Fragmentary Blue – June’s ROYGBiV entry

Why make so much of fragmentary blue
In here and there a bird, or butterfly,
Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,
When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?

Since earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet)–
Though some savants make earth include the sky;
And blue so far above us comes so high,
It only gives our wish for blue a whet.

Robert Frost

Given the beautiful azure blue of the sky today mirrored off the sea, this poem seemed so perfectly appropriate to introduce this month’s entry.

I have a love hate relationship with the Glacial robes. Love in that they are beautiful, elegant and oh so delicate looking but hate the fact that there aren’t any shoulders which match perfectly. Vestia’s Pauldrons of Inner Grace is another item that I’ve always been partial too and so having given the matter some thought and indeed tried multiple other options, I thought “why not….”.

WoWScrnShot_060614_235135 WoWScrnShot_060614_235147 WoWScrnShot_060614_235107 WoWScrnShot_060614_235129

  • Helm – Collar of Command
  • Shoulders – Vestia’s Pauldrons of Inner Grace
  • Chest – Glacial Robe
  • Gloves – Toad-Slime Gloves
  • Waist – Glacial Waistband
  • Boots – Falling Blossom Treads
  • Staff – Greatstaff of the Nexus

 

 

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.

Home Sweet Home

WoWScrnShot_120813_234655
Many moons ago, a Night Elf Priestess walked away from everything she valued, leaving broken friendships and the fragments of her faith behind. Tired from years of conflict, of campaigning against Old Gods and men warped by their desire for revenge, of seeing nothing but blood with only the background changing, blood against molten rock, blood against sand, blood against ice. That Tournament in Icecrown had been the final straw, jousting for position whilst Arthas carried on, his tyranny ignored. Slipping away had been easy, her mostly Human commanders trusted that like her sisters, she would be faithful until the end, her soothing magic blanketing them from danger and her whispered prayers bringing good fortune to the brave. It was easy too, to establish a routine which saw her needing to leave the safety of the camp at night, no one wanted to demonstrate their ignorance and question why Elune needed her Priestesses to climb mountains in the dark to pray.

Years passed and then, stopping one morning at market, she heard word of Theramore. Guilt and anger rose in equal measure, twisting around her heart. Memories of the walled city, fell jumbled and fragmented though her mind. That Human warrior’s fumbling attempts at kissing her in the Inn at Winter Veil, his mouth eager and tasting of hot spiced cider. Where had he been when his city burned? The nervous excitement in the days before the Onxyia campaign and the long nights she’d spent in the Mage Tower, talking to Pained about home. Those  lazy hours lounging on the docks, throwing sticks for Spot. Had the tall Night Elf with her wicked smile and the dog survived or were they nothing but dust on the marsh now?

Those twin blades of guilt and anger sliced through the last strands of her faith, leaving her an empty husk, wandering in self imposed darkness. Pandaria and it’s riches held no interest for her, instead her path took her to the marsh and the boneyard which was all that remained of Theramore. Laying flowers for the dead brought little succor to her soul but whilst shadowmelding to hide from soldiers come to pay their respects, she overheard talk of taking the war to Orgrimmar. Of a campaign to hunt down and drag Garrosh from his lair like the beast he was and the final piece of the puzzle fell into place. Coming back wouldn’t be easy, she knew that as she paid a passing Mage for a portal to Stormwind but then, one Priestess of Elune looks a lot like another to the untrained eye and should she be caught out, some prices even if extracted in blood and pain were well worth paying.

Yep, Erinys is back on the Alliance side! I’ve wanted it happen for a while now but couldn’t decide whether I was being sentimental or not. Unfortunately she’s not called Erinys any more but even so it’s good to be a Night Elf again.

Proving your Worth: Why Class quests had value

Cymre put up an interesting post a while back about the old AQ Gates quest chain which got me thinking about a couple of my favourite and now removed quest chains. Then when I was attempting to clear out my drafts folder I came across this. A post I started in November 2009 but never got around to finishing or publishing (before now) plus it is Druid week and thus ever so slightly relevant (at least the first paragraph is).

——–

I’m currently re-running the Swift Flight form quest on my second druid. The experience has left me  feeling a little saddened and humbled. Why aren’t there more of these awesome quests scattered through the game. Why don’t all classes have the opportunity to discover more lore about their class? I had to use virtually all my spell book, from hibernate to cat form, to remove curse to moonfire. I visited places I’d never seen before, like the pink frosting masquerading as water outside the Barrow Dens and the river border of Azshara and Ashenvale. I came out of Sethekk Halls feeling like a proper grown up Druid.

WoWScrnShot_111009_141805

Back in Vanilla, I had the pleasure of doing the Benediction chain and I watched the Gnomeling do his Rhok’ledar (I was there for moral support and to kill any Horde who looked at him funny). Both were amazing chains but when you compare the Priest/Hunter epic chains to the Druid model, there are a couple of crucial differences. The Druid one doesn’t rely on RNG. I got lucky, my Eye dropped from our very first Majordomo “kill”. However I knew Priests who had to wait months for that chest to stop yielding leaves, conversely, my guild got Eye after Eye and so our Hunters were epic bowless. Putting the two parts that both Hunters/Priests needed on two different raid bosses meant that in order to experience your epic class quest you had to raid. For Priests especially, getting the Eye of Shadow on my server was hard. One guild (mine) tended to get 95 percent of all the Lord Kazzak kills and when you factored in the fact that we had something like 12 raiding priests and numerous priest alts, it took a while for them to filter onto the Auction House. Yes, you could farm it from those horrible demons in Winterspring but doing so as a Priest solo was hard and the drop rate sucked. That’s actually how I got mine, farming with three other holy priests and a resto druid until 4am – roots, smite, smite, smite, smite, wrath, roots, smite, smite, smite, smite, roots, wrath, wrath, wrath and so on. Painful doesn’t even begin to describe the experience. To be fair we started out with a bunch of dpsers but they all went to bed early. Not sure if that was because they were bored or because they had to get up early in the morning and we healers soldiered on.

So if any future class quests were added, I think that Blizzard should follow the Druid model and make the chain easily available to anyone regardless of how they choose to spend their time in-game. Availability obviously has to impact on the reward, but the rewards could be cosmetic or fun or even powerful at the start of the expansion but wilt over time. If something is easily obtained by say all warriors willing to spend a few hours running quests and probably doing a dungeon or two, I can’t think of any reason why it couldn’t be comparable with the first tier of raid weapons. It would provide a different gearing path and help factor out RNG for people trying to get their first set of gear together. As for dealing with the different specs, Benediction/Anathema was an awesome way of doing that and it would be nice to see Blizzard implement that on other stuff.

Which then got me thinking, Blizzard originally added quite a few class based zones. Think Ravenholdt hidden away in the hills, compete with its poison garden and staffed by persons of a dubious nature. Or Fray Island, the fight club of WoW where warriors would brawl to prove their worth and receive Berserker Stance. Then there is the Moonglade itself, the tranquil valley in which druids of both factions can meet, watched over by the Cenarion Circle. When Cataclysm rips a path through the world as we know it, WoW’s very own disaster movie, I really hope that areas like those get a bit more love.

Also WTB a Priest hideout where Erinys can sip honeymint tea and debate the finer points of religion with other Priestly types. Although I suspect we might as well just rent a battleground or a graveyard because given the diversity of our faiths, someone is bound to end up dead.

———

Returning back to 2013, clearly my crystal ball was a bit out of tune. When Blizzard added the latest class quest (the epic Rogue one), they made it require a raid boss and so much for embellishing those class areas…

What I loved about all three of these quests was the fact that they made you think about what it meant to play that specific class. Not only in terms of playstyle although all three required you to explore your spell book, perhaps the Druid and Hunter more so than the Priest, although plenty of people I knew did take Holy Nova especially for the quest but also from an RP perspective if you wished to indulge it.

With the Priest quest, you had to merge the dual nature of the class by acquiring both the eye of shadow and the eye of divinity before striking a balance between them.

You have come for redemption, yet you yourself do not realize this… Do you?

From a roleplay perspective, when I look back on all the terrible things my Priest(s) have done since that day in EPL, I remember this:

I never stated that you were here to redeem yourself, priest/priestess. You are here to redeem me and the innocents murdered while trying to escape Stratholme. My spirit and the spirit of those lost are bound here, cursed to endlessly relive our own tragic deaths.

and consider the slate wiped clean. I really would love to see the quest chain added back into the game, possibly with the Eyes being available through the Black Market.

I also loved the fact that you had to do it by yourself otherwise the “Cleaner” would come and squish you underfoot.

Be warned, you must complete this task alone. It is recommended that your allies remain at a distance. Interference by outside agents will result in a most severe punishment.

Although that plus the fact that Eris Havenfire would yell, alerting the entire zone Horde and Alliance alike that some brave Priest was attempting the quest did make it easier for the opposing side to grief.

———-

Therefore it probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise that the main aspect of the next patch which I’m really looking forward to is the “Proving Grounds”. Yes I’d rather have the storytelling and romance of class quests but given that Blizzard understandably wishes to design for the masses not a percentage, I’ll happily settle for that.


Sprout the Brawler

Slightly late to the party but this weekend, Sprout intends taking on all comers in the Brawler’s Guild.

brawlers

My self-imposed challenge however is to do it as Holy or die trying! No doubt the latter will definitely happen more than a few times but I think with a bit of practice some fights at least will be possible and making the attempt is half the fun in it’s self.

So without any further ado, introducing Brawler Sprout!

brawlersprout

Be afraid.

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.

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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.

Patch Notes Thoughts: Easier Chakra Surfing

I’ve been keeping a vague eye on the notes for the forthcoming patch, oohing over the thought of riding dinosaurs but my brain has been rather disengaged. However one little tidbit I spotted today changed that:

The 4pc PvP bonus for healing priests has changed: Reduces the cooldown of Chakra by 25 sec and during Spirit ShellFlash Heal costs 50% less mana. (from MMO Champion).

I’m not particularly interested in the second half (Holy for life!) but the first bit had me thinking. Now I’m a chakra hopper by nature and the thirty second cool down between switching annoys me considerably. I’ll happily admit to not being the greatest fan of chakras as I think their implementation has always been clunky and I hate running around with huge disco lights under my feet yelling “Holy Priest….try and kill me” to all comers. However I think a five second cool down between switching states is a huge improvement, so huge in fact that I feel it’s got no place being a set bonus at all.

The whole point of chakras as I understood them was so that we could switch on the fly as sadly PvP in particular doesn’t come in nice perfectly timed segments with the opposing team seguing politely from aoe to single target and back again. I know from playing against plenty of other Holy Priests, most seem to pick a chakra and stick with it regardless of the situation, especially now they last after zoning/death so hopefully this change will change that, pushing people into a bit more experimentation. That said, I don’t see why this change couldn’t be either baseline, leaving the PvP set bonus as it currently is or altering it’s implementation slightly. Why for example can’t it work like the Monk roll? In that you could switch once and then again without incurring a time penalty. It would be more dynamic than just a flat cool down and would potentially allow for more tactical play.

Right now this is a necessary change but a really boring set bonus.

Slightly off-topic, one of the more common searches which seems to bring people to my blog is “What chakra should I use in pvp?” and that to me feeds into the sense that quite a lot of Priests feel trapped in one chakra because of the cooldown. (For those of you which are interested, I’m currently working on a rather massive post with flow charts and possibly diagrams to cover what I use, when and why).

 

Minion of Har’koa: Transmogrification Gnomish Style

So I noticed whilst flicking through my feed reader that J D Kenada was hosting yet another transmogrification contest and I thought “ooh!” to myself. My first thought on reading the brief was Snow Gnomes!!!!! and given that first thoughts are usually if not the best, at least the most quirky and strange, Snow Gnomes it is!

First of all, every Spirit needs a few Priests to speak for them.

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This outfit was one of those serendipitous moments begun whilst running around AQ40 pursued by an army of angry bugs when you happen to pause long enough to loot Fankriss and find those beautiful blue robes staring back up at you. Being a modest Gnome it is of course matched with the Cerulean Filigreed Doublet, a shirt whose design I adore and use whenever shyness gets the better of my characters.

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  • Heroes’ Crown of Faith
  • Pauldrons of Transcendence
  • Robes of the Guardian Saint
  • Bindings of Transcendence
  • Cerulean Filigreed Doublet

As it happens, this is what Sprout is wearing at the moment but when I went to grab a few screenshots of Har’koa, I noticed that the blues matched up almost perfectly.

The other outfit I made, the one I originally intended entering was designed around the weapon as after all, Spirits need Blades just as much as they need Priests to praise them.

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  • Very Light Sabre (the reason why my Warrior is a Gnome)
  • Mechanized Snow Goggles (which always make me think of Charles Causley’s poetry
  • Glimmershell Shoulder Protector
  • Iceguard Breastplate
  • Imbued Plate Greaves
  • Iceguard Leggings
  • Lurker’s Girdle
  • Gauntlets of Resolute Fury

I was still toying with the idea of designing something around the “wonderful” Boneshredder’s set but work and duty calls, that will have to be a plan for another day.

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