and smoked through 7/12 ICC in about 3 hours. Not bad for a bunch of scrubs (us, not them – those guys were pretty danged awesome).

It may be time to evaluate forming a 25man again to push for the server first 25m Arthas kill. We’ll have to see if my blood-pressure and liver can take it.

Tomorrow – HL vs FoL and INT vs SP