Note: these are changes I want to see. As far as I know, none of them have been officially announced.

  • Druid travel form is usable indoors. (Guys, really, we can use it throughout the entirety of Undercity but not in the windrider tower in Thunder Bluff?)
  • Milling is migrated from Inscription to Herbalism. Pigments get more uses than just making ink.
  • Low-level cooking recipes provide a larger range of benefits. (Right now it’s +Stamina/+Spirit or, occasionally, +MP5 until the Outland foods.)
  • Basic food and drink are rescaled so that characters just before the next level of consumables don’t have to drink twice.
  • Players can rearrange characters on the character select screen.
  • Battle.net account-based chat allows for external clients like iChat and Digsby.
  • Zones have seasonal weather. Rain in Elwynn in the summer, snow in the winter.
  • Each of the capital cities offers a tabard starting at level 15 that allows the character to gain reputation for kills in instances.
  • Using the “Teleport Into Instance” option takes you to the group’s position, not to the start of the instance. (Or is that just me?)
  • GREEN FIRE Buffing someone who’s flagged for PVP and not in combat no longer flags you for PVP.

What do you want to see change in Cataclysm? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

 

This is part of my “Anyone Can Heal” series, aimed at new healers – priests in particular – or those who have never healed before and are thinking of trying it out.

I’ve been spending a bunch of time lately on my baby resto druid. I’ve chosen to level her almost exclusively through the Dungeon Finder (I do quests largely when they come up in dungeons, when they’re dungeon quests that I happen to run across or that someone shares, or when I need only a few percent to reach an even-numbered level), and so I’ve done a lot of PUGging over the last few days. There have been some good PUGs and some bad PUGs, but I’ve always tried to keep the principles of Anyone Can Heal in mind. So I smile, take a lot of deep breaths, and do the best I can, even though healing as a druid is strange to me (even after 14 levels of instances, I can’t get used to not having Prayer of Mending or Power Word: Shield, but I love being able to root enemies that try to run in fear). Tonight, I had two PUG experiences that I wanted to share, in the spirit of Anyone Can Heal. (This is going to be kind of long, so please bear with me.)

The Hunter

In the first, I was brought in as a substitute healer. The first healer had bailed after he zoned into Gnomeregan and saw that the tank was 24 and none of the DPS was above 28; apparently he’d said something about “these noobs” not being ready for Gnomer. At level 27 myself, I didn’t see much of a problem with it. (In fact, we completed the instance without any character deaths.) As soon as I was finished buffing and drinking, the tank pulled Viscous Fallout, and when we killed him, the Acidic Walkers dropped. They’re not leather and the nature resistance is a little blah, but they were a significant upgrade over what I had (Barbaric Cloth Boots – resto druid itemization really sucks at early levels!), so I rolled Need on them.

So did the hunter. And he won.

I didn’t make any fuss about it – no use in getting upset over an item. But one of the DPS said “hey, you still haven’t explained why you’re rolling Need on items that aren’t good for you”. The hunter didn’t respond. We kept going. I started paying attention to what the hunter was doing, though. He was pulling when the tank had stopped for whatever reason (usually for me to drink. This was a very conscientious tank and, despite being 24, very good; I complimented him on it at the end). The hunter hadn’t disabled Growl on his pet. He wasn’t drinking when he ran out of mana, just standing and waiting for it to regenerate. When Electrocutioner Leg dropped, he rolled Need on that, too, and both the other DPS started grumbling. Someone said “don’t make me have to vote-kick you”, and at that point I whispered the tank and asked him to stop after the next pull. He very willingly obliged, and when all the mobs were dead I asked, in party chat: “[Hunter], I don’t mean to pass judgment with this question, I’m just asking: is this your first WOW character?”

It was. The hunter had just started playing within the last two weeks, although he was quick to point out that he’d been in instances before (“that’s where I got these pants!”). All of a sudden, the group’s attitude changed entirely – the universal response was now “oh, awesome – welcome to WOW!” And we sat down and spent ten minutes explaining WOW group etiquette and best practices – roll Need on the things you’re going to use right away and that have the right stats for you (and we explained what stats are best for hunters); turn off Growl so your pet won’t pull off the tank (and you turn off abilities by right-clicking on the pet bar); let the tank pull unless you and the tank are experienced with running together, so that he can control the positioning of the pull; and if you do get a mob attacking you, run to the tank so he can re-control it. And bring plenty of water and arrows – more than you think you’ll need, so you’ll be sure not to run out if something odd happens.

The rest of the instance went without a hitch, and the hunter gave nobody any more reason to grumble. At the end, I passed the hunter 5g so he didn’t have to feel poor or like he couldn’t afford water, arrows, or training – I don’t have any 80s on this server, so gold is harder to come by for my characters there than it might otherwise be, but I figured I could make 5g back pretty easily with gathering professions – and thanked him for coming along, and the rest of the players welcomed him to WOW again and wished him the best.

The Mage and the Paladins

My resto druid is level 29 now, so over the last few levels I’ve been in Gnomeregan a lot. This particular run, I came in at the beginning of the instance, and was the Dungeon Guide (my first time as a healer!). Apparently there’s a tactic for Horde groups in Gnomer that I’d never seen before: at the first turn, instead of running around the edge and going down the canonical pathway, you can instead go straight and jump off the ledge, landing on a giant gear at the base of the room. This takes off about 50% of your health if you hit the jump right. So we cleared the area at the top of the instance and jumped off.

Well, except for the paladin tank, whose connection glitched out during the jump. He remained running at the edge of the upper platform. We watched him run in place for a few minutes, and then he disappeared. His character icon was replaced by the “disconnected” lightning bolt, and the mage initiated a vote to kick. It passed (without my help), and we were without a tank. Meanwhile, the mage pulled Viscous Fallout: “ill tank lol”.

Mages are not very good at tanking, it turns out. I healed him to full, dropped Regrowth and Renew on myself, and swapped into bear form, stealing aggro from the mage and successfully tanking the boss (with the judicious application of a health potion and Lifebloom). The mage had some choice words for me about taking away his chance to tank, but we continued; I had a quest to turn in in the Clean Room (Grime-Encrusted Ring), so we headed that way. I HOT/pot tanked the troggs on the way, and in the middle of one group, another paladin tank appeared. He effortlessly pulled the troggs off me, and I went back to healing.

(We discovered, incidentally, why Horde groups prefer to jump down: the “safe room” is hostile to non-Allies. Good to know!)

Once we reached the clean room, the mage decided to express his displeasure with not being allowed to tank Viscous Fallout by running around and pulling every gnome in the room. I tossed a HOT on him and went back to the tank, who was picking up the gnomes as he could (one only has so many taunts) and tanking them centrally. The mage’s health was dropping, and he decided to start berating me for not healing him better: “heals” “HEALS” “GOD F$%^ING DAMMIT I TOLD U TO HEAL ME” “Y ARE U SUCH A FAIL HEALER, U NOT HEALING AT ALL”. When combat was over, he was unceremoniously vote-kicked. Again, I abstained, but only because the vote passed too quickly for me to do anything about it. We got a new mage in, who was quiet but knew her stuff – apparently Frost is the leveling spec now! – and we continued on.

In the face of the mage’s abuse – I was not the only one he’d yelled at in party chat – I decided to compensate and make the rest of the run as pleasant as possible. I normally make a point of congratulating people on leveling up and on particularly impressive displays of skill, but for this run, I went out of my way to be reassuring and kind, and to make people feel like they were appreciated. I complimented good DPS, offered suggestions, and guided the group through the instance (apparently none of them had had a group hold together beyond Electrocutioner 6000 before). At Electrocutioner 6000, one of the DPS had to drop group, and we pulled in another character who ended up being a tank (the previous tank having queued for tank/DPS). He switched over and the new tank (also a paladin) picked up on the tanking handily. We didn’t have another problem the entire night, and since nobody but me had been through the instance, I directed the tank in how to proceed, and continued to be supportive and gentle.

At the end of the instance, after we’d defeated Mekgineer Thermaplugg and the group was disbanding, the paladin who’d come in to replace the first tank sent me a whisper. “That was a really great run,” he said – capitals and spelling and all. “When I logged in and saw the mage, I thought this was going to suck, but it was the best PUG I’ve been in since I started playing this toon. Thank you so much for being the dungeon guide.” Then he dropped group before I could respond.

The Upshot

If you take nothing else away from Anything Can Heal, take this away: you have the power to change the dynamic of any group you’re in. If the hunter is screwing up and ninjaing your loot – maybe he’s new. If the mage is berating and belittling everybody in the group – maybe you can turn it around. You have the power and the opportunity to make your dungeon runs great for everybody else. All it takes is a good attitude and a willingness to give people a break.

(A postscript: That hunter from earlier, I discovered, is actually on my server. We got to talking after the instance. He really is a brand new player, and although he has a guild leader who’s helping him out, apparently that GL is not always the friendliest person. We’ve friended each other, and I plan on making sure that he has guidance when he needs it. I won’t be a crutch, but I can’t say no to being a teacher.)

 

As you know, Bob, since 3.3 we’ve had three options when we roll for loot: Need, Greed, and Disenchant. Disenchant only pops up if there’s an enchanter in the group who can do the actual disenchanting; if you’re above level 70, Need only pops up if you can use the item and it’s the correct armor class for your character. (That is, priests can’t roll Need on plate and paladins can’t roll Need on cloth.) Below 70, that rule doesn’t apply (as evidenced by the mage who rolled on leather Agility gloves in RFC tonight because he wanted the higher armor and wasn’t paying attention to the armor class).

In general, the idea is that if you can use the item, it’s an upgrade, and you’re going to equip it now or within a few levels or when you get it gemmed/enchanted, then you can roll Need. Otherwise, roll Greed or Disenchant. This post is about the latter situation.

There’s a lot of disagreement (if the groups I’ve been in have been any indication) about which to choose. A lot of people think that you always Disenchant if you have the option and you don’t need the item, but as my friend Jess (who has not started up her blog yet) points out, that’s not always the best way to go. Unless you’re the enchanter or are specifically saving up mats, the best thing for you to do is actually to find out what the going AH price is for enchanting mats and for items of the level you’re likely to be getting in the instances you’re running.

On our server we have a bit of an odd situation. We have an auction-house mogul (hi Otto!) who’s artificially inflating prices on green items Just Because He Can, assuming that anyone who’s buying greens is someone with an 80 and therefore loads of cash. (This pisses off those of us who don’t have 80s on that realm, because we don’t really have the cash influx that he’s assuming, and we’re the ones who need the gear.) At the same time, because there are so many people running so many instances, the price of low-level enchanting materials has crashed – Strange Dust can be had for 2 silver a stack, where the Huntsman’s Bracers of the Naked Mole Rat that would otherwise generate the Strange Dust is selling for 10-15g because of inflation.

In this situation, do you really want to Disenchant that green? Wouldn’t it be better to roll Greed and then sell it directly? Sure, the odds of a Huntsman’s Bracers of the Naked Mole Rat selling on the Auction House might be kind of low (I’m not sure what class needs +Strength/-Hair; maybe a tauren with a glandular problem), but if they do sell, you’re pocketing way more than you would with the enchanting mats. (Actually, in our situation there’s a third option: price the bracers really low. Otto trolls the AH looking for low-priced items that he can resell at a profit, and you’ll probably be able to hook him with a price around 1-2g. Lower price, but much better odds of selling.)

By the same token, if you know you won’t be able to sell an item – say, if it’s BOP – then go ahead and roll Disenchant, because at least the enchanting mats will sell for something!

TLDR: Don’t just hit Disenchant blindly on your loot rolls. Make sure you know what the market’s like before you assume that enchanting mats are always better than the greens they’re made from.

 

This is the second post in my “Anyone Can Heal” series, aimed at new healers – priests in particular – or those who have never healed before and are thinking of trying it out.

Perhaps you’re familiar with this scenario: You’re a nervous level-15 restoration druid. You have three healing spells – Healing Touch (your Big Heal), Rejuvenation (your Heal-Over-Time), and Regrowth (a mid-sized spell that heals a bit up-front and a bit over time). You just got Regrowth, and you’re not quite sure how it plays yet. You’ve got a handful of green items that you picked up on quests (and a lucky drop or two), but some of your gear is white and grey.

You zone into Ragefire Chasm to join your very first random instance group… and everybody else is in Heirloom gear and greens, with enchantments and a few blues scattered here and there. They’ve got the very best potions and buff food; you have two Lesser Mana Potions and a few Herb-Baked Eggs. At least you remembered to bring Ice Cold Milk – no, wait, there’s new water at level 15 but you forgot to pick some up. You manage to toss up Mark of the Wild on everybody and Thorns on the tank, click your own Thorns off, and sit down to drink – and the tank asks “r?”, one of the dps responds “r”, and the tank takes off and pulls without waiting to see that you’re at half mana. You don’t even have time to /sigh as you run off after the tank…*

Relax.

Everybody remembers their first time in a given role, even if they don’t want to admit it. Everyone you’re running with was new to their role themselves. (Many of them, in fact, probably still are.) Unfortunately, to a lot of players, there’s a loss of face associated with admitting that you don’t know everything. In the best case scenario, they can blame everyone else. When it’s clear that what happened is their fault, it’s better to let everyone else assume that they suck than to let everyone know that they don’t have experience.

Don’t be that guy. Tell people, straight out at the beginning of an instance, “Guys, I’m new to healing as a resto druid [or whatever], so please cut me some slack and forgive me if I make mistakes.” Below is an all-purpose macro for it, so you don’t even have to type it out; just hit it at the beginning of every instance until you’re comfortable healing.

/script SendChatMessage(“Guys, I’m new to healing as a “..UnitClass(“player”)..”, so please cut me some slack and forgive me if I make mistakes.”,”PARTY”);

The truth is, people hate saying that they’re inexperienced because they feel like they’re the only ones. It’s hard to zone into an instance and see that everyone else is higher-level than you, with better gear and enchantments, and easy to assume that you’re the only one who doesn’t know what you’re doing. But in my experience, when you say “okay, I’m new at this so please cut me some slack”, the vast majority of the time, the rest of your party will say “it’s cool, we’ll throttle down” or “don’t worry, I haven’t tanked before either”. They will cut you some slack.

The only way to get experience is to get experience.

Tautologies aside, the point of this is to get you comfortable healing. By saying “I don’t really know what I’m doing” at the beginning, you give yourself some slack – the permission to not be perfect. Screw-ups happen; we just do our best to minimize them. And the more times you mess up, the less you’ll mess up in the future. Just breathe, don’t forget to smile, and pretty soon you’ll be comfortable enough that you can change your macro:

/script SendChatMessage(“Just for the record, I remember being a new “..UnitClass(“player”)..”. We’re all here to have fun, and we’ll cut you some slack if you make mistakes. Don’t worry; just do your best.”,”PARTY”);

And all of a sudden, you’re the confident one in the great gear who’s being the beacon of hope and the pillar of strength to everyone else in the party.

* This was me on Sunday night. Just for the record.

 

This is the first post in a new series, “Anyone Can Heal”, aimed at new healers – priests in particular – or those who have never healed before and are thinking of trying it out.

It’s really tempting to judge the other players in your group, especially as a healer. It’s understandable, too. Everybody does dumb things; we just tend to exaggerate the dumb things of others and downplay our own, so eventually, in our minds, everyone else is a moron and we’re the only good players in the group. (There’s no shame in feeling like this – it happens to everybody. We even get pissed off at our friends when we’re grouped with them – and sometimes when we’re not – because we privately exaggerate their mistakes.) It’s even easier to feel like this when you’re in a bad mood, which can result from other people’s mistakes – or perceived mistakes. The tank misses a mob and you get healing aggro, or the DPS is late on interrupting a silence effect, and all of a sudden the group is horrible and the instance is a waste of time. You just want to get your badges and get the fuck out.

The trouble is, your mood determines your performance. If you’re pissed off, you’re going to make mistakes, and you’re not going to heal as well as you could. You’ll target the wrong person with Greater Heal, and all of a sudden the tank’s at 20% and the rogue just got a face full of healing he didn’t need. You’ll hit Flash Heal instead of Penance, and your target won’t get enough healing. Worse, perhaps, is that you’ll start ignoring people who piss you off. DPS didn’t interrupt that silence in time? Fine, he gets no healing until he learns. Tank failed to grab a mob? We’ll see how he feels when you won’t heal him above 50%. Your healing gets worse, and everybody’s mood gets worse, and at the end of the instance – assuming nobody’s quit the group out of frustration – you disband the group and vow never to run with any of those people again. Maybe part of you realizes that they’re saying the same thing about you, but honestly, you’re probably telling yourself that you were the only good player in the group, and wondering how the other players even managed to level their characters.

All because someone made a mistake.

Herein lies the first lesson of being a good healer:

Smile.

You know that being in a bad mood can hurt your healing ability. It stands to reason (and psychology backs it up) that being in a good mood will improve your healing. When you’re happy, you make fewer mistakes, and you’re more forgiving and less resentful. What may not be self-evident is that, as scientists are finding, smiling actually improves your mood. A smile isn’t just a reflection of your current happiness; the act of smiling actually reduces tension, improves your mood (because you feel like you should be happy if you’re smiling), and – according to research – releases endorphins into your bloodstream. Endorphins relieve pain and cause a sense of well-being, so by smiling, you’re actively making yourself feel better.

And we know that the better you feel, the better you’ll heal.

Smile every time you get a chance, but make a specific effort at these times:

  • At the beginning of the instance, while people are buffing up
  • Any time you sit to drink
  • Before each boss pull
  • After the last boss pull

It’s easy: just put a smile on your face (you’re looking at the screen, nobody can see you!), breathe deeply – in through the nose, out through the mouth, if you can – and count to ten. Then go back to the game. You’ll be a happier healer, and a happier healer is a better healer.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave them in the comments section below!

 

We know two things:

  • Warriors are getting Heroic Leap, an ability that lets them jump directly to a target and automatically cause a Thunder Clap effect to all nearby targets, thereby generating snap AOE aggro.
  • Priests are getting Leap of Faith, an ability that lets them pull an ally (in their party or raid group) back to them from up to 30 yards away.

This cannot be a coincidence.

I can see it now: the warrior Heroic Leaps to a group of mobs and aggros all of them, not just by body pulling but with Thunderclap. As soon as the Thunderclap lands, the priest uses Leap of Faith to bring the warrior back to the group, safely away from patrols and other mobs that might be close enough to body-pull if the warrior were to tank in place.

If Mind Vision counts as line of sight, a priest might even be able to pull a warrior safely to a hidden corner so that caster mobs would have to come running. (Even if it doesn’t, all it takes is the priest ducking out for a moment.)

Heroic Leap and Leap of Faith will be a revolution in pulling techniques, I’m telling you.

What do you think?

 

The notes are here if you haven’t seen them yet. WOW.com has a run-down of the highlights. The following are just my thoughts on the proposed changes.

  • Heal: I’ve never really understood why Blizzard has chosen to make healing spells progress like this. We start with Lesser Heal, get Heal at 16, and get Greater Heal around 40 if I’m remembering correctly. Every time we go up a step, the previous step becomes useless (less healed for the same amount of mana). Mages don’t have Lesser Fireball, Fireball, and Greater Fireball; why are healing spells stacked this way? Regardless, it’s nice to see some more granularity in the healing spells available to level-capped priests.
  • Mind Spike: You might remember a variant on this ability used by various voidwalkers and similarly-aspected creatures in Outland. (I’m thinking in particular about the voidwalkers around Oshu’gun in Nagrand.) This is useful for Shadow priests who – as they said – don’t have time to set up a rotation or who are locked out of Shadow spells (since it’s Shadowfrost, it won’t be stymied by school-lock mechanics). But as a baseline spell (it shows up at level 81 and they’ve said they’re not extending the talent trees beyond 51 points), it’ll also be useful to Disc and Holy priests in similar situations – it has a faster cast time than Mind Blast (and no cooldown) and no self-damage component like Shadow Word: Death, so we’ll be able to use it to DPS when we’ve been school-locked.
  • Inner Will: This is going to be fabulous for raiding Disc priests. We’ll be much more mobile and we’ll have mana reductions on many of our key mitigation spells (PW:S and Pain Suppression, I’m looking at you). Based on this, I suspect that we’ll be seeing more talents and glyphs that remove the cast time of some our healing spells as well. (“When your Penance critically heals a friendly target, your next Heal has a chance to become instant-cast.”)
  • Leap of Faith: It’s like Death Grip for friendlies. Here is where I’m going to deviate from the general healing population: if you are outright refusing to heal someone because they’re standing in a ground effect, you are a bad healer. Placing them lower on the priority list? Sure. It’s their responsibility to get out. But it’s your responsibility to heal the group. If you won’t do that, you shouldn’t be healing. We’ve come to a point in WOW where a lot of healers are saying “I’m just healing the tank, the DPS are on their own”, which is patently ridiculous. (Yes, I know I’ve been guilty of saying this myself sometimes. Shame on me.) Leap of Faith is a mitigation tool when someone’s standing in the fire; it’s like Power Word: Shield, except that it won’t run out. Added bonus: Leap of Faith + Inner Will = nobody ever has to do Frogger again.
  • HOTs and DOTs will now benefit from haste and crit by default. This is cause for celebration, but I wonder: is this limited to priests, or is it a general change? And will Shadowform get a different bonus since it’s losing the haste/crit bonus?
  • The changes to Spirit buffs – removing Divine Spirit, and making Blessing of Kings and Mark of the Wild not affect spirit – feel kludgy to me. Why not just drop Spirit entirely and go to straight MP5/HP5?
  • We want to improve Discipline’s single-target healing capacity.” Um. What does Blizzard know that I don’t about Disc priests’ ability to heal a single target well? “You’re awesome, and we want to make you totally awesome.”
  • Power Word: Barrier: Finally. I’ve been waiting for this since the Wrath beta!
  • Shadow Orbs (part of Shadow mastery): this looks like a cool mechanic. Wait for the minor Glyph to turn the orbs into ravens.

What are your thoughts? Leave me a note in the comments!

 

As you can see, I haven’t changed over to Heirlooms and a Prayer. Yes, it was a joke. But I’ve wanted to get the new blog theme up and running before I posted again, and for various reasons that’s taken longer than I thought it would, so it’s only today that I’ve been able to admit to the joke!

The funny thing is, I am actually going to be talking about more than Disc priesting here from now on; I really do have a bunch of non-priest alts at various levels and I’ve been playing them a lot, so I have a bunch to say about paladins and rogues in particular.

But the main point of this post is to point out the new blog theme! It’s based around an image that I commissioned from the lovely Baenhoof of my priest Theande. (If you’d like to commission work from Baen, now’s the time – she’s shutting down commissions once she reaches a total of 10 on her wait list!) This is a preliminary version; I’m not entirely sold on the colors and layout, but I like the basic idea. Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

Duct Tape and a Prayer started last year when I decided to spin the World of Warcraft posts from my original blog, Lost in Translation, off onto their own site. The people who were interested in my WOW posts often weren’t interested in the rest of my blog, and the people who were interested in the rest of my blog didn’t care about the WOW posts, so it seemed like a natural move. So on February 8, 2009, I migrated the WOW-themed posts from LIT to my new blog, Duct Tape and a Prayer. Since, at the time, I was mainly focusing on my healing priest Theande, I was also mostly writing about healing, and so the theme of the blog was obvious – I’d talk about healing, and priests, and occasionally other WOW stuff when it came to mind.

Since then, though, I’ve stopped raiding as much. Part of it is a desire to spend more time with my family, and part of it is that I have dangerously high blood pressure and an anxiety disorder, both only very recently diagnosed, and I’ve been instructed to not spend all my time in front of a computer. So when I have played WOW, I’ve been focusing on other characters. I have a death knight at 72 – a friend and I just did Wrathgate last night. My paladin, Rolastra, is now 43 and rising quickly. My rogue Tiryns is 52. I have a hunter in her mid-30s (and another, long-neglected hunter at 64). And last night, it all came to a head. I realized that I wasn’t healing because I was sick of healing. It’s just whack-a-mole with Grid and mouseover macros instead of a foam-rubber mallet, and frankly the foam-rubber mallet is at least satisfying. Healing doesn’t hold a candle to the tense excitement of tanking, or to the gratifying “thunk” as your DPS’s weapon collides with the boss’s ass.

In fact, I’m so committed to not healing anymore that I’ve wiped the slate clean. I’m thumbnailing this for your sake; click on it to get the full image.

So because of that, and in honor of Baenhoof finishing my commissioned portrait of Theande, and because Easter is coming up and it’s a time for renewal, and because the first of the month seems like a symbolically good time to make changes, from now on, Duct Tape and a Prayer will be no more. Instead, you’ll be reading Heirlooms and a Prayer, which is all about leveling alts (well, I guess I don’t have a main anymore, so leveling characters) and then sending their heirloom gear off to more characters when I’ve gotten them to 80. It’s about a journey, from 1-80 on as many characters as I can manage. (+20% XP doesn’t hurt!) But mostly, it’s about never fucking healing again, no matter what.

(Hell, my paladin doesn’t even have Holy Light on her action bars.)

Come back tomorrow for the new and exciting Heirlooms and a Prayer!

 

Since according to my search results, you really want to know what I think about this…

3.3.3 changed the 4-piece set bonus for the Sanctified Crimson Acolyte’s Raiment, the healing priest Tier 10 set. Before the change, the set bonus was:

  • (4) Set: Your Circle of Healing and Penance spells have a 20% chance to cause your next Flash Heal cast within 6 sec to reset the cooldown on your Circle of Healing and Penance spells.

Now it’s:

  • (4) Set: Increases the effect of Power Word: Shield by 5% and Circle of Healing by 10%.

This is a pretty significant change, and one which a lot of priests are bemoaning; where the old version rewarded tactical use of cooldowns and variety of spell use, the new bonus just provides a passive bonus, and rewards spamming.

First, let’s be honest: this is continuing in Blizzard’s current trend of making content accessible to more people. The people who like the old bonus and who are bemoaning the new one are the ones who would have gotten T10 first – but there are a whole lot of players who are going to be getting at least four pieces of T10 who don’t have the tactical skill to make good use of the original bonus. To them, the new version of the bonus is a better bonus, simply because it doesn’t require as much thought; they can put more of their attention toward healing the people who need healing (or shielding the people who need shielding), instead of having to worry about whether their 20% proc rate went off.

What’s curious to me about the bonus is that while Holy priests get a bonus to a spec-defining talent (Circle of Healing), Disc priests get a bonus to a baseline ability. Any priest can benefit from the bonus to Power Word: Shield; only Holy priests will benefit from the 10% COH buff. I suspect that’s why the PW:S buff is only half of the COH buff: it’s more generally usable. It’s also on a shorter cooldown than COH is – in fact, for Discipline priests, it’s on a global cooldown, which means that this buff is just promoting the view of Disc priests as bubble spammers.

Mostly I’m just disappointed in this change. I’ve long believed that tier gear should be the best gear available for a given class and spec (and I’m aware of the argument that “then we’d just have everyone of a given class looking the same”, to which I say: given the prevalence of players relying on Elitist Jerks and Best In Slot lists to tell them what they Have To Equip, we have that anyway). If tier gear were the best gear available, the set bonuses would be icing on the cake – and because they wouldn’t be necessary to entice characters to wear the gear, they could (and should) be interesting. In fact, tier gear used to be that way – check out the Vestments of Transcendence, the priest Tier 2 set, whose set bonuses included “When struck in melee there is a 50% chance you will Fade for 4 seconds”. By changing the T10 set bonus from an interesting bonus to a purely utilitarian bonus, Blizzard is sending a message that they don’t consider tier set bonuses to be icing on the tier-set cake; they’re a necessary part of the gear, and necessary to entice players to get the gear.

A Duct Tape post about gear wouldn’t be complete without some numbers, so here you go.

  • Circle of Healing, without any other modifiers, heals for 958-1058 per target. Its spell power coefficient is 40.29%; I think 2800 spell power is a reasonable number to go with for a priest in T10, so that adds another 1128 (2800 * .4029) to the spell, giving us an average per-target heal of 2136. An additional 10% to that is about 2350 per target, for a gain of about 1068 healing every 6 seconds.
  • Power Word: Shield, without any other modifiers, absorbs 2230 damage. Its coefficient is 80.57%; the aforementioned spell power adds another 2256 absorption, yielding an average per-target shield that absorbs 4486 damage. With the set bonus, that’s 4710 absorption, or an additional 224 every 4 seconds. Discipline priests, however, have not only a 15% bonus to PW:S but a shield that can be cast once per GCD – that is, once per second for a properly-hasted Disc priest. (This is, I admit, a little unfair to Holy priests, since I’m denying them the benefit of Divine Providence and other talents. The problem is that while Circle of Healing doesn’t have a prerequisite – only any other 40 points in Holy – Soul Warding, which gives the cooldown reduction to PW:S, requires Improved PW:S, which gives the +15% bonus. So I have to include Imp PW:S to get the once-per-GCD shield, but strictly speaking, it’s possible to have Circle of Healing without any talents that give it bonuses.) That 4486 damage absorbed becomes 5159 damage with the 15% bonus, and the tier bonus brings it up to 5417, or 258 extra absorption every second. If the priest is bubble spamming, that’s 1547 extra damage absorbed every 6 seconds.

In other words, even though the PW:S bonus is smaller, the actual effect – assuming that all you’re doing is casting PW:S every chance you get – is about 45% larger than the bonus Holy gets. If we assume that Blizzard wants the bonuses to even out, then we can safely guess that they think that Discipline priests are casting Power Word: Shield roughly once every other spell. That seems to match with the popular perception of Discipline priests, and therefore with how (we can assume) most of the non-high-end Discipline priests are playing – which again points to the conclusion that Blizzard is trying to open the tier gear up to less hardcore players.

I’m not really sure how I feel about that, in the end. Yes, I’d like the tier gear to be the best gear available. But since it’s not, there’s a significant part of me that’s pleased that a larger portion of the player base has access to it. After all, tier gear isn’t really a sign of elitism if the elitists are going to be wearing something else.