Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Grumpy Tarutaru Post.

It's been a while since I grumbled about anything so you get a slightly ranty post today. You'll probably think all these posts and topics are kind of non related but I find a general link between them, for me :P
It's all about WoW, mmos and how things changed for me since my first big mmo experience: Final Fantasy XI Online.

I've been reading some interesting posts lately on Casual Hardcore. First a post from a few days ago about What I Really Think Is Wrong In WoW, I was sort of expecting a post about easy game or micro transactions or something like that, but got a post from Kyrilean saying that the problem for him is not the game, it's the players. I especially liked a sentence from his post: “It’s too bad that a majority of people are like water and take the path of least resistance.”
That made me think a little about my view on that, and I mostly agree with him. Though for me, the game changes sort of encouraged that "easy go lazy" behavior.
Then I read today's post A Better Class Of Player still on Casual Hardcore that discussed a very interesting post from BBB Attunements – your mileage may vary. Mostly these posts comment about the removal of attunements and how it possibly affected the "skill" of raiders and the game immersion.
I'm not sure that attunements are a "gage of skill" but they sure meant that a player had done some instancing with this character and should know his ways at least a little. Now I completely agree with the fact that immersion is lower now than it was before. Wrath of the Lich King contains some epic questlines, and on the alliance side Ulduar is introduced in a wonderful way ... if you take the time to do these quests, and if you know where they are. I agree that the content is still here, and players can still do the quests, but if you hit 80 while finishing Sholazar Bassin, are you really going to clean Storm Peaks and Icecrown quests, when you have all these Argent tournament dailies to do and these heroics to run?

It happens that I also listen to No Prisoners, No Mercy, a very entertaining podcast about all things mmo. Don't ask me why but I play most of the mmos the hosts of this show play: I'm playing wow, tried warhammer (until level cap ;p), I'm playing aion (on a cleric you can't change yourself) ... I recommend you to listen to their Show 47 with a very interesting interview of Keen from Keen and Graev's Gaming Blog.
Now how all of that is related to WoW ?
Well it is not directly related, more to a general state of the big mmos at the moment. Whether WoW or Aion, or even Warhammer, the player is guided, there is this sort of invisible hand pointing you towards what you should do now and pushing you to reach "The End Game". In these 3 mmos this end game is all you seek, in a sense the leveling part is just a few weeks grind to reach the "real game".

So what are we going to ? Well I don't know for you, but it got me thinking about what player I am, what I like in the mmos I play now, what I miss perhaps from games I played before. I took the famous Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology that I did a few years ago and found me being a SEAK:
When I started mmos I was more an EASK, so I changed to be more social than achievement driven, though I still like exploration a lot. I think I can see that in my daily play, if I still stick to WoW it is because of the people I play with, if I went to play Aion it is because some of these friends moved there. I like new games and new universes, which is why I played Warhammer, why I played Vanguard, and LOTRO and so many others. But in the end it is the community that makes me stay in a game when I've finished exploring it enough for my taste.

When I read my lines it make me think about some posts from Larisa, that I read nearly every day ^^. She's a gnome mage, and I'm still a Tarutaru white mage somewhere, I think that's how I'm linked to her liking of immersion and socialization, even though she plays the grumpy gnome so well some days, better than I do.
I miss FFXI sometimes, as I miss Vanguard (which community was killed by SOE before summer with a stupid extension patch, somehow as they already killed SWG before). These two games contained a lot to do in an open sandbox context. They were harder than WoW or Aion on the leveling side and reaching max level, or even a high level was worth of praise in these games. The time you spent leveling also made the "trip to max level" much more worthy as it was a real experience. Strangely the gameplay in both of these games didn't change a lot from say level 20 to max. You did get a few new tricks but way way less than in Aion or WoW. You just refined your gameplay, and learned to adapt to new monsters, because the whole group gameplay was rich enough to not be grasped completely before you've got hours of grouping behind you.
In a sense you - the player - learned while playing, and as a healer your level wasn't your most important asset for grouping, it was your reputation as a good healer, or a good player whichever class you played.
What I also liked in FFXI and Vanguard were the epic quests in a sandbox (read open, free to do when you want) context. FFXI missions are huge epic quests that required groups to finish and often a lot of preparation. Vanguard contain a lot of questlines from level 10 to 50 that reward you with incredible items that you will keep for 10 or more levels ... but trust me anyone that has done the complete Infineum questline nows how long and hard it is. In these games someone that see you with these items knows how hard you worked to get them. Even if they are not max level items them mean something.
I could also use LOTRO as a great example for their epic questline that tells you a real story, but the lack of sandbox and the requirement for low level players in a context where leveling goes so fast sort of ruined that for me.

I think that's what I miss ... meaning. Give some feeling to what you do, have a sense of accomplishment when you achieve something. Give us real epic questlines, with real worth for a player be it an item, a special title giving you access to some place, anything that you can be proud to show and that means "That player was able to do that, or took all the time needed to reach that, and I so much want to do it too.".
I've not played Ultima Online for a long time, but back in the days (lol) crafting really meant something. You didn't have to do it, it was a choice (sandbox idea), but reaching master level was worthy.
Give us such things then you'll have put back meaning into doing something, more than throwing food at other players around a table and getting a "achievement" for that .... :P

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Icecrown Citadel raid loot for Holy Paladins

From a Holy Paladin view, what will be hot loot in Icecrown Citadel Raid ? That's the question I'm trying to answer here, starting with a list of all armor (plate only) & other items from the raid loot tables we have.
Discussion will come in later once we have more loot from the PTR.

That's a first compilation of Icecrown Citadel raid loot, taken from the PTR data you can get on MMO Champion loot post from November 20th, updated on Nov 26th.

10-Man (ilevel 251)
Sword Frost Needle marrowgar-10 -- hit/haste
Plate Feet Ancient Skeletal Boots marrowgar-10 -- crit/mp5
Plate Hands Festergut's Gaseous Gloves festergut-10 -- crit/mp5
Plate Wrist Bracers of Pale Illumination gunship-10 -- haste/mp5
Plate Legs Corrupted Silverplate Leggings marrowgar-10 -- crit/haste
Plate Shoulder Emerald Saint's Spaulders valithria-10 -- crit/mp5
Finger Signet of Putrefaction festergut-10 -- haste/mp5
Neck Soulcleave Pendant saurfang-10 -- crit/haste
Trinket Sliver of Pure Ice -- spell power, mana regen

10-Man hard (ilevel 264)
Plate Wrist Bracers of Pale Illumination gunship-10-hard -- haste/mp5
Finger Signet of Putrefaction festergut-10-hard -- haste/mp5
Neck Soulcleave Pendant saurfang-10-hard --

25-Man (ilevel 264)
Mace Trauma rotface-25
Shield Bulwark of Smouldering Steel marrowgar-25 -- crit/haste
Plate Head Faceplate of the Forgotten festergut-25 -- crit/mp5
Plate Shoulder Rusted Bonespike Pauldrons marrowgar-25 -- crit/mp5
Plate Waist Waistband of Righteous Fury gunship-25 -- crit/mp5
Plate Chest Rot-Resistant Breastplate rotface-25 -- crit/haste
Plate Waist Belt of the Lonely Noble trash-25 -- crit/haste
Plate Wrist Crypt Keeper's Bracers bloodprinces-25 -- crit/haste
Plate Feet Boots of the Funeral March -- crit/mp5
Plate Hands Fallen Lord's Handguards deathwhisper-25 -- crit/haste
Finger Ring of Rapid Ascent gunship-25 -- crit/haste
Finger Marrowgar's Frigid Eye marrowgar-25 -- haste/mp5
Neck Holiday's Grace festergut-25 -- crit/mp5
Neck Bone Sentinel's Amulet marrowgar-25 -- haste/spirit
Trinket Althor's Abacus gunship-25 -- spell power additional heal

25-Man hard (ilevel 277)
Plate Waist Waistband of Righteous Fury gunship-25-hard -- crit/mp5
Finger Ring of Rapid Ascent gunship-25-hard -- crit/haste
Trinket Althor's Abacus gunship-25-hard -- spell power additional heal

Emblems (ilevel 264)
Plate Chest Chestplate of Unspoken Truths -- crit/mp5
Plate Hands Gauntlets of Overexposure -- crit/haste
Plate Waist Lich Killer's Lanyard -- crit/haste
Cloak Drape of the Violet Tower -- crit/mp5
Cloak Volde's Cloak of the Night Sky -- crit/spirit
Trinket Purified Lunar Dust -- spell power, mana regen
Libram Holy Libram of Blinding Light

As a first rough analysis you can just take into account basic Holy Paladin facts, spirit is nearly useless for us, hit is marginally useful, mp5 is a useful but weak stat, crit and haste are good (and obviously int and spell power but all the items above have them :P).
This time I chose to order the items by 10-Man, 25-Man and hard (heroic) rather than by slot. I think it's easier for people to see quickly what they can have access to depending on their guild raids. On a common basis heroic items are remake with better stats of the non heroic items and 25-Man is half a tier better than 10-Man as always.
Hence mp5 is a plus, crit and haste are big pluses on an item. More in deapth analysis once we have more boss loot.

Last Update Nov. 26th

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Trial of the Grand Crusader (ToC Hard), Guides & Tips collection

Trial of the Grand Crusader (ToC Hard)
Guides & Tips collection

My guilds are starting ToC 10 in hard mode, so I tried to compile a list of guides and tips from the web. I'll try to add my own inputs once I've done some progress in there, but for now here are the date I'm using to prepare my raids.

First I'll start with the collection of guides from BossKillers:
Northrend Beasts
Lord Jaraxus
Faction Champions
Twin Val'kyrs

Then the video strategies from Tankspot that can be found on their forum. They are not only videos but complete guides on their own.

And now several blogs I've collected information from and found informative.

Rhidach Heroic ToC guide, this is a complete guide full of info for all the encounters, 10-Man guide but most of it can be applied to 25-Man directly.
MMO-Champion Heroic ToC forum thread, lots of infos though you could have to dig in
Nymarie's Healing Guide to ToC, this is a 10-Man Disc Priest healing guide, not specifically hard mode oriented there are lots of tips that can be used
Joanadark post on Maintankadin, this post explains how you could improve your control on the aggro from the Faction Champions, where survival is key
Stoneybaby post on Big Hit Box, a guide about positioning during the Icehowl fight, or how not to be smashed against a wall

To end this post, please have a look at Morrighan's How to wipe in Trial of the Grand Crusader Guide, it's just plain fun.
A bunch of thanks to all those that took time to produce these guides and tip collections.
If you have or if you know any other guide for ToC hard, please leave a comment.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Protadin for a weekend.

Ok, some friends rerolled and are now 80, which means they are hungrily doing heroics for badges. As tanks are always so hard to find for 5-Man, I happened to jump back into my tank set, turn my Righteous Fury once again, and go take some hits with them this weekend.
I forgot how fun it is to tank too, not look at green bars all the time and have some control and understanding of what happens around me (I'm much more aware as a tank than as a healer, more time to look around at least for me).
Now it's me, and when I do something I like to document, I've not tanked for more than 6 months and I wanted to read a bit about caps and all, if it had changed. That's how I found this post on Honor's Code, on his blog. Go read Honor's Protection Paladin stat caps post, it's full of all the details you need to know to itemize a paladin properly as a tank. As I'm only in my old Nax tank gear I'm far from that but if I gear more I'll aim for what he says.
Thanks Honor for the post, and great view about the Crushing Blows cap still being meaningful for us now as a Shield Block cap, even after they disappeared. It's great to be Shield Block capped and always at least reduce the damage.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Patch 3.3 Item Avalanche, Holy Paladin view

So I wrote yesterday about the beginning of Icecrown Itemization on MMO Champion, guess what ? There are a lot of news today, cheers to Boubouille !
  • Page 1: 5-Man loot table, normal & heroic, and Quel'Delar
  • Page 2: Emblems of Frost Badge Rewards
  • Page 3: Icecrown Citadel raid loot, 10 & 25-Man, and Tier 10 Armor sets (not many of them yet), and Ashen Verdict Reputation Rings rewards
If that's enough to make you drool, I don't know what you want. From what I've seen most items are pretty nice considering stats, we're back to the great stats allocation of Nax with ilevel 251+ items.

Just looking at the 5-Man stuff already makes me happy, there is nearly a full tanking set of ilevel 219-232 there, perfect to gear a new tank and bring him into IC 10. Also nice for my lazy ass that can't cope with raiding enough to itemize my 3 healers, especially with my loot habit :P

Now let us give a look to the Ashen Verdict rings. Healers will go for the crit/mp5 ring (Ashen Band of Wisdom) for sure, the other one having hit. But I'd have loved a haste ring, with the changes from my T7.25 (I still was using it until we started ToC 10 Hard ...) to a T8-9 combo I went from about 600 to 400 haste and I don't like that >.< But I should not complain, seeing this ring Signet of Putrefaction in Icecrown 10-Man ...

About the Emblems of Frost rewards ?
Nothing else to say, grab them ! (We'll have to wait for the tier10 to decide about the gauntlet but a haste/crit item makes me jump in my chair).

I won't start looking at the Icecrown Citadel items right now, we don't have enough of them yet and there are still some confusions between the normal and heroic mode loot. But expect a review early next week. Still I want to see my Blood Elf with that shield.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quel'Delar: The Sister Blade

This one I love, it's full of story, it's a cool long questline that brings you to all the new instances of Icecrown, and it reminds me of the old vanilla or BC questlines that were so epic (Black Temple access is one of my favorite).
So Quel'Delar is a blade, the sister blade of Quel'Serrar (which drops on Onyxia) and you can read it's story in this blue post.

The quest to get your weapon will be quite long, it starts with Reforging the Sword and finishes with The Purification of Quel'Delar which brings you to the very Sunwell on Sunwell Plateau (probably not the end of the raid itself or it would be one of the best quests ever, but make it nearly impossible to do for an unguilded player).

Once you finish the quest you'll be able to chose which incarnation of the blade you want (you can get a mace ;p) the 6 different weapons have been revealed by MMO Champion this morning, you can look at them on this post. They are all ilevel 251, which should be Icecrown Citadel 10-Man ilevel.
There is no question for me the one I'll get as a Holy Paladin is Quel'Delar, Lens of the Mind. It's a beautiful sword (I like swords) it has spell power, crit and haste, what else could you want ?
Even though a lot of Holy Paladins will have it, I can't wait to see it on my side instead of my non cool looking Onyxia blade. You can be sure you'll see a post and a picture here once I get it \o/

Icecrown itemization go go go

Ok, I'm all excited because the first item lists for patch 3.3 and Icecrown are out. Items are in the last PTR files, though I don't think they started dropping yet.
Anyway you can find the first lists on MMO Champion (your best source of wow news as always):
5-Man Dungeons loot lists (normal 319 ilevel, and heroic 332 ilevel),
Icecrown Citadel first loot list (I assume 25-Man from the 364 ilevel),
you can also add the Crafted Items list published a few days ago.
I'll start a review for Holy Paladins once we start to know on which boss the items drop (what I did for Ulduar).

ps: Ok, ok, I'm really as excited as everyone about these new shinies even though I tend to pass on loot in raids. I'm just an itemization and optimization nerd, at least on paper :P

Monday, November 09, 2009

What is a "Portable Hole" ?

So I happened to listen to The Instance #168 this morning (thanks Scott and Randy for entertaining me during this morning at work), and I couldn't help but grin as they joked about the new bag you can get from Haris Pilton in the World's End Tavern in Shattrath City: the Portable Hole. You can see a picture and all on MMO-Champion (as always your best source of wow information).
Ok if you're not an old Dungeons & Dragons geek you won't understand and probably laugh at the "Hole" part. But for all old table roleplayers like me, the portable hole is the best bag you can carry as a dungeon adventurer since the middle 70s.
Just another tribute of the folk at Blizzard to this ancestor of rpgs that is Dungeons & Dragons.

Circle of Healing for a Holy Paladin ?

Ok no, we're not going to get a new awesome raid healing ability, sorry. It's just an interesting project launched by Miss Medicina that you can follow on this page.
She wrote a questionnaire for all healers to give some of their views about their class and healing in general in raids (mostly).
Looks like Almaster from Lux Legis tagged me and as I liked reading other healers views, I'm adding mine :)

First a short introduction to my healing team. I have 3 lvl 80 raiding healers, they have very close gear, mostly because I use badges to gear all of them more than raid loot (not that I don't like loot but I really don't run for it unless nobody wants an item).
My experience with each of them is different though, I've played Shazalyn, my Holy Paladin, since the beginning of WotLK (was prot before) and I've hours and hours of raiding with her.
My Discipline Priest, Syriel, has seen a good bit of raiding too, and she's the only one with which I've been able to finish Yogg (which I really really want to do again). But Discipline priests are rarely used as they should (and always perform poorly on recount), so I only raid with her in friends groups where I can play as I like (aka I don't end up having to raid heal as disc ...).
Velours, my Restoration Druid, is the one I have the less raiding experience with, and the one I have yet to really get used to. I'm sure I could get better at rotations and awareness with her, but druids are so strong with a spellpower built that she's more my "lazy heal" character :P

Now, my Holy Paladin is the character I've played the most, and the one I started this blog with, so I'll answer with her.

* What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
Shazalyn, Holy Paladin is my main character and healer.
* What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
Mostly raiding, normal 25 Man & 10 Man, a little bit of 10 Man Hard modes (I love that).
* What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
Holy Shock, instant, fairly strong, has lots of synergy with Flash or Holy Light if you crit with it (which is expected if you have an old crit build like me).
* What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
Paladins don't have so many healing spells, we're not druids. I can't see a healing spell I don't use at least a few times in a boss encounter. Probably Judgment of Light if I'm not the only paladin, I'll judge wisdom and let the protection or ret paladin judge Light.
* What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
Endurance and healing spam. Paladins are probably the best healers to maintain a constant influx of relatively strong heals for a long time on a target, and very strong heals for a fairly good time. That's also what makes them kind of boring to play sometimes :P
* What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
No raid healing spell, we can raid heal ok with the new Beacon of Light, but all our heals are single target and we're hence very limited by the gcd. Mobility is also a big issue for paladins, you have to learn the timing of fights and your positioning more than any other healing class, because the more you have to move, the less you heal.
* In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
Paladins have always been tank healers, and still are best suited for that. Even though 3.2 made us less crappy at raid healing, which is very nice for 10-Man.
* What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
That's a very hard question. Sadly Paladins don't really go well with other healers, it's more a question of raid assignment. Though I usually like to have another Holy Paladin with me, I tried a ToC10 with 3 paladins, it was really not the best thing. Have raid healers with you will be much nicer. The thing is we have very few instant heals, and even with add-ons like Incoming Heals, we still end up overstepping other healers. Only solution is to have confidence in your other healers and have good healing assignments.
* What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
Any other healer when I try to raid heal. And with the 3.2 Beacon of Light we should be raid healing all the time as we heal the tank at the same time. So we end up overlapping raid healers, that are often more effective and faster than us, much overhealing and probably some frustrated druids & priests & shamans ... The thing is, if we don't spam the raid, we spam the tank. It's the same for us so it doesn't cost us any more mana, but I'm sure it annoys other healers.
* What is your worst habit as a healer?
Not keeping my judgments up enough on bosses and not using my cds enough, I'll like the T9 bonus.
* What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
Feeling powerless when people stay in the fire and die ... not that I can do anything but seeing people die and not being able to ever save them is frustrating.
* Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
I think that PvE healing balance is ok right now. Not that I think all healing classes are as fun to play, or as good for all fights, but overall it's ok.
* What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
Recount is fairly decent for a paladin now that Sacred Shield is a single target spell. I still advise world of logs that can cope with bubbles & absorption. All in all, if the raid worked, if your tanks didn't die too much, well you did your job ok enough.
* What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
Holy Paladins are fairly simple, they've always been tank heals and I think that's what most people expect of them. Now few people realize how much a toolbox we are. Hands of Protection / Freedom / Salvation ... are great tools that little people think to ask for.
* What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
Timing. Paladins can't heal on the move, and the first heroics in GT4 or Utgarde Pinnacle are going to be real tests for a new Holy Paladin.
* If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?
I try to really use all the tools I have, so I'm fairly balanced between Beacon, Flash and Shock. I try to limit my use of Holy Light now, nerfed Illumination and int makes it much harder with my "limited" gear. Overheal is high, but that's inherent to the Beacon that I maintain at all times. I have mostly an int/crit build so yes my crit will be over 45% in raids and I like it for my Holy Shocks.
* Haste or Crit and why?
Before 3.2 I would have said crit (and int) without question, until you reach about 40% unbuffed. Now crit is much less useful for mana regen and you will need some mp5 or alternate mana source (trinkets & the like). Haste is really increasing your hps, so yes, balancing both will be good.
* What healing class do you feel you understand least?
Resto shamies are the only one I've not played at 80 in a raiding environment, but I'm going to start one soon :P
* What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
Grid (and Grid_Raid_debuffs for raid frames), Decursive (cleansing tool), Classtimers (with focus frame to keep up Beacon & others at all time), Pitbull (character & target & focus & target of target frames).
* Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
Spellpower to 2000+ first, then int/crit/haste/mp5. Haste being the only one that won't help for mana regen but that will partly reduce your mobility issues.

And now I have to tag two people, always hard to do when you're late in the bandwagon .. hum ... bandcircle ? Let's give tags to two people that I like to read then.
Averna @ Nerf This Druid
One of my best druid references since Resto4Life closed.
Coriel @ Blessing of Kings
A long time Paladin blogger that I always enjoy reading.

Go to the main circle page and give a look to other healer answers, that's often reassuring and interesting, if not fun ... like this way too pink one.
Have fun healing and keeping all these little green bars up :)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Lay on Hands change (again ?)

In this forum post Ghostcrawler explained that they didn't intend to prevent Holy Paladins to use Lay on Hands on paladin tanks. I really think this change is pvp intended and that they didn't think about all the implications at first, though as discussed in my previous post Protection Paladins are still screwed, but they're considered as too strong right now so it was expected.
Here is the remedial change to this nerf, so that Holy Paladins don't feel like they nearly lost one of their tool (our best "oh sh*t" button) when healing a tankadin :
Sanctified Light: This talent now also has a 33/66/100% chance to prevent Lay on Hands from causing Forbearance when Lay on Hands is used on others.
Considering how many times LoH saved my tank (perhaps he would have survived with only a Holy Shock, but LoH sure is reassuring). I'm happy to not have to worry if I'm healing a warrior, or a paladin.

It seems that deep Holy will more and more be the biggest "toolbox" of any healing tree. With the changes to Sacred Shield and now Lay on Hands, more and more is pushed down there. It won't change much for us in term of gameplay, but I sort of feel it shows how much "problems" the uniqueness of the paladin class is giving Blizzard right now.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Valithria Dreamwalker

The Dragon Who Loved Me.
from the memories of an Icecrown raid healer

Ok, that's a completely silly and cheesy subtitle, but I can't help. That's probably the first fight in the history of WoW that puts healers in the center of the stage. Yes, during that fight the goal is not to kill something, but to heal a captured green dragon.
My healer friends, we will have to bring back this mighty dragon from 50% life to full while our raiding brethren will protect us from the enemies assaulting us and trying to prevent our task.
Isn't that so cool to be the one that will decide on the length of the fight ? Yes you've read correctly this fight is not a DPS race, it's a ... Healing Race !

Let's come to more details. Valithria Dreamwalker is the first boss of the Frostwing Halls of Icecrown Citadel and is encountered before Sindragosa. She starts the fight at 50% life, you will need to heal her while killing the adds that will spawn to stop you. Once the dragon is back to full health she will destroy all remaining adds and teleport her (and you) out of the citadel effectively ending the fight.
During the fight players can use portals created by Valithria to switch to dreamstate, and alternate plane where dreamclouds will spawn. These clouds will regenerate your mana and greatly increase your healing for a short time, you can then get out and bomb heal Valithria before going back in there. While some healers (and a few dps as the clouds have to be destroyed to give buffs) will rotate between healing & regaining mana, the rest of the raid will have to deal with all the adds.
There are 5 kinds of adds. Glutonous Abominations will be especially dangerous as they'll spawn Rot Worms when they die (8-10 in 25-Man) that will melee their target (for about 5K) and can easily OS any character that is not a tank if they gang on him. But the key of the fight will be Suppressers, a class of adds that cast a strong debuff on Valithria reducing all heals on her by 10% and effectively making the fight longer as long as they're up. In 25-Man there is 6 Suppressers per wave when this fight was tested on the PTR.
You can find some details about the abilities on the wowwiki page, or the MMO Champion page (with a nice video of the fight).

Now about tactics, my guess will be for the Valithria healing squad to switch to dream state when a wave of adds spawn, buff and regen there until the Suppressers have been killed by the raid and come back to heal Valithria with full mana and the healing bonus while not being hindered by the Suppressers healing debuff on the dragon.
Now for the classes, I think Holy Paladins and Restoration Druids will probably be the healers assigned to Valithria if you have enough of them, while Shamans and Priests will probably stay on the raid. Why ? Because their single target spam healing is probably the best of the 4 healing specs, though very mana intensive, hence the use of the dreamstate plane. Holy Light spam and Nourish spam (whith full hots active) will be hard to best.

It really looks like a very interesting fight and I'm really eager to try it, especially in 25-man where the number of adds can turn the fight from controlled to hectic in a few seconds ^^

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

New Lay on Hands & PTR build 10747

Patch 3.3 - PTR Build 10747 has hit on the Test Realms as you can read on this link to MMO-Champion news.
You can read the details from the Blues here. For us about the latest news that I talked about on October 28th, little remains from the first wave. Were they too quick to announce untested changes ? Were we vocal enough to make them reconsider ? I don't know, but the big nerf of Sacred Shield has been changed to a removal of the Flash of Light combined hot effect (that is now limited to deep Holy), and Lay on Hands is still usable on yourself, even if it now shares a CD with our other big lifesaver tools (so it only hurts pvp mostly).

The last changes that I discussed are now these on the last build:
  • Flash of Light no longer heals for an additional 100% over 12 sec if the target has the Sacred Shield effect.
  • Lay on Hands is now affected by Forbearance and can now be cast on self again - Heals a friendly target for an amount equal to the Paladin's maximum health and restores 1950 of their mana. Once healed, the target cannot be targeted by Divine Shield, Divine Protection, Hand of Protection, or Lay on Hands again for 2 min.
  • Infusion of Light now causes your Flash of Light to heal the target for an additional 50/100% over 12 sec.

I have no problem with the change to the hot effect, and very little with the slight nerf of Lay on Hands. They will nearly only affect ret pvp builds that, according to Blizzard, were too strong on the survivability side. As you know I'm a big PvE fan, for me WoW is a bad PvP game and other games around are much better suited for PvP (Warhammer or Aion anyone ?) so I don't PvP in WoW or very little. Hence yes, I'm pretty happy with this reversal.

My first Icecrown review later this week. Have fun and thank you for reading.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

afg for 2 weeks

Just to keep you informed I'll be away from the game for 2 weeks, as my job is sending me away until mid-November. I still have a few things to post, I'll try to find some time for them.
And for my guildies here and there, see you when I come back :)

Btw I'm very enthusiastic for IC ... can't wait to try the new bosses as for now all that I'm looking for are Ulduar hard modes (I love the Iron Council 3 levels of difficulty).
More on that soon, go take a look on MMO Champion if you want some spoilers about the first IC bosses.