Quick thoughts on Battlegrounds

Since hitting level 110, I’ve been doing quite a lot of battlegrounds. Yes, Demon Hunters can quite frankly go and do something obscene with their ranged interrupt and the next Retribution Paladin who thinks it’s in any way amusing to /lick or /kiss whilst stabbing me with their Blade of Justice can just take a running jump off the Lumber Mill (with or without the aid of mind control) but over all it’s been a lot of fun.

Healing versus one or two is okay, healing versus 3 or more hitting you a lot less so. I found myself missing Spectral Guise and Fear because whilst Mind Control is great one versus one or even in larger scale combat when no one is hitting you (won the Lumber Mill quite a lot by throwing their non Priest healer off the cliff) it’s pretty useless when every melee in range is thumping you. I’m currently talented in Shining Force for more throwing power and it definitely boots people a long way if you’re up high when you cast it but unfortunately is pretty useless if you aren’t up a cliff or a tower or standing next to the edge of the map because everyone just bounces right back at you.

My new favourite PvP toy is the tailoring cloth chests. Having colour coordination is so important if you want to win. It’s even better when you convince your entire raid that they want to dress as Dalaran Citizens.

wowscrnshot_091916_000009

The Honour talents annoy me slightly though, I don’t like the idea that I have separate talents for one area of the game which don’t apply in others but that’s minor compared to the annoyance of having to farm Honour to gain abilities like Inner Focus which I’ve previously had although to be fair, if it still makes “that” noise…the Priest Class Hall would be a nightmare if you could use it anywhere outside PvP.

I have a definite hankering after the various Prestige rewards so in-between hoping for a nerf of interrupts (or a limit to how many melee are allowed to hit me at any one time), I will be hanging out at the Lumber Mill, taking towers in Alterac Valley, lurking by the edge of the map in EotS and because Holy Nova is so going to get nerfed soon bouncing in the middle of Kotmogu holding an orb whilst confetti-ing people to death.

Advertisements

Heroic Efforts, Good Luck Raptors and “that” hit of Adrenaline

Running Black Rook Hold last night I finally figured out what stops me running dungeons like “normal” people. It’s not the healing aspect which is why I can heal in pvp with zero problems (other than I attract Horde like ladybirds to marigolds) and it’s not even the fear of falling to avoid standing in fire during combat. It’s stuff like this:

wowscrnshot_091216_205723

 

Brings me out in a cold sweat every time.

We’re now 5 dungeons down of the 8 available to us. If I had to rank them in order of my favourites it would go something like this:

  • Halls of Valor
  • Maw of Souls
  • Black Rook Hold (too much trash)
  • Eye of Azshara

The scoring criteria takes looks, easiness (for doing with 2 people) and general feel into account.

I can’t really place Darkheart Thicket because I haven’t done it on Normal, just on Heroic. With hindsight, it probably wasn’t the smartest Heroic to pick for running with just two people and it took us a couple of goes to figure out how we would deal with the nightmare/paranoia overlaps on the final boss. A paranoid tank and a silenced healer really doesn’t work well especially when there is only the souvenir raptor left undebuffed.

wowscrnshot_091316_212155

That feeling when the Shade of Xavius finally bit the dust was the same hit of adrenaline I used to get when raiding, that feeling which physically effects you with shaking hands. I could potentially get addicted to it again. I don’t mean raiding per se, but perhaps Karazhan isn’t the impossible dream I thought it was.

Slightly insanely the plan is now to see if we can finish running the other three dungeons we’re missing and before trying to complete everything on Heroic. Then perhaps this weekend actually branch out into playing with player controlled characters rather than just the souvenir raptor (awesome as he is).

If I’d designed the Priest Class Hall for Legion …

Many moons ago, Mr Harpy and I spent a couple of months in Mexico. This is a photo of a place called Cholula (I’m assuming I took it whilst in a traffic jam) and the reason it’s in this post is that Church is not nestling on a hill but a Temple.

acapulco to puebla 005

That recycling and re-purposing of sacred spaces would be the theme of my Priest Class Hall. From the outside, you’d see a church sitting on a slight hill but inside, it would be so much more.

The Shadow Hall

Imagine if you will, a Temple to an Old God deep within the earth. Dank, shadowy and with something which doesn’t bear too close an examination dripping down the walls. The air is thick with candle smoke and pallid pools cast strange reflections on the ceiling. If you look too deeply into the water, tentacles (or maybe it’s just pond weed) wave, encouraging you to wade in.

At one end of the room, we find a library full of dusty books whose subject matter seems to involve flaying of minds and melting of souls. This coupled with a pile of empty coffins beside them doesn’t paint a particularly wholesome image.

A pile of abandoned Anathemas lie sadly in a corner.

Famous Priests:

Shadow Priest Allister, author of that famous tome “Holy Bologna: What the Light won’t tell you” can be found sitting at a desk in an alcove asking for help deciding on the title of his new work, muttering different possibilities aloud.

Mistress Natalia Mar’alith, High Priestess of C’thun tends to the pools, every so often chanting something sibilant softly which has the waters churning with what looks like blood.

WoWScrnShot_062116_221128

Vivienne Blackwhisper can be found playing cards with her Alliance counterpart Brienna Nightfell. In between hands they complain about their non Shadow Priest raid members in the Trial of the Crusader and discuss strategies for the upcoming Arena season.

Stairs rise up, twisting away from the fetid cellars. The space widens to provide a burial ground for those who died for their faith. Nightelf graves lie side by side with Troll, Tauren next to Gnome before narrowing again.

Discipline

At some point, the Night Elves were drawn to the power of the Temple below (or perhaps they thought building on top of it would help them guard it for the eons to come). Here within what was once a Temple to Elune, we find the Discipline Priests going about their business. One end of the room holds training dummies for the practical application of both Light and Shadow. Just like downstairs, there is a nook full of books although these seem a lot less forbidding, apart that is from the one that is shackled in an alcove. Through an Elven arch, we discover a Moonwell, complete with a statue of Elune, trees and benches make this a comfortable resting area.

WoWScrnShot_062116_202357

Although the windows to the outside must be nothing more than illusions as the Temple is covered in rock and gardens, the moon is clearly visible through them at all times of day.

High Inquisitor Whitemane (yep, she’s still refusing to stay Dead and I don’t care what other classes think, she’s a Priest!) is teaching some Acolytes the art of resurrection.

Argent Confessor Paletress is in charge of the Confessional, step inside to confess your deepest darkest sins and receive a suitable and fitting penance. Every so often, you’ll discover one of the NPCs has beaten you to it and is admitting all sorts of scandalous stuff.

Moon Priestess Maestra has relocated from the Post which holds her name and can be found in conversation with Tyrande (a much more logical class “leader” choice given the Night Elf theme of the expansion.

Sister Aquinne has finished her training and been promoted to Full Priestess from Novice.

Thomas the Altar boy from Stormwind Cathedral runs errands between the NPCs, bringing one a book they need or another a bottle of holy water or a glass of wine.

Again the stairs climb upward, this time when they widen out, a small infirmary has been built into the alcove. Run by Chief Surgeon Gashweld and her Gnomish minions with assistance from some Goblin Priests.

Holy

WoWScrnShot_062116_225502.jpg

 

Finally and more recently an intrepid (or lost) bunch of Humans or maybe Worgens came along and found the ruins. A whisper of the power once held inside captured their imaginations and a church was built, capping off the two Temples which came before it. In honor of the Priest takeover and our Draenic friends, the gardens outside have been given a distinctly Draenei flavour and inside the Church, proximity to the Naaru has caused things to begin to alter. Regardless of the time of day, sunlight streams through the windows.

A Lightwell glitters by the altar and Priests come and go in the pews, listening to sermons, chatting, praying quietly.

Ishanah

High Priestess MacDonnell has finally lost interest in Scourge Cauldrons and moved in search of a newer enemy to fight.

WoWScrnShot_062116_225001

 

Random Details

The ghost of Erin Havenfire wanders randomly through the Class Hall, talking to herself about the balance of light and shadow. When clicked upon, she offers to show you why that balance is so important. If you want you can see a short video of her pressing some random Priest into service to help her gain the redemption she sought.

Books from all three “Faiths” move through the Class Hall, occasionally dueling each other with much smiting, mindflaying and a touch of holy nova from the glittering Holy books.

NPCs wear a variety of Priestly outfits, all the tiers are in use somewhere across the Class Hall.

The various Priest Class trainers all make appearances, conversing about such topics as their most terrible trainees and debating points of theology (I so want a Male Priest answering every question on religion with “that’s an ecumenical matter” and if you haven’t watched Father Ted you should).

In the gardens outside, you find dueling Priests and in a rose covered arbor, a two Worgens sit watching. The Trolls have distributed their Loas throughout the complex depending on where their beliefs lie.

 

Toys, Trinkets and other awesome stuff

A Spirit of Redemption combat pet, if you kill a critter with her out, she tells them it’s not yet their time and resurrects them. Should you aoe a whole bunch of cute little bunnies, she casts mass resurrection.

Devouring Plague, a pet.

WoWScrnShot_072216_182036.jpg

Every so often, she enters shadowform and casts devouring plague on a critter, cackling.

A Travelling Sermon, yep if you can’t get your raid to come to listen to Paletress, you can take a miniature but equally loud and annoying holographic version of her to them…one of the less discussed “benefits” of letting Gnomes and Goblins be priests.

Mini Benediction/Anathema, follows you around casting sparkles every so often (think holy nova but either gold or shadowy). That way, even Shadow Priests can still have their Anathema out whilst using their Artifact weapon.

Holy Priests can purchase a toy entitled “Inept Shadowfiend”. On a 3 minute cooldown, you can summon an “inept shadowfiend” for 12 seconds. It will appear, stand around looking a bit dazed and confused for a bit, hug your feet, drool on the floor and then vanish back from whence it came.

Titles

One of the “flavour” aspects which drew me to the Priest Class was the race specific spells we used to have. In order to recapture that idea that we’re very much drawing on different religions, the titles reflect the differences between the races.

Night Elves: Moon Priest/Moon Priestess

Gnomes/Goblins: Chief Surgeon

Humans/Dwarves/Troll: High Priest/High Priestess

Tauren: Seer

Draenei: Anchorite

Forsaken: Shadow Priest/Shadow Priestess (Torn on this one. The lore might say one thing, but not all Undead Priests are shadow).

Yes, this is a very Alliance centric vision but so is the one we’re getting in Legion. There would obviously be more Horde NPCs but in my admittedly quick look, I was struggling to find that many unique Horde Priests who stand out.

Edit: If this post leaves you with the idea that I’m not hugely taken with the Priest Class Hall that Blizzard have designed, you would be correct.

 

 

Come full Circle – Thoughts on the Healing Changes

Reading through the Healing blog a couple of  things stood out.

Additionally, as gear improves, the scaling rates of health and healing will now be very similar, so the relative power of any given healing spell shouldn’t climb so much over the course of this expansion.

That’s absolutely fine as along as DPS scales the same way. It’s that arms race mentality which led to us this point so as long as that is reined in, Heals don’t need to scale in leaps and bounds. However if DPS start complaining that their damage has only increased by 100 points across 5 tiers, then Blizzard have to say “tough”. I know this is primarily a PvP concern but adding artificial rubbish like PvP power isn’t the way to fix it. If Healers scale slowly from gear, Tanks and Dpsers need to as well. Otherwise gearing Healers becomes a waste of time relatively and it takes the “ooh shiny” fun aspect of raiding away. Now I’m not saying that people only raid for loot, far from it but everyone likes upgrading their gear.

We want healers to care about who they’re targeting and which heals they’re using, because that makes healer gameplay more interactive and fun. To that end, we’re reducing the healing of many passive and auto-targeted heals, and making smart heals a little less smart. Smart heals will now randomly pick any injured target within range instead of always picking the most injured target. Priority will still be given to players over pets, of course.

Smart heals are up there with shell suits as a contender for the worse thing ever invented. The issue will be balancing what’s left as certain classes rely more on Smart Heals than other.

 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.

This isn’t an interesting choice, it’s common sense or at least it should be. The changes to smart heals should help reinforce this.

Finally, we’re removing the low-throughput, low-mana-cost heals like Nourish, Holy Light, Heal, and Healing Wave, because we think that while they do add complexity, they don’t truly add depth to healing gameplay.

Can’t say I’m sorry to see them go. Although my Priest did the Proving Grounds with huge abuse of Heal it wasn’t fun. Having to use all of your toolbox is always more interesting than using one or two spells but this is something that can’t be forced. Having to heal like Simon Says isn’t fun. Having rotations isn’t interesting. What I love about healing, especially in group PvP is the unpredictable. Blizzard have given me the toolbox but ultimately it’s up to me to figure out how I want to use it. If we lose too many spells and I’m tempted to say one fifth is too much, we lose that choice and that decision making.

It was the last part of the post however which raised my eyebrows. Now I know it does say

Here are some examples:

but I was surprised just how small the list. In a recent post, I briefly touched upon the various instant cast spells and my list was surprisingly long although many of the spells are utility rather than heals .

  • 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) – Is apparently going to Disc although I haven’t managed to find a proper source for that
  • 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

Now Circle of Healing and Wild Growth both gained a cooldown at the same time so I was quite surprised that Circle of Healing wasn’t on the list for cast time.

All of these changes taken together are intended to make gameplay more consistent between PvE and PvP, and invigorate healers with more dynamic gameplay.

Is casting on the move a bad thing? I would actually argue no, it’s not because it requires practice and the ability to do more than one thing at once. I agree that you shouldn’t be able to put out a similar output whilst bouncing around than you can standing still but I think Blizzard are walking a fine line between creating challenging, dynamic and intelligent gameplay versus mindless button mashing whilst standing still. I hope the former wins because I like deciding what I’m going to do, picking who to heal and managing my mana. Ultimately though, this is only one piece of the jigsaw and right now we’re trying to put the puzzle together in the dark.