Au revoir, Overflowing

Huge shout-out to Vall, who went out and got this screenshot for me

Ding dong, the witch is dead! And by witch I mean Overflowing affix for Mythic+ dungeons.  And by dead I mean being removed with patch 7.2.  Hooray!
For those who don’t know, Overflowing was the one healer specific affixes for Mythic+ dungeons.  Well, at least, it was supposed to be healer specific.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of the affix, it ended up only really applying to certain types of healers.

The tooltip for Overflowing reads: “Healing in excess of a target’s maximum health is instead converted to a heal absorption effect”.  Jargon aside, that basically means that any overhealing done turns into this really awful shield that absorbs the next couple of heals.  And additionally, that really awful shield doesn’t just absorb the amount of heals that went over, it absorbs 300% of the amount of overhealing.  So let’s say you accidentally overheal your tank by 300,000.  Because of Overflowing, you now have to heal through an absorption effect of 900,000 health points before your healing abilities start actually healing the tank.

The solution seems quaintly simple: don’t overheal! And while the goal of all healers everywhere is to avoid as much overhealing as possible, because of the nature of some healers’ tool kits, that goal not always successful.  Especially if, say for example, the healer stacks crit as their main secondary stat.

Let’s take my Holy paladin for example.  The stat priorities for holy paladins place crit as our number one secondary, as has been the case for quite some time.  And consequently, I’ve been doing just that; right now, I’m sitting at about 38% Critical Strike Chance. However, holy paladins also can get extra crit from multiple other sources.  These range from the 20-45% crit increase during Avenging Wrath (our main healing throughput cooldown), an additional 50% crit chance increase for Holy Shock (our primary healing ability), and a few other specific ability crit increases in our artifact talents.  Long story short, holy paladins have a lot of crit.

This huge amount of crit makes a lot of sense for our healing style.  Holy paladins, in this expansion especially, are the masters of large single target heals.  We have one area of effect heal and no heals over time to speak of, but we can single target spam like a beastie.  However, because we are experts at big, single target heals, we often overheal by a large amount on that one single target.  Especially when combined with our crit, it is not untoured for me to crit heals of 2-3 million health.  And when I’m only trying to heal someone for 1-2 million, that extra chunk of healing all becomes overhealing.

Usually, this isn’t a huge deal.  But now, enter Overflowing.

Let’s take that same scenario where I’ve healed for 2 million but only needed to heal up 1.5 million.  I’ve just done 500,00 overhealing, which translates to a 1.5 million absorption shield.  Wonderful. I’ll need to heal through that shield in order to be able to start healing my target again but if they haven’t taken damage, I run the risk of criting again and creating yet another shield.  Not a great position to be in.  I either have to throw some small, lower crit chance heals on to try to get rid of the shield or just hope that, when they do take damage, it won’t immediately drop them to 10%. And seeing as how Mythic+ dungeons are considered the ‘raiding experience’ of five mans, the damage can get rather spiky.

Or, let’s say they are taking damage and now I need to get through that shield as fast as possible to heal them up.  But I can’t heal them up too quickly because I could break through the shield, crit and overheal, and have to begin the process all over again.  It’s a constant battle with RNG.

So to avoid creating that terrible shield, I won’t heal the tank until they drop below 70%.  I won’t even apply big healing abilities until they hit 50%.  And I’ll have to pray that the damage is smooth enough that they don’t drop from 60% to 5% in the space of a few seconds.

I do proclaim! that Overflowing is the worst affix ever!

It’s an incredibly nerve wracking experience.  And especially when you start getting up to the higher level of Mythic+s, it starts becoming untenable.  I have to keep a super close eye on health bars and shields and which heals I press, along with dealing with all the other mechanics of the fight.  I’m generally a pretty competent healer but this was getting to be unfun.

Now this affix wouldn’t be ‘the witch’ if it had applied equally to all healers.  The problem was, it didn’t.  Holy paladins and holy priests dreaded Overflowing with all their being.  Resto shaman and resto druids especially loved this affix like a dear friend.  Because for them, it was like the affix didn’t even exist.

I’ve talked to a few of my resto druid friends about this (mainly to complain about how awful Overflowing is for holy paladins) but their general experience with the affix was that they’d never had an issue with it.  Because the majority of a restoration druid’s overhealing comes from the little ticks of HoTs, the shields they were getting were tiny by comparison. And those little baby shields were really quickly healed through by the continuing HoT ticks.

Talk about unbalanced.  While some healers would be working their butts off to deal with the affix, others didn’t even notice if it existed or not.  As a result, certain healing classes stopped being brought to those higher level Mythic+s.  Even in my own guild, while I knew it had nothing to do with me as a person, I stopped being asked to run mythic dungeons because I just couldn’t keep up.  And there was no comparative affix that was difficult for those other healers.

Luckily for myself and the other holy paladins and priests of the world, Overflowing is set to be removed in the coming patch. In it’s place is an affix called Grievous, with a description that reads “While below 90% health, players are afflicted with Grievous Wound”.  Obviously, I’m going to reserve final judgement until I actually get to experience the affix firsthand (after all, I did think that Overflowing could be fun at first, what a naive fool I was then). But for now, my holy paladin is satisfied.  Avoiding overhealing is a fun exercise in theory, but in practice, it ended up being a lot more stressful and uncontrollable than I ever could have expected. Can’t wait for 7.2!

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Fussypants’ Headcannons!

Wow, I never thought Yotaan of all people would get a post about RP and headcannons out before me.  He’s just not really the story-telling type, that was my job! No, it’s still my job! And now I’m going to do it! Pants style!

Most of my character start off with a set of personality traits and characteristics.  Sometimes they just at that level, no back story or name.  Name you ask? Well, the majority of my characters have a name that ends in or relates to Pants.  I’ve got Fussypants, Fancypants, Yogapants, Stancepants, and Bearbottoms to name a few.  Doesn’t really make for great RP names, does it? So, part of creating headcannons also includes picking an appropriate name that matches with the character.  Actually, this is typically the last part, once I’ve  cemented down the story.  Personality traits, then backstory, then name. Well this was a lot of exposition, now lets get to those headcannons!

WoWScrnShot_082215_174132First off, we have my main and most beloved character, Fussypants.  She’s a draenei holy and protection paladin with a strong sense of morals and compassion.  Very much the archetypal paladin, my draenei is the first person to stand up to something unjust and will put her life on the line for a righteous cause.  She’s a fierce defender of her companions but she also internalizes issues to protect those around her.

Backstory-wise, she did live on Argus but was still rather young during the exodus.  She came of age around the time the draenei landed on Draenor and joined the guard in her home town.  She was still a paladin at this point, but she relied much more heavily on her martial abilities and her trusty shield.  However, when the orcs attacked, she was badly injured and spent the rest of that war recovering in hiding.  After this experience, she became more in touch with the Light and took up the mantle of healing, though she still carries her trusty shield. When the draenei eventually escaped to Azeroth, she quickly joined up with the Stormwind army. She has, for the most part, remained in the army all the way up to the events of Warlords of Draenor.

I struggled the most with a name for her, as she is the character I am most attached to, but eventually I settled on the name Kya.  No last name yet, that will come later, but for the most part, I’ve settled upon her story.

Moving on to my next character! My gnome mage, despite being my oldest character, does not actually have a complete backstory.  Personality-wise, I know she is ingenious and resourceful.  An unwavering sense of optimism as well as a stubborn streak a mile wide means there is very little in the world that she cannot do. She is talkative and sometimes overly cheery but she is also highly dedicated to her duties and friends.  I have a working name for her of Mikri but I’m sure this will probably change once I settle on a complete backstory.

Fancypants FloatingNext up we have one of my newer toons, my human priest Fancypants.  Fancy is vain (what a surprise there!), self-centered, and incredibly presumptuous.  The rest of the world is beneath her, despite her not being particularly skilled at anything.  Now you must be thinking, this is a terrible character, why would you ever play someone like this? Well Fancypants is unusual in that her backstory actually came first, before her characteristics or name.

You see, Fancypants came from wealth, with a capital ‘W’.  The daughter of a very influential Stormwind noble, she got everything she ever wanted without having to do a thing.  She entered the Stormwind clergy but left shortly after, finding their life of prayers and public deeds boring.  Unfortunately for her, her family’s prestige and wealth was not to last.  A very public and very dirty contract ended up with her father’s title being forcibly removed and even worse, the family was now prime targets for Stormwind’s underworld.  Fancy and her siblings were all sent away for their own protection, a fact she resented immensely.  After leaving her prearranged ‘vacation’ home, she now wanders from town to town sneering at the ‘low born commoners’ and burning through the remaining bit of her inheritance.

Fancypants does not yet have a name, but you better bet your bottom dollar, it’s going to be prissy and very very rich sounding.

Elfster Gallery

Hey look, I’ve actually got some artwork I made for Elfster!

Last on the docket is a very old character of mine, my blood elf shadow priest by the name of Elfster. Look, she doesn’t have a Pants name! …Although the name she has isn’t great for RP purposes either.  Elfster… isn’t all there.  She’s got a few screws loose although she does her very best to hide it.  It probably has something to do with the whispers she hears constantly, but Elfster would never tell you about that either.  She’s accutely paranoid, extremely single minded, and highly observant.

I haven’t completely filled out all of Elfster’s backstory but I do know she is an agent working for Wrathion.  During the events of Mists of Pandaria, she was a thick as thieves with the last black dragon and personally carried out a number of missions for him.  At this point, her whereabouts are unknown but it is believed that she is somewhere in alternate Draenor.  And of course, since her backstory isn’t finished, neither is her name.

Well there you have it! Some of the backstories and headcannons I’ve put together.  None are completely finished and all could be changed dramatically but the characters themselves will probably remain the same.  I’ve actually written a few short stories about these characters which I maaaaaaaaaaaay or may not post here.  Only time will tell!

Fussypants’ Introduction to Healing

WoWScrnShot_061815_225617It’s that time in the expansion cycle.  Folks bored of their mains have decided to take up new classes or even new roles.  And you have made the excellent decision to take up healing during this expansion break. Well, you’ve come to the right place!  Welcome to Fussypants’ Introduction to Healing!

ABOUT THE GUIDE WRITER: I am a career healer through and through.  I raid regularly on a Holy Paladin and a Mistweaver Monk and semi regularly on a Discipline Priest.  I have also dabbled in Restoration Shaman healing (for Herald of the Titans runs) and Restoration Druid healing (more in PvP than PvE).  I heal raids almost exclusively and have extensive knowledge about dungeon healing.  Now, on the matter of dpsing… well it’s a good thing this is a healing guide!

WHAT IS HEALING?

In the broadest sense of the word, healing is restoring the life to your allies.  But I mean, that definition is very vague.  That sounds more like a deep philosophical thought than a job in World of Warcraft. Yes, healing is making sure your allies don’t die but it’s so much more than just that.

Healing can be best described as reacting.  Reacting to the damage going out (or that will go out) to your allies and making sure that your allies don’t die.  Healers, out of all the other parts of the trinity, have to be the most on their feet.  The damage going out can change at a moments notice and healers have to be ready to react.  Healing does not have a set rotation or a tank swap mechanic.  Sure there is an ability priority, but the spells you cast depend entirely on what is going on in the raid around you.  Healers are reactionary.

So before you ever try to seriously attempt a healing class, I would recommend taking a good look at yourself.  Do you have fast reaction times? Do you react well under pressure? Can you make decisions quickly? If you answered no to these questions, odds are you won’t find healing very enjoyable.  Healing can get frantic and chaotic and if that sort of thing stresses you out, I would say healing is probably not for you.

At this point, you are probably thinking “By gosh, this healing thing seems more terrifying that I thought!”.  But don’t worry, its really not as bad as it might sound!  I describe it this way so you know what you are getting in to.  Healing is really a completely different style of play than DPSing or tanking.  It’s not scary, its just different.

Priest HealingTHIS IS THE PART WHERE I TELL YOU HOW AWESOME HEALING IS

Healing can also be incredibly empowering. Sure, when you dps you influence the outcome of the raid, but when you heal, you actively decide it.  How and who you heal can mean the different between life and death.  Many times, you will have to make a choice between which person you save and which person you let die.  And when you do a good job healing, you can tell.  When you down a boss and no one has died because of your clutch heals, it’s an awesome sense of success.

Skill can also get you farther on a healer.  A good dps is limited really by how strong their gear is.  There is a mathematical number that dps cannot get higher than, no matter how amazing they are at their class.  But with healing, there isn’t the same sort of number cap.  I’ve been in so many raids where, despite my lower gear, I was the top healer because I casted my abilities on the right people at the right time.  Now, I’m not saying you can heal better than someone in Mythic gear when you are only in greens, but skill is a much bigger factor.

And finally, healers are highly sought after.  When you role a healer, you will have faster queues and better chances of getting into group content.  People want you.  I always joke that the reason I became a healer was the faster queues, but there is honestly a lot of truth to that!

So you have decided you want to pick up healing.  But before you jump in, here is the basics to healing.

THE LINGO

Every healing class has slightly different spells and thus slightly different acronyms and names for their spells, but here are some general terms that you will need to know.

HoTs ~ Healing over Time or Heal over Time spells.  An example of this would be a Shaman’s Riptide or a Priest’s Renew.  These heals provide a chunk of healing spread out over a period of time.
Rez ~ You probably already know the meaning of this spell, but just as a refresher, a Rez is any spell that brings a player back to life.  It cannot be cast in combat and has a relatively long cast time.  As a healer, it is generally your job to rez all the people who die once the fight is over.
LoS ~ Line of Sight.  As a healer, you have to be in the line of sight of the person you are healing.  Especially in small cramped environments this can be harder to maintain, so make sure you inform those you are healing if you can’t see them.
OOM ~ Out of Mana.  All healers require mana to cast spells and this is the acronym you use to let your group know that you need a second to drink up and get your mana back.
External ~ A damage reduction spell you can cast on other players.  Players, especially tanks, will often call for an external when they are taking a lot of damage.  Healers mainly are the ones who cast externals, so make sure you know which ones you have.  An example of an external would be a Druid’s Ironbark or a Paladin’s Hand of Sacrifice.
Absorbs ~ A healing spell that instead of returning health to a player, it puts a temporary shield on them. Absorbs do not actually heal any damage back, they prevent any future damage (for as long as the shield holds). A classic example of an absorb would be a priest’s Power Word: Shield.

Each spec will also have it’s host of lingo related to specific spells.  Generally these are just acronyms for specific spells.  An example of this would be a shaman’s HST, meaning Healing Stream Totem.

Druid HealingGENERAL HEALING TIPS

  • The tank is your top healing priority.  If a tank and a dps are both taking damage, always heal the tank first.
  • Know which heal is your ‘filler heal’ and which heal is your ‘oh shoot heal’.  Every class has a slow cast low mana ‘filler’ heal and a fast cast high mana ‘oh shoot’ heal- know which is which and use the ‘filler heal’ when there is less or predictable damage going out and the ‘oh shoot heal’ when there is high or bursty damage.
  • Don’t be afraid to use your cooldowns! In fact, pop them often and early.  If you always save your healing cooldowns, you will find yourself at the end of the fight without ever using them.
  • When you don’t need to be casting healing spells, don’t be.  Overhealing can be a real problem so in the effort of conserving mana, only cast healing spells if people are damaged or are about to be.
  • Carry mana potions or drinks on you at all times. Managing mana is a huge part of being a healer so you need to have supplies to get your mana back
  • Pay attention to your environment.  Healers can often fall into the trap of tunnel visioning those little green bars but often times, what is going on in the game world can be the cause of damage.
  • Dispel all things. With a few exceptions (and these are mainly raid mechanics), if you can dispel something, do it.  This will save you mana in the long run.

Each healing class heals in a different way. Here is a brief little run down to help you decide which class is for you!

The powah!!

Holy Paladin

Holy Paladins excel at single target and burst healing.  With their Beacon of Light, paladins make excellent tank healers and are very strong in smaller groups. Holy paladins heal mainly by casting medium sized single target heals (Holy Shock and Holy Light) quickly on a number of targets.  They also have a secondary resource called Holy Power, generating it with Holy Shock and spending it with Light of Dawn and Word of Glory.  Paladins have amazing burst capabilities with Avenging Wrath and when played correctly, rarely ever have mana issues.

The biggest strength of a paladin healer is their single target healing. They are arguable the best dungeon healers and are very strong tank healers.  Paladins also bring Devotion Aura and their Hand spells to the table, which are fantastic at preventing or reducing damage.

Holy paladins are weak at multiple target healing. Their multiple target heals are less effective than the other healing classes so they cannot heal up a number of people at the same time.  Sustained raidwide damage is the hardest type of damage for them to heal through.

Holy Paladins are a nice mix of reactionary and preemptive healers.  Their burst and single target allows them to quickly return someone to full health but their damage reduction spells are best when casted before damage goes out.  Also, their mastery makes it beneficial for them to heal targets even when they are at full health if damage is eminent.

As a paladin healer, I would recommend this class highly for newer healers.  The spell priority is easy to learn and plate armor means that paladins are less squishy than the other healers. Holy paladins are the easiest to pick up yet can be highly customized by their glyphs and talents.

And I mean, I’m kinda biased because this is my main.

Mistweaver Monk

Mistweaver Monks are arguably the most unique healing class in game right now.  Unlike every other class, they channel Soothing Mist on a target and can instantly cast Surging Mist and Enveloping Mist during the channel.  They ‘weave’ this in with casting Renewing Mist, a HoT that jumps from player to player across the raid.  The last major ability they have is Uplift, which heals all the players who currently have Renewing Mist on them.  Mistweavers have a secondary resource called Chi which they generate via Surging and Renewing Mist and spend with Enveloping Mist and Uplift.  The Mistweaver playstyle is highly mutable, depending on which talents you take, making the spec very customized.

Mistweavers are very strong multiple target healers but also have very strong burst on a single target.  Their big cooldown, Revival, is incredibly powerful and can bring a group from almost dead to full health. They also can earn back mana through their Mana Tea.

Mistweavers struggle in sustained single target healing.  While they can burst very high, it is not sustainable for long amounts of time.  Mistweavers are also generally harder to learn than other healing specs, and switching between single and multiple target healing can take some getting used to.

Mistweavers are mostly reactionary healers. They can respond almost instantly to damage with their instant casts and big burst.  But they also can sustain a low amount of healing almost indefinitely in between damage spikes.

Mistweaver healing is one of my favorite styles of healing outside of paladining.  The playstyle is truly unique and the talents offer a lot of customization.  And I will forever be an advocate for Fistweaving as I think melee dpsing to heal is one of the coolest things ever.  However, I would recommend trying out a different healing class before monk.  The playstyle can be very hard to get down and mana is an ever present issue.

Discipline Priest

Discipline Priests are the masters of absorbs.  Through their various shield spells, they can prevent damage on multiple targets or give their allies a few more seconds of life.  Discipline priests are best when healing with other healers due to the nature of their absorb spells.  A discipline priest’s big ability is Power Word: Shield and their single target healing comes mainly from their Penance and Heal spell.  The last major ability disc priests have is a spell called Archangel.  A free crit on a 30 second cooldown, Archangel greatly augments the disc priest’s ability to heal groups.

Discipline priests are very strong at preventing damage, so they are not particularly powerful in single target or multiple target healing.  They simply make it so that damage never lands in the first place.

As such, Disc priests are very preemptive healers.  Since they work to keep damage from ever happening, disc priest require a deeper knowledge of fights.  They heal best when they know when the damage is coming.

Discipline priests, when played right, can be extremely powerful healers.  The playstyle is very fast paced and rewarding. While this was nerfed pretty hard in Warlords, they also can theoretically heal by damaging their foes via Atonement (although this is not very powerful).  The disc priest is an easy healing class to pick up but I would recommend choosing a different class to start out with healing.  Because disc priests heal in such a different playstyle, they do not teach the the habits that most other traditional healers use.  All the same, it’s a very fun class to try out!

Big thanks to Cloud for the discipline priest edits! There’s a reason why you are our guild’s top healer!

I have a LOT of healing screenshots

I have a LOT of healing screenshots

Restoration Druid

Restoration Druids are slow and steady, as they maintain HoTs on a number of players.  They have high mobility and low cast times and can sustain their healing for a very long time.  Resto druids also benefit from a host of talents that allow them to change their style of healing, depending on the encounter. They really are the Jack-of-all-Trades for healers.

Because resto druids heal primarily through HoTs, they excel at sustained healing.  Resto druids are also very powerful multiple target healers and have a very strong healing cooldown in Tranquility.  And, when played right, they rarely struggle from mana issues.

However, resto druids are weak at burst healing.  They cannot maintain single target high intensity healing for very long before they run out of mana.  Druids also have a large number of abilities which can be harder to maintain.

Preemptive healing is the resto druid’s forte. While it might be tempting to spam Regrowth, resto druids perform best when they allow their HoTs to ramp up and heal over time.  Just like disc priests, a deeper knowledge of the fights and when damage will be going out is important to resto’s success.

Resto druids have a variety of builds available to them, which allow them to customize their heals like almost no other class.  So if one build does not work for you, another might.  And especially in some of the high movement fights, resto’s ability to move and maintain their healing make them very valuable and very powerful.  Resto druids are a good entry level healing class as well, but it is important to remember that they heal preemptively instead of reactionary.

Big thanks to GenVG, Serephita, and Glar for the resto druid information! They were the source of all the resto information found within (as I am not familiar enough with the class to provide such info)

Restoration Shaman

Restoration shamans have a good blend of active and passive healing.  They have a few HoTs but they also have many abilities that require active casting.  Shaman have a toolkit that allows them to ‘set and forget’ to heal lower priority targets while they focus on those taking more damage.  Their toolkit allows them to adapt to a variety of situations.

Shaman are amazing at large group healing.  With a variety of multiple target heals, they excel at keeping large numbers of players up.  Resto shaman shine especially when players are stacked up in one spot.

On the flip side, shaman are very weak at small group and single target healing.  Their abilities are designed to blanket an entire raid group and they simply do not have a lot of spells to quickly heal up a single target.

Shaman are also very reactionary healers.  They see the damage going out, thrown down the appropriate totem, and begin healing up the damage.  They have little in the area of damage prevention which means all of their healing happens after damage has already been taken.

As the resident shaman healing in my guild puts it, resto shaman are communist healers.  They share all their healing with everyone and excel at healing everyone all at once.  Shaman also rarely have mana problems, allowing them to really pump out good numbers.  Shaman healers are a very good candidate for beginner healers as their toolkit is easy to pick up.

Big thanks to <oTQ>’s resident shaman healer Worldhopper for all the shaman advice! Again, I did not know this class well enough so all this information is courtesy of her!

Holy Priest

Holy priests are the very image of what comes to mind when you say ‘healer’.  All of their spells outright heal up a target- little of that absorbs or HoT business for these priests.  Holy is very much the Jack-of-all-Trades, having a tool for almost every single situation.  Holy priests also have powerful healing cooldowns and great proc synergy if played correctly.

Holy priest’s greatest strength lies in that it has a heal for almost every situation.  It has two direct single target heals (Heal and Flash Heal), three multiple target heals (Prayer of Healing, Binding Heal, and Circle of Healing), a set and forget reaction heal (Prayer of Mending), a HoT (Renew), an absorb (Power Word: Shield), a very powerful ‘oh shoot!’ button (Guardian Spirit), the healing spells granted by each Chakra, and two powerful long cooldown heals (Lightwell and Divine Hymn).  Holy priests have the spell for every occasion, the trick is deciding in a split second which spell is best.

However, Holy’s strength can also become it’s weakness. There is a very high skill barrier in learning which spells to use when.  Often times, poor spell choices result in going OOM rather quickly.  Holy priests need to know the damage pattern of the fight very well or be super quick on their feet.  Holy priests have all the tools, it’s learning how and when to use them.

Because holy’s heals directly replace heal that has been lost, holy is a very reactionary style of healing.  There are a few abilities that you can preemptively toss out but most of holy’s healing comes after the damage has been dealt.

Holy is very much the iconic healing class.  Heck, half of their spells have the word ‘Heal’ in it! But don’t let this fool you. Holy is a very complex and very versatile healing spec that, when played correctly, can really pump out the healing.  While it is not the simplest healing class to pick up, it has the most tools for each situation.  Also I mean Spirit of Redemption is kinda awesome fun!

Big thanks to Cloud, resident priest in my guild for providing me with knowledge on Holy healing!

I hope this guide proved useful to all you up and coming healers out there! While this was a beginners guide to healing, I would also strongly recommend visiting Icy Veins for more in detail explanation of each class.

Good luck and may all your bars be full of green!

Speculations about Specializations

WoWScrnShot_092015_204342Somewhat of a bomb was dropped at Dragon Con a few months ago but it seems many people did not hear about it.  To sum up what happened, Blizzard had a panel at the Con where they dropped a boatload of information about Legion.  The piece of information we want to focus on today is this (from MMO Central Event’s Live Twitter of the panel).

The overhaul of specs was to be expected as this often happens every expansion.  But the interesting piece of news was the renaming of the specs.  Currently, none of the specs in game have been renamed.

Fussypants: While I was at first a little shocked by the decision I’ve come to understand why Blizzard wants to rename specs.  As it currently stands we a good number of specs that share a name with another spec from a different class.  There are:

Frost Mages and Death Knights
Holy Paladins and Priests
Protection Paladins and Warriors
Restoration Druids and Shamans

While I know there are undoubtedly people who are super attached to the name of their spec, I am ok with changing a few so that every class has 3 unique specs.  And I would say I do have a horse in this race because I extensively play two of the specs which have two classes.

What would I like to see changed?
First and foremost, I think Holy Paladins could become Templar Paladins.  I mean, even the name sounds pretty cool! Templar.  Templar. Let lame Holy Priests keep the name ‘Holy’ (I kid, you guys aren’t lame.  But the name Holy fits your class better than it does for paladins).
Protection Paladins could become Crusader Paladins or Protection Warriors could be renamed Vanguard Warriors, since both would also fit with their themes.  I could see Frost Mages becoming Ice Mages (but I don’t know enough about Frost Death Knights to suggest a name Change).
Restoration Druids and Shamans is a harder one for me to pick a name (as I do not play that class as much as I play the others).  Spiritmender could be a cool name for Shaman Healers perhaps….

Overall, I think its a good idea to switch up the specs every expansion, names, mechanics, the lot.  Sure, some changes aren’t as successful, but some gameplay styles become so much more fun after a revamp.  It’s good for the game to keep changing so it doesn’t stagnate and decline.  Also, I really want Templar Pallies now.  Templaaaaaaaar.

Yotaan:
Now, Blizzard is trying to differentiate the specs more to fit the fantasy tropes they represent.  Some are I little less straightforward than others.  Some are vague and greatly changed from their original name.  Enhancement shaman come to mind instantly.  They are clearing the melee spec of the shaman class, but how can one name them…  A review of the class shaman faction doesn’t help.  The only option is “Earthfury” which doesn’t make much sense.   A Windfury shaman is a possibility, but limiting the name to one single spell doesn’t really fly.  I do like keeping Elemental the same name, it does fit the class and theme.  I also like Fussypant’s suggestion of Spiritmender.
Rogues could use a change.  Assassination is perfect and Subtlety I do think works.   Combat is nonspecific and could use a change.  Assassination  uses poisons to kill.  Subtlety bursts out of the darkness in an overwhelming attack.  Combat fights?  I suggest Blizzard embraces the “pirate” theme – the swashbuckling fencing master.  There are lots of choices there and the best is Privateer (the paid pirate mercenary.)
Warriors need a rework, but it’s not complicated.  Fury stays fury, as its the icon of the bloodthirsty berserker.  Arms would become Armsmaster, the ultimate weapon master.  Protection would be Vanguard.  There we go, (brushes off hands.)

What spec names would you guys like to see changed?

Shields or no Heals

WoWScrnShot_082215_174132With sure steps, the heroic paladin dashes over the open field.  Her exotic build and glowing eyes mark her as one of the noble race of Draenei.  And her heavy plate armor embedded with crystals further denotes her as a paladin.  Across the expanse, the paladin charges to a fallen comrade.  She kneels down and quickly casts a healing spell upon her ally.  The figure stirs as it’s wounds begin to heal.
But the enemy is not gone! With a bloodthirsty shout, the orc raises it’s axe to behead the righteous paladin.  The draenei swiftly raises her arm, but instead of a protecting shield like usual, she carries a rather useless tome.  The orc’s axe carves right through the book and into the paladin and she is slain.
“Back again?” The spirit healer questions.
“Yeah,” answers the draenei glumly, “I can’t take any hits anymore without dying.”
“While I might not be an expert, I would really recommend investing in a shield,” offered the spirit healer.
“Yeah, but this book has got such better stats! It’s even Warforged!” counters the draenei.
“Honey, Holy Paladins just aren’t meant to use books.  Ignore the stats and go back to your shield.  You’ll thank me later,” the spirit healing wisely advised, “Or rather, you won’t because you and I will barely ever meet.”
“Thanks for the advice Mrs. Spirit Healer!”
“Any time Fussypants.”
The draenei returns to the living world.  But before she charges once more into battle, she pulls out her trusty shield and returns it to her arm where it belongs.  With a satisfied smile, Fussypants once more ventures forth to heal her allies.

There are very few stipulations I have when I play Warcraft.  I’ll play every race and almost every class.  I’ll play any faction on any realm.  I’ll play any role and any part of the game.  But what I will not do, is wield an offhand other than a shield on my holy paladin.

It’s just not right.  Holy paladins are the protectors of the light and of the injured.  And we can’t go about protecting when we’ve got some pathetic lantern dangling at our side.  A holy paladin needs her trusty shield.  That shield saves her life while she saves the lives of others.

But Fussypants, you might be thinking, paladins use Librams which are books! Surely you can transmog a book offhand! Yes it is true that paladins carry librams.  However, if you remember back, the libram didn’t replace the shield.  It was alongside of it.  Paladins can carry books, that I don’t care about.  But they have to carry that shield.  Book or no book, the shield must be there.

And if you are thinking about the BC cinematic as an example of a paladin libram, let me point out to you that that is Maraad, who is a ret paladin.  I honestly don’t care what those good for nothing but face smashing melee boys are up to, I speak only about holy paladins.  And holy paladins must use a shield.

The stats are of no importance to me.  If it ain’t a shield, I ain’t wearing it.  This is why, to the chagrin of my guild, I continue to wear my ilvl 670 shield instead of the 691 offhand that I have.  I cannot disgrace my holy paladin with that disgusting offhand.

Holy paladins are meant for shields, just like peanut butter is meant for for jelly.  Sure you can have them apart, but they aren’t as good.  And you certainly can’t pair mayonnaise with peanut butter, it’s gotta be the jelly.  Just as holy paladins can go offhand-less (not as good) but they can’t use a book (nasty). With the shield, paladins become an amazing juggernaut of healing power!

This is where I draw my line and not even the Naaru can move me.  Holy Paladins must have shields.  In order to heal those we care about, we must be able to protect ourselves!
#ShieldsornoHeals

(Yes, I wrote this whole thing to validate keeping my shield on my paladin.  Sometimes I don’t get why my guild still keeps me on the raid team :P)

Transmog Time: Fashion Fusion

I love mixing and matching different ‘official’ gear sets. And apparently, this is a cardinal sin of transmog but I especially love mixing sets from different expansions. Sometimes, one can really tell the age difference of those pixels. But every so often, I get it right. And what I create is a great fusion of two different eras of WoW.

Today’s sets aren’t entirely fusion sets but a good number are! I am featuring a lot of plate and cloth after the leather heavy last article. Without further ado, here they are!

1 Purple CasterDraenor Spellcaster

I always loved the cloth BoA set that the garrison Bunker/Mill sold. However, I was not as big a fan of the rather revealing nature of the robes from that set. And on the other hand, I’ve always loved this chest model from BC. So I took pieces from both and fused them together! I think this one turned out really nicely! Since both are from ‘Draenor’ of sorts, it keeps with the extraterrestrial and rugged theme. The pieces of set should be very easy and inexpensive to obtain, which is another bonus!

The chest piece can come in either robe or shirt model, which lets you choose if you want to wear a skirt or pants.

Chest: Eternal Chestguard (shirt)                or: Eternal Wraps (robe)

Pants: Shadowmoon Leggings                   Shoulder: Shadowmoon Shoulderguards 

Head: Shadowmoon Cowl                          Hands: Eternal Gloves

Feet: Eternal Boots                                     Waist: Shadowmoon Sash


 

 

2 Iron Pally Iron Paladin

This set unfortunately is restricted to paladins only, which is a shame because it’s such a great plate set. I mixed WoD PvP gear with a personal favorite of mine- the Overlord plate set. The result was a more rugged (might I say… savage?) paladin set that works great for displaying tabards. I picked the Shado Pan tabard because the colors contrasted nicely, but any tabard would work well.

Chest: Overlord’s Chestplate                                      Pants: Overlord’s Legplates

Head: Overlord’s Crown                                              Wrists: Overlord’s Vambraces

Waist: Primal Gladiator’s Girdle of Victory                  Tabard: Shado-Pan Tabard

Shoulder: Primal Gladiator’s Scaled Shoulders (paladin only)

Hands: Primal Gladiator’s Scaled Gauntlets (paladin only)

Feet: Primal Gladiator’s Warboots of Prowess

 


3 Draenei Mage SetAldor Sorcerer

I almost didn’t want to share this next set; I liked it that much. But since I love you guys that much, I will show you the Best Transmog for Draenei Mages Evah™. The set is a mix of BC tiers with a WoD staff added in. I absolutely love the colors and mageyness and I think the set actually looks good on any race! (But best on draenei). And excepting the head, the rest of the set is not class restricted!

 

Chest: Robes of Effervescent Light               Shoulder: Mana-Sphere Shoulderguards   

Head: Cowl of the Tempest (mage only)       Hands:   Energis Armwraps

Feet: Silent Slippers of Meditation                 Waist: Oracle Belt of Timeless Mystery

Staff: Sol’s Magestaff (Normal mode drop)


4 Silver and Gold PallyRadiant Light

This was another one of those ‘I want to keep this all to myself’ sort of sets, but I decided to post it all the same. I’m sure versions of this have been done before, but I really, really like this one that I made. It’s everything that a paladin should be: radiant, glorious, and shiny. And you guessed it; it’s also paladin restricted.

Chest: Breastplate of Radiant Glory (paladin only)          Feet: Pillarfoot Greaves

Shield: Skyguardian’s Shield                                           Sword: Azuresong Mageblade

Pants: Vicious Gladiator’s Scaled Legguards (paladin only)

Shoulder: Vicious Gladiator’s Scaled Shoulders (paladin only)

Hands:   Vicious Gladiator’s Scaled Gauntlets (paladin only)

Waist: Vicious Gladiator’s Clasp of Cruelty (paladin only)


5 Blue Cowled MageWizard in Blue

I’ve always loved the style of the Tier 4 Mage set, but I try not to transmog an entire tier. So I took bits and pieces of the PvP recolor, matched it with a classic robe, and voila! I like the simplicity and mystery as well as the color coordination of this one! (And yes, this is mage only)

Chest: Robes of Shame              Shoulder: Merciless Gladiator’s Silk Amice (mage only)

Waist: Veteran’s Silk Belt             Head: Merciless Gladiator’s Silk Cowl (mage only)

Hands: Merciless Gladiator’s Silk Handguards (mage only)

Feet: Veteran’s Silk Footguards


6 Golden WarriorGolden Fire

And last but not least, an oldie but goodie! Two versions for you to mix and match with! (And no class restrictions)

Chest: Conqueror’s Breastplate                      or: Hyperion Armor

Pants: Legplates of Blazing Light                   Shoulder: Replica Lightforge Spaulders

Head: Crown of Empowered Fate

Feet: Magma Tempered Boots                       Weapon: Blade of the Titans

Hands: Heretic’s Gauntlets                             or: Fiery Plate Gauntlets 

Waist: Hyperion Girdle                                   or: Girdle of the Fallen Crusader

 

 

Lots of paladin, mage, and PvP gear this time round! I think my next challenge will be to create some good mail sets since that is the one type of gear I haven’t hit yet.

What do you think of these? Any suggestions or improvements you would recommend?

 

The State of Healing

Healing dungeons with my guildies

Healing dungeons with my guildies

You knew it was coming.  The inevitable.  The inescapable.  The healing article for Warlords.
Duh duh duhhh!

As  you probably already guessed, I’ve been doing a lot of healing recently.  Up until two days ago, I was the only healer in our guild at max level.  So I was healing just about every dungeon we ran. My gear is far from great due to my forever terrible loot drops, so for the majority of my healing I was around 600 ilvl.  And because of this, I have only healed normals.

My first reaction to healing, is that is hard.   A lot harder than it ever was in Pandaria, even in the beginning (I started healing in MoP, so I’m not sure how hard it was compared to earlier expansions).  There’s a lot more button mashing frantic spamming than I remembered. However, I noticed five big things with healing, that both made it harder and easier.

Number One: Less deaths
Maybe this was just me and I’ve mastered my pally this well, but there were a lot less deaths.  Near death accidents? Oh plenty.  But full on deaths? Not as common.  A combination of a decrease in spike damage and my Lay on Hands spell seems to help prevent the issue.  I have the time to react and throw out an appropriate heal.  Death isn’t as sudden and unavoidable as it once was. And this I really, really like.  I feel like I’m getting the chance to make a difference.  If someone screws up on mechanics, there is now a small window of time where I can save them.
I’m liking this less death thing.

Number Two: Less Spike Damage
I’ve definitely noticed this one; there is less spike damage.  No longer does the tank drop from 100% to 25% within a second.  Damage is steady and predicable.  But I’m not saying there is less damage, in fact I’d argue there’s more.  Damage is high but steady and sometimes heals alone cannot power through it.  There have been plenty of bosses where my heals simply could not spam through the damage and I have to pop some sort of cooldown.  My Gift of the Naaru has gotten quite a lot of use this past couple of weeks.  It takes more cooldown mastery instead of blink luck to keep people alive now.
I’m liking the less spike damage, but managing all my cooldowns can be stressful.  So I’d say this one’s in the middle for me.

The powah!!

The Powah!!

Number Three: Cooldowns are a lot more Powerful
In Mists, popping a healing cooldown on my paladin was a little boost to my healing but more meter padding.  I could feel a little increase in power, but not much.  Not now.  Now, when I pop my cooldown, its like I’m unleashing my inner angel of healing.  I grow larger, get freakin’ wings, and can heal like a beast.  For that brief space in time, nothing can kill my party members.  A couple of my AoEs and they are at full health.  Cooldowns are last resort, super charged moments of awesomeness.  And I absolutely love it!
But this is a double edged sword.  Sure, I have a button of awesomeness, but it has a three minute cooldown.  And I only have one button of awesomeness.  It’s really my last resort button because if I push it too early, we all can die later when I truly need it.
I have to say, I’m really digging this new powerful single cooldown thing!

Number Four: Mana Isn’t too big a Deal
I think I’ve only gone oom mid fight twice out of dozens of boss fights.  All my single target heals barely cost any mana.  Even when I spam Flash of Light on a tank, I don’t lose too much of that blue bar.  What really drains my mana is when I cast my AoE over and over again.  That’s when I go oom, and when everything falls to pieces.  This mana cost has effectively gotten rid of AoE mashing for a whole fight.  I will admit, it definitely took some getting used to after the AoE spamfest that was SoO.  But its admittedly more fun.  You gotta plan which heal to use instead of AoEing for all damage.  Sure, you still can AoE and it still will heal up everything but then you run out of mana.  And with spirit and mana regen spells gone, then you are kinda screwed.  You gotta know your spells and know your cooldowns.
I am really really liking this change!

Number Five: Some Fights are Very Movement Heavy
There are some fights that are extremely movement heavy.  As a  healer, I sometimes have to move constantly.  And with the decreased amount of instant casts, this is somewhat of a problem.  I often can’t stop to shoot off a heal, because if I do I’ll be dead or falling off something.  But if I don’t shoot off a heal, my party members will die.  It’s this wicked struggles, and I haven’t quite figured out the trick.  My fights with the most wipes are the ones with the most movement.  Ner’zhul and That Guy On The Train come to mind right away as some of my least favorite fights because of this.  Perhaps, as my gear improves and my one instant cast spell gets more powerful this will be less of a problem, but right now I’m struggling.
This change is not my favorite.

All in all, healing seems to have moved to become more cooldown and spell mastery than spirit stacking and AoEing.  And, even though its a lot harder I’m liking it more.  No, this is not me being elitist (I am far too lazy and goof off too much 😛 ) but me knowing what is best for me as a healer.  This new style of healing has kept me on my toes.  I’m relearning cooldowns and honing my reaction times.  I’m becoming a better healer and overcoming the difficulties.

Also as a side note, Proving Grounds Silver for heals, a total snooze-fest! I was able to two shot it (the first time failing due to a buggy mechanic) without busting out any cooldowns.  I will have to go back and try out gold, but that was super easy!  And a pretty bad preparation for dungeons unfortunately.

This has all been from the perspective of a holy paladin, so other healing specs might find they have different experiences.  I have not gotten the chance to level my druid or priest, so I’m going from this one view.  What has been your experiences with healing of any class?