On boxes for Toys – Thoughts on Toyboxes in Warlords

This is my toybox. It’s traveled across Europe and the UK and is currently housed in our attic. These days it no longer holds toys but it’s one of those pieces of furniture which encapsulates so much about my childhood, I don’t see myself ever managing to throw it out. I’ve hidden inside it, turned it into a massive dolls house and stored my study notes for my degree in it. It currently holds winter clothes and is just waiting for me to finish scrapping off all those stickers.

Therefore it’s perhaps not a huge surprise that one of the things I’m most interested in with the Warlords Alpha is Blizzard’s long promised toy box. So far we have only seen screen caps but just having a fraction of the items currently littering up my bags safely stored elsewhere can only be a massive upgrade for the game. I did a bit of testing across various characters and discovered that I have far too many bag slots taken up by vanity items, with the vast majority of Snowflower’s bank slots being consumed by items like Gnomeregan Pride and Direbrew’s remote. On Dulcamara alone, my Monk made a year ago I have over 16 slots filled with fun but mostly pointless stuff.  Obviously until the game goes live and we get the final list, we can’t be sure how many of these items will vanish from our bags but I’ve reached the point where I’ll be grateful for any returned bag slots.

The other reason I’m looking forward to this feature is a slightly more practical one, there are plenty of these items out there, whether quest rewards or random drops that I might not know about and having a handy list whilst taking that serendipitous feeling out of acquiring things, helps ensure you track down everything you are interested in.

Obviously this is still the Alpha and we are potentially along away off the final toybox, I would like to see quest rewards like Jin Warmkeg’s Brew and the Cooking School Bell make it onto the list. However having a place to store all the Archaeological items and the items from the Timeless Isle will be a massive advantage alone. I’m also glad that items like the Mushroom Chair from Cataclysm and the Rituals of the New Moon from Wrath have also made the box because it would have been too easy just to put in bits and bobs from MoP onwards. The fact that the first engineering transportation trinkets have made the list gives me hope that the rest will follow suit and with any luck between now and launch, we can work with Blizzard to put together a comprehensive list of things which should be tucked away in the toybox.

A complete list of items encluded so far can be found in this thread on MMO-Champion or here on WoWhead.

A Holy Priest’s Thoughts on the Alpha Information Overload

Having given myself time to take in and digest the Blizzard released and the data mined Holy Priest changes, I have to admit I’m feeling pretty positive about Holy Priests going forward into Draenor. Yes, everything is subject to change but there are some definitely well overdue positive notes in amongst the lists of information released so far.

Changes to Chakra

I think this change is long outstanding but if I’m being honest, I’d argue that it doesn’t go far enough. There is still a penalty for being in the “wrong” chakra, albeit a much reduced one. The addition of the new “perk” will help, after all that’s why I hate switching from my PvP gear to PvE because I miss the reduced cooldown on chakras but if Blizzard want us to be constantly and actively switching depending on the fight, then they need to make that as hassle free as possible. In my ideal world, chakras would lose both the glittery “I’m a Holy Priest, come spank me with your over sized sword” look and ditch the healing increases to single target/aoe at the same time. On that topic, I’d sell someone’s soul for the ability to glyph away from disco lights around my feet, if the Boomkins can do it… why can’t we. What about red, yellow or blue wings depending on your chakra or halos? Something delicate and subtle not smack you in the face and ruin your screenshots brash.

  • Chakra: Serenity now increases healing of single-target spells by 10% (down from 25%).
  • Holy Word: Serenity now heals for 40% more than before.
  • Chakra: Sanctuary now increases healing of area-of-effect spells by 10% (down from 25%).
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary now heals for 60% more than before.
  • Rapid Renewal no longer reduces the global cooldown of Renew.

Quality of Life Changes

  • Prayer of Mending from multiple Priests can now be on the same target, and can be on multiple targets from the same Priest.
  • Angelic Feather, if cast on players, will always prefer the casting priest over others, then pick the player closest to the targeted location. If there are no players where it is targeted, it will still create a feather that can be picked up, as before. Additionally, when collecting multiple feathers, the duration will be extended, instead of replaced.

These two make me oh so happy. I can’t believe it’s taken so long for the former to be added to the game but will make a massive change to any raid with multiple priests.

Changes to capping

  • Halo and Divine Star now follow standard AoE capping rules.

The thought of seeing Divine Star no longer hitting all 40 people awaiting the gates of AV opening makes me slightly sad but I know it’s a needed change.

No Longer Instant Cast

  • Prayer of Mending
  • The level 90 talents, Cascade, Divine Star and Halo.

I can’t say I’m particularly concerned about these particular spells gaining cast times. The first Prayer of Mending tends to go out before combat begins anyway and fitting subsequent ones into a routine shouldn’t prove hard.

Removed Altogether Spells

  • Divine Fury has been removed. (Made obsolete by the removal of hit)
  • Heal although just to confuse things Greater Heal is now going to be known as Heal.
  • Holy Nova (Becoming Disc only)
  • Hymn of Hope – I think we should throw a party for the removal of this one. If Blizzard wanted us standing still whilst we channeled to regain mana, they should have left the five second rule alone.
  • Shadow word Death – becoming available only for Shadow Priests. There was a time when I would have been heartbroken from a PvP perspective but they’ve changed this spell around so much anyway…. plus we might be getting a “glyph” to do much the same thing.
  • Void Shift – I’m a bit surprised at this one only last one expansion but then we already have Guardian Spirit as an “eek” cooldown.
  • Inner Fire – Out of all of these spells, this is the one I’m saddest to see bite the dust. I suspect I know why it’s going but still I almost hope it’s baked into the class. I know there is something fundamentally wrong about cloth wearers having more armour than monks/druids in leather but priests don’t have the same level of mobility and with the cutting back on instant casts it’s all a trade off.
  • Inner Will – Can’t say I used this much once the glow from the first few weeks of Cataclysm receded. 
  • Pys-fiend – This talent is being replaced by Fear which will no longer be baseline. There were some excellent uses for this, namely placing to fear people into the Alterac Valley boss room when they weren’t quite ready but then Spectral Guise and Fear works just as well. Everyone is going to lose some CC and out of that particular tier of talents, this would be my choice to go as it almost mirrors a spell we already have, especially compared to mind control and void tendrils. 

 

New Additions

Glyphs – These are the ones which right now claim to be available for Holy Priests. Again the labeling may change as the testing progresses.

I can’t say I’m squealing with anticipation for any of these but then my love affair with glyphs died ages ago. I keep forgetting to switch them and then bemoaning the fact that I don’t have x or y for a specific activity. For PvP, I do rather like the idea of Shadow Magic assuming it A. makes it to the live game and B. is available for healers.  Redeemer I will be refusing to learn on principle because glyphs to improve my performance once dead offend me by existing.

Level 100 Talents

The first thing I love about the 90 talents is that they’re different depending on your spec. These are the Holy versions.

wordsofmending
clarityofpurpose

savinggrace

I particularly find the idea of the last one interesting, given that it appears to be a trade off. Sure, you’ve got an instant “eek” spell but there are consequences for spamming it. Perhaps rather than reducing the number of instant cast spells, that’s how they should all work, cast too much and suffer for it.

Perks

The datamined lists from both WoWhead and MMO Champion for Holy Perks appear the same. Therefore I can only imagine that Penance is a place holder for Holy. These spells which we’re randomly going to gain on the road to 100 are purely there to boost our existing spells. Out of all these my favourite has to be Enhanced Chakras which personally I feel should be baseline anyway but given that it’s not, I’m glad the current 4 piece PvP bonus is staying on in a renamed fashion. The one aspect of these perks I really don’t like and I know it’s temporary is that we’ll gain them in a random fashion en route to 100.

 

PvP Thoughts

Happy Moments.

  • All players now have a 100% chance to hit, 0% chance to be dodged, 3% chance to be parried, and 0% chance to glance, when fighting creatures up to 3 levels higher (bosses included).

We  might be able to glyph to break certain types of CC.

Concerns

Holy will no longer have any way of stopping multiple enemies from capping flags as Holy Nova won’t be available to the spec and our level 90 talents won’t do damage. Yes, we’ll have fear if we talent for it but that’s got too much of a cooldown to much use.

  • CascadeDivine Star, and Halo no longer heal allies but are instant cast for Shadow Priests, or damage enemies for Discipline or Holy Priests.

General Thoughts

Couple this lot with the changes to Healing in general and yes it’s going to be an interesting road ahead but I don’t see anything here which has me going “What are they thinking?” I know a lot of people are still scarred by those first months of Cataclysm but by the same token, the amount of healing certain abilities and spells were spitting out was ridiculous. Not to mention, even playing as  a Healer, the amount of sheer health certain classes could put whilst running around in circles is frustrating when you’re trying to kill them.

After all, it should be hard to argue with statements like

 We want players to use multi-target heals, but they should only be better than their single-target equivalents when they heal more than two players without any overhealing. This way, players will face an interesting choice between whether to use a single-target heal or a multi-target heal based on the situation.

and

However, we still want healers to think about their mana when deciding which heal to cast, and so the mana costs and throughputs of many spells are being altered to give players a choice between spells with lower throughput and lower cost versus spells with higher throughput and higher costs. 

Whether they’ll manage to balance this across all five healer classes still remains to be seen but mostly I’m pretty positive at this point. Sure it’s impossible to know until we actually start testing but we’ve always survived before.

All information pulled from MMO-Champion, Blizzard and WoWhead.

Stand by Me: Thoughts on Instant Casts in Warlords

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
All the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No, I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

From  the song Stand by Me.

I know Blizzard are going to be posting a blog post about the up coming Healing changes either later today or tomorrow but thought I’d throw in a quick post about potential changes first partly because I drafted it a week ago and also because wild speculation is always fun.

This post was sparked by a comment of Prinnie’s

But now, apparently, the WoD thinking is, “CASTING WHILE MOVING IS BAD.”

which only took firm hold in my head later on when I read this on MMO-Champion.

Raid encounters will have more interesting mechanics for healers, allowing them to avoid the boredom that comes with just spamming the same skill over and over.

I must admit these two so innocent looking sentences when added together have me considering a whole new career as some sort of dpser. For interesting mechanics my mind wanders back to Instructor Razuvious and that sinking feeling I’d get whenever we entered Naxxramas, made ten times worse by the memory of the night where I effectively had to solo tank him due to our other Priest’s mindcontrol deciding not to work whilst our raid was working on Immortality. I think of General Vexaz, a fight I hated as a Holy Priest and who can forget Leotheras the Blind and his inner demons which were a whole lot of pain to kill as healers and of course I think of vehicle fights in general.

Now I’m not denying the days of being able to spam Circle of Healing and win were boring in the extreme but I also don’t know many healers who like having the success or failure of raid depend on their ability to deal with “interesting mechanics”. I know we lost healers in Wrath over mindcontrol and also over tank cooldowns because they couldn’t cope with the fallout of timing it wrong and being yelled at by our angry raid leader, they just wanted to stand at the back and heal.

In a conversation with my Guild Master the other day, the phrase “interesting times” was used  and certainly with every detail which drips out,  it seems accurate in the extreme.

In terms of casting on the move:

Holy Priests

  • Holy word: Chastise or Holy Word: Serenity (depending on Chakra state)
  • Renew
  • Power word: Shield
  • Cascade or Divine Star or Halo (Talents)
  • Prayer of Mending
  • Circle of Healing
  • Power word: Solace
  • Desperate Prayer or Spectral Guise (Talents)
  • Levitate
  • Holy Nova (Glyph)
  • Guardian Spirit
  • Shadowfiend
  • Power Infusion (Talent)
  • Void Tendrils or Pysfiend (Talents)
  • Angelic Feather (Talents)
  • Shadow word: Pain
  • Fear
  • Void Shift
  • Dispel
  • Purify
  • Leap of Faith

That’s 21 abilities that depending on my talents and glyph choices I could cast whilst running for my life. Out of that list, I currently have access to 19 (don’t have angelic feathers or power infusion on my Holy Priest) and 9 of them are ways in which I can increase the health pool of other people. Is that too many? Perhaps, I would definitely see no harm in adding a half second cooldown to the level 90 talents. There is probably room for Prayer of Healing and Circle of Healing to merged in some way, perhaps by making Prayer of Healing smart rather than having the party limitation and adding a small cooldown to stop it being spammed. When you’re AoE healing you are unlikely to being either of the instant cast Chakra power words, so they are fine. Tank cooldowns like Guardian Spirit and Void Shift I feel should be instant cast as they should be reactive not cast at x percentage of the way through the fight. The same is true of Leap of Faith, especially from a PvP perspective. Void tendrils/Pysfiend/Fear don’t really have raid uses and shadow word: pain isn’t likely to kill anyone. Holy Nova is little more than a gimmick, I have it because it’s still useful for finding stealths in PvP as well as stopping people tagging flags.

So in terms of what is useful in healing most aoe raid encounters we’re looking at:

  • Renew
  • Cascade or Divine Star or Halo
  • Prayer of Mending
  • Circle of Healing
  • Guardian Spirit
  • Void Shift
  • Shadowfiend
  • Power Solace if talented but the others require a lot less time management

which is a much shorter instant cast list.

I’m not going to do a comparison for every Healing Class, but thought I’d have a brief look at what’s available to a couple of other classes that I play.

Resto Druid

  • Rejuvation
  • Lifebloom
  • Swiftmend
  • Wild Growth
  • Ysera’s Gift/ Renewal/Cenarion Ward (Talents)
  • Wild Mushrooms
  • Wild Mushroom’s Bloom
  • Moonfire
  • Faerie Fire
  • Barkskin
  • Ironbark
  • Wild Charge
  • Nature’s Swiftness
  • Nature’s Cure
  • Innervate
  • Disorienting Roar/Ursol’s Vortex/Mighty Bash (Talents)
  • Stampeding Roar
  • Force of Nature (if Talented for)
  • Mass Entanglement/Typhoon (Depending on Talent choices)
  • Soothe
  • Nature’s Grasp

I deliberately tried to avoid anything which required cat or bear form but that still left me with 21 instant cast spells from the Druid. Like the Holy Priest a good few of those are utility spells and many match up, for example I suspect shadowfiend is instant cast because innervate always has been. Mass Entanglement too might be further down the tree than Void Tendrils but the two spells are very similar in every way apart from graphics. Of these stampeding roar and nature’s grasp definitely shouldn’t have cast times in my opinion as this negates their purpose, i.e. helping you escape.

Mistweaver Monk

  • Healing Spheres
  • Chi Wave/Zen Sphere (Talents)
  • Renewing Mist
  • Detox
  • Paralysis
  • Nimble Brew
  • Expel Harm
  • Thunder Focus Tea
  • Chi Brew
  • Tiger’s Lust
  • Roll
  • Uplift
  • Revival
  • Dampen Harm/Diffuse Magic
  • Summon Jade Statue
  • Disable
  • Ring of Peace/Charging Ox Wave/Leg Sweep
  • Chi Torpedo/Rushing Jade Wind/Xuen
  • Life Cocoon
  • Zen Flight
  • Blackout Kick
  • Tiger Palm
  • Touch of Death
  • Grapple Weapon
  • Mana Tea (can be glyphed to be instant)

So in the notes on MMO-Champion, I did notice that they’re planning on removing Healing Spheres as an actual spell because:

We’re removing it because of the bad gameplay it provided, despite its power. Healing Sphere was spam clicking on an intended target’s feet, trying to account for their movement and latency, tight hit area.

Which personally I disagree with, never having had issues and would rather be in control of where I place my healing tools so that there is a small chance people other than myself will actually use and benefit from. It would also make the current Proving Grounds somewhat harder for Mistweaver Monks.

I find the fact that Summon Jade Statue is instant cast when Lightwell has a cooldown interesting but mostly these spells fall within definite categories. Each one has a hot of some sort, spells which deal with mana regeneration, i.e. innervate, shadowfiend, power word: solace tend to be either baseline instant cast or have the ability to be modified in that way. All single target dispels are instant too and so are movement modifiers whether that’s clearing snares like Nimble Brew or just increasing speed like Stampeding Roar, Roll or Angelic Feathers.

These lists are actually longer than I expected them to be given these are just abilities you can cast whilst moving and perhaps more importantly, they highlight the fact that too much choice can sometimes be a bad thing, especially when it comes to balance. I’ve been watching a quite a few PvP streams on Twitch lately and whilst you tend not to notice it when you’re the one running around chased by three male Bloodelves all wearing plate, carrying very big swords and spamming /lick macros, one grumpy Orc who can’t stop spitting and a gossip of Goblins, spectating on PvP shows just how much of it is done with instants these days. In fact I suspect that’s the issue, each expansion has seen huge amounts of interrupts and crowd control given to every class and in order to counter that, everyone has been given instants to actually be able to cast something. Pare back the control and there is much less need for instants in any aspect of the game.

First thoughts on the Warlords of Draenor

Where are all the women!

This I suspect is the biggest issue with returning to the past. We, the player base are already aware of major players, already are aware of at least part of their stories and in many cases already have loot with their names on it. That said, I suspect I and many others are running out of patience with Blizzard in this regard. Women do make up a large percentage of the player base and whilst yes, we’re capable of being pulled in to stories where the main protagonists are male (Supernatural springs to mind), it would be nice to have females doing something other than playing bit parts and having babies once in a while. Although I do have fairly high hopes for this female Draenei as well as Warlord Zaela, she of the Dragonmaw clan.

draenei

Image from MMO Champion

Lore and Zones

At first I was unimpressed by the fact that we would for all intents and purposes be revisiting perhaps the ugliest of expansions but then I saw pictures. Shadowmoon Valley might always be shaded in darkness but it’s far less desolate and Hellfire Peninsula as a jungle not an arid red hell hole…. yes please. The idea of Shattrah being coastal and Zangarmarsh as a sea also appeals.

fungalwhale

I’m hoping the evolution we see here will be constant across this brave old world albeit in reverse. Plus this picture alone made me want to go diving into the seas of Zangarmarsh to see if there are baby mushrooms on the sea bed.

I think exploring zones we have visited before albeit in a different time line will be interesting, what landmarks are familiar and what has changed completely. It seems like a much younger landscape, one bursting with life.

It will also be interesting to see how many of the fauna and flora of Outlands existed back then. For example we know the Arakkoa should have been around:

Veil Rhaze was a particularly wicked colony of Skettis.

Despite the village’s eradication by the Auchindoun disaster, Terokk’s influence remained in the maligned spirits there. Travel west to Veil Rhaze and slay those murderous wretches. You’ll find them to the west of the Shadow Tomb, on the border of Bone Wastes and Terokkar Forest.

This will be our first blow against Terokk and the guardians of Skettis.

It was with interest that I noted one of the new zones is named “Spires of Arak”, I wonder if we’ll encounter more of our favourite bird people within.

New creatures, mounts and pets

This gnomish plant thing has to be a battle pet and if it’s not it really should be!

gnomeplant

Plus I really would like a clefthoof as a mount.

Garrisons

I have high hopes for this and hope it’s customizable at least to race as I don’t see my Night Elf choosing to build a typical Human base unless of course she can have an Inn like those in Northrend preferably with the balcony facing a waterfall.

  • Followers have quality or rarity and can be customized and named.

The customized and named aspect appeals too. It will be interesting to visit other people’s garrisons and see what sort of names they’ve picked for what are essentially their minions. I’d like to see lots of options like being able to decorate your base for festivals like Hallows End and Winter Veil not to mention perhaps being able to “persuade” the opposite faction into helping you out. Also having certain mounts visible in your stables or having some of your battle pets running around or sleeping by the fire would be an awesome touch.

Leveling a character straight to 90

I have mixed feelings about this but now with the new Dwarf female models, I suspect mine might go on a new Warlock.

The new character models

Slightly concerned here because well at the moment Sprout is a serious Gnome as shown by the existing model on the right and and the new model appears to be anything but. I also don’t like the elasticity of new mouth. In some of those emoting screenshots it looks down right disturbing.

twins

Everything Else

Everything else sounds pretty positive, especially the way that they want to take questing and of course the removal of daily quest hubs has to be massive step in the correct direction. Also the changes to bag space will be amazing and are about three expansions too late already. I’m also hoping that their description of the new PvP zone as being something like the original AV holds up.

The trailer left me with a sneaking desire to roll an Orc female of some sort.

All in all, I’m feeling fairly positive about the new expansion so far. Although I’m pretty sure when Sprout signed up to bring Garrosh to justice for Theramore, she didn’t know it was going to involve “time travel”.

Toxic Behaviour and Random Battlegrounds

It’s a reoccurring theme at the moment. Every where I look, twitter, guild chat, forums… there are people talking about the bad language, aggression and general nastiness encountered on a daily basis in battlegrounds. Now I have a theory and perhaps it’s not going to win me any friends but there should be no denying that I’m qualified to talk random battlegrounds, after all I’ve been known to cap my conquest points purely by doing them.

Recently I’ve been on a winning streak and I haven’t see a single swear word thrown out in anger. No one has had their capslock stuck and the whining has been down at a bare minimum. Now that doesn’t come as a surprise, after all, it surely takes a special sort of personality to launch into the hatefest that random battlegrounds are famous for when you’re winning. So obviously, losing is the issue and that’s where this gets thorny. I’ve pvped ever since I first found my way into the Barrens as a teenage Night Elf, I camped between Southshore and Tarren Mill before the honour system was implemented. In short, I do random battleground because I actually like them. Sure I prefer winning to losing but I’m there for the ride not the achievements or the currency and there-in lies the problem. When you pvp for the pure pleasure of smashing other people’s faces in, of learning how to play your class better and setting your own personal goals even when being 5 nil’d because the rest of your team are being corpse camped somewhere then there is little reason to get annoyed. You’re still gaining something from the experience. The problems start when you have people in battlegrounds who hate the whole concept but want something tangible from it. That’s when you get premades and you get temper tantrums because each loss means you have to spend longer doing something you dislike*.

Now my boss at work is very fond of coming out with corny phrases like “bring solutions not problems” and thus, I’d like to propose the following.

Change the deserter debuff completely. Instead of marking people idle, implement a vote kick system like the one which exists in pve. It doesn’t matter whether they’re jumping in the corner, running into walls or spamming chat with the sort of language which would make a squaddie blush, it would be a one size fits all button. Any behaviour at all which goes against the spirit of competition and generally ruins the atmosphere for the majority of players would count, other examples being people who pick up flags for the express purpose of not handing them in, people who ride demolishers into the sea and as far way from objectives as possible etc and should a person be evicted from the battleground, they don’t get a 15 minute debuff which stops them queuing, instead they get a debuff which prevents them getting honour, conquest or being eligible for any pvp achievements for one hour. They can choose to re-queue straight away but should they be chucked out again, the debuff will stack. Therefore if someone decides to be an idiot after being removed the first time, all they will be doing is increasing the time frame before they can tick off that achievement or buy those boots.

Now I would like this to be the case for people who afk mid battle too but then that’s just me. A better or at least more acceptable answer to that issue might be to leave the deserter debuff in place but have it stack so the first time you /afk a game it’s 15 minutes, the second game it’s 30 and so on up until the point where it’s better to hang around actually playing a losing game rather than bail on your teammates half way through.

Obviously there is a chance that people will be unfairly thrown out but given that I’ve hardly ever seen anyone marked as idle when they didn’t deserve it, I’m not sure that would be an issue and it might improve the quality of life for everyone who wishes to dabble in pvp now and then. Now it would ruin my fun in certain situations as I’ve been known to run around capping flags whilst the rest of my team are being camped at the entrance to Arathi Basin to and to pick up flags in Warsong whilst everyone else is in the graveyard because I don’t believe in handing victory to the Horde under any circumstances but if they could remove bots, afkers and general haters, I’d be wiling to sacrifice my simple pleasures.

(I have to admit I’m pretty desensitized to bad language in battlegrounds. I work with people who use swearing as a punctuation because they grew up in environments where it was far too common but I do find it amazing that people can be be bothered to actually type it out whilst playing WoW).

 

*Of course there are some people who just like calling people names but I’d like to think that these are somewhat in the minority.

And the Wheel keeps turning: PvP and Chakras

Nothing seems to divide Holy Priests like Chakras. I know people who have quit their Priests all together over them, Priests who have gone Disc or Shadow because of them as well as plenty of Priests who have stuck with Holy but tend to pick their Chakra and stick with it regardless of their circumstances. My focus today is PvP but a lot of what applies here can also be used whilst dungeoning and raiding.

First of all, know your “enemy”!

chakra01

and

chakra02

Now I deliberately didn’t include the third Chakra and the reason for that is simple. Chastise is our default ability if we aren’t in a Chakra at all. So lets say I’m in Serenity and I have been for a while, all I need to do to throw a disorient on that pesky Holy Paladin over there is leave Chakra state, cast Chastise and then re-enter Serenity immediately incurring no real penalty (ok Chastise hits for less but…..).

chastise01

/cancelaura Chakra: Serenity
/cancelaura Chakra: Sanctuary
/cast [target=mouseover, harm, nodead] Holy Word: Chastise; Holy Word: Chastise

You do need to hit the macro twice to get the disorient but it leaves whichever of the two Chakra states you’re in and then will stun either your mouse over target if you have one or your actual target if you don’t. I’d definitely recommend using a macro because in hectic pvp combat the last thing you want to be doing is trying to right click off the right buff whilst the person you want to disorient is trying to smash your face in with an axe.

So with the basics covered, what I do use and why? Well my general rule of thumb sees Serenity as my go to Chakra for most things pvp related. I’m a great fan of casting on the move (you can tell I was a Resto Druid in a former life can’t you) and given that in most pvp, standing still just makes you an easier target, you can’t beat instant cast abilities. Being able to dance through and behind your enemies throwing out heals can make a huge difference on your time to live and that of your team-mates.

Also if you’re left alone, Serenity is definitely where it’s at. That instant heal can and will save your life over and over again.

However, especially in the two 40 mans, Sanctuary has it’s place:

Isle of Conquest

  • On entering the boss room to take down the opposing boss I switch because with his leap, every little bit of aoe healing counts. 
  • If we’re winning by attrition and camping the graveyard, i.e. everyone is grouped up in one place with lots of people taking damage, I switch.

Alterac Valley

  • End bosses are an obvious choice for Sanctuary, especially if you’re forced into pulling with towers up.
  • Any huge face offs on the road, i.e. by Iceblood graveyard or between Stonehearth and Stormpike, using Sanctuary is a potential option. It depends whether you’re just championing one person, i.e. a warrior/deathknight or trying to keep the masses alive.

As for Arenas, given that I only ever play 2 v 2, I tend to switch between Serenity, no Chakra at all for the disorient and then using Chakra: Chastise if I need to nuke.

Basically before you make a decision on which Chakra to use, consider the following:

  1. Are you sticking with the vast majority of the team or are you off either solo or with a handful of others. Then consider Sanctuary for the former and Serenity for the latter.
  2. How many opponents are there? Lets say for example that you and a rogue are attacking the Farm in Arathi Basin. There is just one defender but you know that this team have been fairly good at communicating thus far. Do you stick in your healing Chakra or do you switch to Chastise for the extra bit of oomph? After all, the faster they die, the quicker you can tag.
  3. Is anyone focusing you? Serenity all the way then.

TL,DR

  • Macro cancelling Chakra and disorient early and often. The more CC you can provide, the less healing you need to do. Consider things like Chastise – > Mindcontrol for defending the Lumber Mill in Arathi Basin or in 2 v 2s. Not only is it annoying, it’s also effective, especially if you follow it up by parking the person next to you and then fearing them. 
  • Serenity normally beats Sanctuary unless the opposing team is kindly focusing on aoeing down your team at roughly the same rate, you aren’t taking huge amounts of damage yourself and you don’t like anyone else in the team enough to focus them with lots of single target heals.
  • Chakra: Chastise has it’s place. I use it in scenarios, 5 man groups in which people don’t stand in bad and the tank actually uses cooldowns and for nuking demolishers in Strand of the Ancients. It can also be handy in one v ones against certain classes (i.e the ones which don’t currently hit very hard themselves) as long as you’re ready to swap back to defensive mode Serenity the second they get a mate. The other thing to consider is how many healers are on your team. If I end up in a healer heavy side and no one has the gear/spec set up, I’ll use Chastise for dps, especially to help kill flag carriers whilst the others heal. My Dps isn’t awesome but I’ve never come bottom yet although in random battlegrounds that’s perhaps not surprising.

Above all, don’t be afraid to play around with them. Also I have it on good authority that chastise the disorient is cheating (rich coming from a Paladin :p) so use it often!

Redemption Blues

When the MoP changes to the talents were released, I had one huge issue, Spirit of Redemption becoming baseline for Holy. Experience has taught me that it’s a buggy piece of rubbish and it’s good to see that despite it being in the game so long, Blizzard still haven’t managed to fix those bugs.

WoWScrnShot_011913_182120

I died in Eye of the Storm just as the game ended and turned up in a graveyard. When I first checked I didn’t even have a corpse although luckily that spawned once the two minute timer at the end of the game finished, unfortunately though it was quite a run. Ok, I could have waited until the timer on Spirit of Redemption ran out but Mr Harpy wants points and thus time was of the essence (although now knowing what I know, I’ll definitely be waiting).

So that’s achievements I got late because self sacrifice to help kill bosses through the use of Spirit of Redemption basically punishes you and now, having to corpse run across a zone because the game can’t identify the difference between a player and the zombie you become when Spirit of Redemption is active. Given the amount of times I die, even in PvP… I’d swap this for something else in a heart beat.

In short, don’t leave a battleground whilst a Spirit of Redemption because who knows where you’ll end up! I got lucky. My corpse was in the air, as I had entered the battleground on a flying mount but was still close enough to the ground to be reachable.

The three reasons why I love the Tillers

I admit to being a little dubious when Blizzard first raised the idea of farms in WoW, but a month into the expansion I find myself exalted with the Tillers and more importantly glad I farmed their rep. Quite often the best pleasures in life are simple ones and in many ways you can’t get simpler than planting vegetables and tilling the land, which in a roundabout way brings me to my all time favourite Tiller items.

Gin-Ji Knife Set

This wonderful set makes your character don a chefs hat and start chopping as if you’re in the final minutes of a closely fought Iron Chef battle. You swiftly reduce your kill to a pile of blood red guts such is your enthusiasm. There is a 20 minute cooldown because we can’t have it all, but given that you can use this little beauty on the fallen corpses of your enemies it’s well worth every penny not to mention the bag space it consumes. It’s not usable on anyone who releases fast but those who hang around hoping their mates will kill you… well they could be in for a surprise. A word of warning though, anyone who has been through the “mincer” is likely to spend the rest of the battleground stuck to you like glue (or hiding in a corner shaking).

Goats

I’ve always been fond of goats, in fact I think gnomes and goats have a lot in common as demonstrated in the picture below (the arm belongs to Mr Harpy).

Now I finally have a mount which correctly reflects the state of my bags.

I.e. weighed down with everything apart from the kitchen sink.

Scarecrow

The cocky crow is a wonderful touch, it’s just a shame the scarecrow doesn’t come to life, asking about getting a brain or even better given the time of year set out to get it’s own braiiiiinsss by chasing passers-by because everyone secretly knows that scarecrows or tattiebogles as they call them around here are actually very creepy.

So what are you waiting for, if you’re not exalted go go go and if you are exalted and you haven’t bought your julienne set… shame on you!

Miscellaneous Monday

Today is my first day at my new job so I’m slightly terrified and rather distracted, thus this is a miscellanea of the various things I’ve been working on in the last few weeks.

Warcraft

In WoW, I’m steadily crossing things off my to do list. I’m finally exalted with the Netherwing, Puppy dog people, the Darkmoon Faire and the Timbermaw. The gold is pouring in nicely, certainly enough for purchasing all shinies come MoP and in fact, if the expansion hit tomorrow I could live with my current progress. I’ve even got a rough plan of what I’m going to do once Pandaria opens up.

I also got Navispammed!

New additions to my reading list

Competitions

You have until friday to enter Neri’s August  transmogrification contest. The theme this month is Faction Pride so go go go!

Other games

Botanticula

I got sucked into this by Eva from Image Heavy who did a blog post highlighting just how beautiful this game is. Then I played their free demo on the website and fell head over heels. There is even Jack O’Lanterns….

I still have no idea what I’m meant to be doing but there is something therapeutic about running around clicking on leaves.

I also got a new phone and have managed to get pulled into the dangerous world of game apps. Who would have thought that breeding dragons or running a virtual bakery could be such fun.

After watching the Olympic show jumping, I really want to get back into riding but need to wait until our move is complete before finding a suitable stables, therefore I’m also playing MyHorse (my user name is Erinys if anyone else is playing).

Random Stuff on the Internet

As my new job involves a 20 minute daily bus journey and I can’t read on the bus, I’ve also been looking around for audio books. One of my new favourite things is now Libri Vox which proves free audio books of things which are in the public domain. It’s a bit hit and miss as to whether you like the voice of the person reading each book, but so far I’ve listened to Washington Irving’s the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and I’m currently putting Charles Dicken’s Little Dorrit on my phone which at a whopping 70 hours should last a while.

I’ve also been playing with my old friend, Wordle again. There is something addictive about it and I love the fact that both flowers and carrots made it in.

Outside games

I’ve been taking a bit of an advantage of the weather to sunbathe and generally relax.

If Haribo made Dragons..

They’d look like this:

So I’ve finally got around to finishing up my Netherwing reputation, it’s only taken me the better part of three expansions but I got there in the end. Pre-account wide mounts I wasn’t particularly interested in the jelly dragons because I didn’t see any of my characters ever using them. The idea of everything being shared changed my mind slightly because I can see my little Gnomish warrior flying about on one.

Despite doing it very slowly, I think the Netherwing grind is the perfect example of how non dungeon related reputation should work.

You start with a quest chain which introduces you to the faction and sets the scene. We learn about these poor mistreated dragons who are falling from the sky exhausted and progress from there. The chain then cumulates in what was a fairly tough group encounter, the demise of  Zuluhed the Whacked. I seem to remember helping an awful lot of people kill him in one of those little rooms off his courtyard.

Once you hit neutral, you have dailies to contend with but with each new level of reputation reached, you get more dailies to complete. There is also a good mix of quests from the Booterang which always makes me smile to the Deadliest Trap ever laid as well as one off quests mixed in. For example you have to make your own booterang before you can start throwing it at lazy peons which is a wonderful touch. Most importantly though I love the fact that you can supplement your daily rep gain by farming eggs as well as doing dailies. I wish all reputations followed the same pattern, offering you a choice of dailies or the ability to farm a specific item or a combination of both.

You also get disguises, okay it only works in a couple of specific zones in Shadowmoon Valley but disguises are always good. Then there are the trinkets which summon a whelping to fight with you, despite their bag space consumption, things like this are always useful to have.

Finally, hitting exalted isn’t the end. You get to have a meeting with the big bad guy, in this particular case Illidan who of course sees straight through our Orc disguise and is less than impressed. (Fascinating how when these bad guys project themselves places, they are always bigger than when you meet them face to face).

Although he does a great line in name calling,

This might become my go to response next time someone tries to explain away the fact that they ignored the healer/flag or anything else of crucial importance in PvP.

You get rescued by a Dragon pretending to be  Goblin which wraps up his “interest” in any Netherwing eggs you happen to find lying around nicely and flown off to bond with a sweetie coloured drake. The fact that you can then buy the other five drakes you didn’t pick is just icing on the lollipop.

It might be a reputation grind but it’s well paced enough to distract you with it’s various quests, items and rewards.

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