The Priest Campaign: Second Rate Paladins?

Off to save the priests! …or something like that

A pain-medication addled Pants once said “Priests are like lamer paladins”. While my love of the paladin class is pretty insurmountable, I probably wasn’t being completely fair in my assessment; even I have to admit that Discipline is pretty intriguing and Shadow’s class fantasy can’t be beat. And, I certainly didn’t want Blizzard to agree with me. Unfortunately, it seem like that is exactly what they did.

Over the weekend, I finally sat down and finished up the Priest Order Hall Campaign. I’ve done quite a few of the class hall campaigns now, but I have to say, this one ranked among the… least well done. And that’s putting it generously.

Firstly, there was the artifact quest chains. The Shadow quest chain was fine, I suppose, but having it take place in the same location as the holy paladin one (especially because I did the paladin one first) made it come off as a rehash. However, there was bits of good lore there so, overall, I thought it was the strongest of the three. The Holy quest chain was, quite frankly, forgettable. There was no ‘hoorah, I’m a priest, biyotches!‘ moment; it felt like a run of the mill side quest.

The Discipline quest though, hoo boy. I guess that series was my first warning sign of what was to come. Not only was it poorly done, it didn’t even seem to connect to priest lore in the slightest. Why am I going to the Nexus for a holy weapon? Isn’t the Scarlet Crusade involved in this one? The strange and ill-suited tie-ins to the balance between the Light and the Void, too, were thematically out of place with the rest of that strange, strange questline. The whole experience was just… discombobulated.

I liked the tunnel… that was pretty much it

Alright well, I have my weapons now, maybe it gets better from here? But no, no it doesn’t. What follows was a series of quests in which I flew all around kingdom come, gathering an army of generic and uninspiring “champions” that perhaps were big figures in priest lore, but I’d certainly never heard of them. Something about some void lady? Also, randomly saving a member of the Scarlet Crusade (I guess I finally got my crusade on). And murlocs?? There didn’t seem to be any clear motivation or end goal.

Somewhere in the middle of that mess, Velen pays a visit to the class hall and starts spouting words of wisdom. Now, I’m generally a big Velen fan, him being the leader of the draenei and all, but I don’t think he could have been more unhelpful if he tried. He literally shows up, tells us some run of the mill prophecy, and peaces out again, leaving poor Alonsus Faol to worry about the implications of the predictions. And worry he does, the man spends the rest of the campaign wringing his hands about it.

We haven’t even gotten to the good part yet. No, at this point, as lame as it is, I suppose the priest are still somewhat self sufficient. That very quickly goes out the window.

The Legion, who’s been hunting down our homebase, the Netherlight Temple, for millennia apparently, discover where the priests are hiding out and prepare to launch an all out assault. In anticipation of this, the priests mobilize… and go running straight to the paladins for help.

No, I’m not kidding. Our gung-go, shining moment of class fantasy involves us cowering behind our more heavily armored brothers and sisters in plate.

There’s a couple of rather demeaning quests in which you, the priest, are pretty much an ineffective bystander as the paladin class hall leaders debate if they even want to help out the priests, before deciding, yeah, we should maybe give those guys a hand. The paladins then devise the entire battle plan and effectively lead the charge, with the priest player character tailing behind like a younger sibling.

Don’t leave without me!

The final battle is going pretty well until, surprise, the demons cheat. But never fear, the paladins are here! One of the paladin class champions, Lothraxion, jumps out of nowhere, providing the crucial interrupt, and you quickly finish off the lead demon Balnazzar. Hooray, we’ve saved the day! But really you just hung in the back and cheered as the paladins saved the day!

What a big darned hero.

My favorite was when all the NPCs kept referring to me as a paladin, because the priests never do anything proactive, right? (I do believe this was a bug, but it’s been a long time since this launched and it hasn’t yet been fixed)

Having done that exact same scenario on both my paladin and my priest, I have to say, it’s a wildly different experience. Rather than creating an equal partnership between the two orders, it definitely feels like one comes in to carry the other. On the paladin side, that’s pretty awesome; you go in and get to save your defenseless allies who couldn’t otherwise do so. On the priest side, it’s incredibly belittling; you can’t even defend your own temple so you end up begging your friends for help. Even I, as a die-hard paladin player, can recognize that this was not the best way to go about it. As much as I find priests to be the more boring of the two classes, they deserved a better story than that.

My other big pet peeve was that the priest story pretty much seemed to be all Holy Light-based. There was lots of human and dwaren priest flavor, with a little bit of draenei thrown in there for good measure, and no one else’s. No Loa, no Anshe, no nothing other than plain ol’ light-Light. The campaign would have been a great place to delve into all the different flavors of the class, and that just did not happen. Missed opportunity in my opinion, and I even play a human priest!

Going hand in hand with that, the Shadow side of the priest lore was pretty sorely underdeveloped. There was a lot of emphasis on balance and whatnot, but while it was pretty clear what was going on Light-side, the Void-side of affairs was never fleshed out. How exactly does the Cult of the Forgotten Shadows operate? Are there different flavors of void users out there? I wanted to find more shades of grey but if anything, the priest campaign almost worked to convince me that balance is overrated and the Light should be unequivocally embraced.

I don’t know what happened with the priest class campaign. Did Blizzard run out of time? Did they have this grand idea that didn’t work so well in execution? Does Blizzard just hate priests? In any case, the result was pretty clear, even to me as someone who’s more of a tourist priest than anything; in an expansion based around class fantasy, priests got the short end of the stick.

But hey, priest gameplay is actually pretty solid, so there is that.

Where did all the furniture go?

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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?

Tin Foil Hat: What is the Light?

Priest Healing
Warning: What you are about to read is pure speculation, a Tin Foil Hat article if you will, about the nature of Light and Magic in World of Warcraft.  Please do not take this as 100% true fact until you hear Blizzard themselves confirm or deny it.

Last night my guildies and I had a very interesting and speculative conversation about the Light in World of Warcraft.  It all started off with a discussion of Sylvanas (as all good conversations do).

As the lore goes, Sylvanas was first killed by Arthas during the Third War and then resurrected as a banshee.  Her first experience with the afterlife was peaceful, comforting, and warm. When Arthas was killed at the end of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, Sylvanas jumped off of Icecrown Citadel to her death.  However, this second experience with the after life was starkly different.  It was dark, painful, and terrifying.

These two versions of the afterlife (Azerothian Heaven and Hell) seem to be connected with the Light since Sylvanas was a High Elf originally (and the High Elves were believers in the Light).  So it is safe to say that the second time Sylvanas died, the Light had abandoned her.  But this begs the question, why?

Was it because Sylvanas did evil things in her second life? Or was it purely because she had been raised by necromancy and the Light had deserted her right after that regardless of her own morality?

Pulling evidence from other Light users in the game lore, neither option seems to be the answer.

The Scarlet Crusade is many things, but morally right is not one of them.  They commit acts of murder, torture, and worse.  However, the Light has not abandoned them.  In fact, the Light is one of their principle tools for wrong-doing.

Or another instance, the Blood Elves.  Their Light practicing started out with them literally sucking the Light out of a Naaru like vampires.  They stole and slowly killed Muru but were still able to wield that Light energy.

So is the Light simply a tool? Is there no morality, no good and evil attached to it?  Wielded by the Scarlet Crusade, the Light seems more akin to the Force of the Star Wars franchise.  But then that means Sylvanas was abandoned to the light because she was resurrected by corrupting necromancy.

This would make more sense when compared to other instances of Light abandonment.  Take for example, Nobundo.  Nobundo was a paladin fighting against the orcs in the original timeline.  However, exposure to Fel magics caused the light to abandon him and he turned to shamanism.  So there is yet another example of the Light abandoning because of corrupting forces.

But there is still a wrinkle here that hasn’t been explained.  What qualifies as a corrupting force? How much exposure must a Light user have to corruption before the Light leaves them?  And why is the Light so different between races?

The Blood Elves bear the fel taint in their very eyes, but they can still use the Light.  However, the Broken have been exposed to fel and their connection is cut off.  Night elven priests wield the Light of Elune (the Moon) whereas Tauren priests pull from An’she (the Sun).  And what about Pandaren priests??

The more you look at it, the more inconsistent the Light seems to become.  So many different races use so many different Lights and all of them have slightly different rules.

Is it possible… is it possible that there are different Lights?

But how?
PrismWhat if there was a spectrum of ‘Light’ and every race pulled from a different part of that spectrum?

That way all Light users are using the Light, but each Light they channel is slightly different.  Because of the cultures of the races, they are more attuned to pulling a different ‘flavor’ of Light.

What if all magic was that way? All part of a spectrum of Magic with Light being just one ‘color’?

Imagine that magic in Warcraft is white light reflecting through a prism.  So we have warlock, priest, shaman, druid, death knight, and mage magic are all different colors on the spectrum but essentially all part of the same rainbow.  The rainbow of magic (oh how corny).

But if that’s the case, then what is the white light?  What type of magic can be broken down into all of these varied forms.  I would argue that it is Arcane.

When you think about it, every type of magic except arcane is modeled off of a natural phenomenon or element.  Fire, Water, Shadow, they are all mimicry of a real thing in the world.  But Arcane is the only one that is not.  Arcane is not corrupting, nor does it copy an element in the world.  Arcane seems to be the pure form of magic.

However, once you add the ‘prism’, Arcane magic can be broken down into many different colors of magic.  So, within arcane magic, you can find the magics of every other class in game.

This can also help to explain why different races seem to use slightly different variations of the name magics.  That is because they are pulling from different ‘shades’ of one color of magic.
Going back to light magic, Draenei, trolls, and Pandaren are all pulling from the part of the rainbow of magic that contains Light magic, but they pull from different colors of that spectrum.  So for example, if Light were yellow, the Trolls might pull more of a green yellow color while Draenei pull more of a orange yellow and Pandaren pull the true yellow.

This can also explain why certain magic users seem to overlap in their magic types.  Mages, Shaman, and Druids might pull from ranges of the spectrum that overlap, but they do not pull the exact same colors.

A races’ society and natural adeptness influences what types of magic they can pull from the spectrum of magic.  And this spectrum is what creates the varied forms of magic throughout the World of Warcraft.

/end Tin foil hat

Patch 6.0: Iron Tide or Iron Puddle?

https://i1.wp.com/bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/blog_header/mg/MGD943QHKTJS1413251328414.jpgIts been about a week since the patch dropped, which is a long enough time to come up with an informed and not knee-jerk reaction to the changes.  So here it is; Fussypants and Yotaan’s responses.

Fussypants: To sum up the entire patch experience for me… lackluster.  Before I sound like some whiner on the forums though, let me explain.

This is what I saw when I first logged in.  My poor action bars!

This is what I saw when I first logged in. My poor action bars!

The first thing I noticed when I logged in was that my action bars were missing a ton of spells.  I didn’t realize how much was being taken away until I saw the reality of it.  So, the first hour or so, was just me remaking my action bars and re-choosing my talents.  I was upset, intrigued, and excited by this change, because I now have five new play styles to relearn.  But this also means that my Pally’s Selfless Healing is no more, and my Disc Priest’s Atonement is not the powerhouse it once was.  But for a game such as WoW to go on, change is inevitable.

After I managed my action bars, it was off to the barber shop for me for some plastic surgery.  To put it bluntly and shortly, all my characters were wrong.  My gnome seems to have gained an affinity to axe murdering and cats, while my draenei looks blank faced.  My night elf seemed too harsh looking, but my undead was pretty spot on.  Needless to say, this is all getting it’s own article!

Next came the toys/reagents tab.  Those changes are life savers, lemme tell you!  Over one hundred spaces were freed on each character, and my bags are gloriously empty!  (My only complaint; let jewelcrafting gems be allowed into those reagent tabs too please!)  I actually managed to fill my reagents tab on my bank alt, so it looks like I will be doing some AHing.  Speaking of AH, I’m liking the merging.  I haven’t tried it out yet (due to the crazy fluctuating markets), but I’m liking the amount of stuff on it!

I have a lot of junk, but I can't get rid of it because I might need that!!

I have a lot of junk, but I can’t get rid of it because I might need that!!

So, for the most part, I really enjoyed the UI updates.  They were much needed, and much appreciated.  However… I don’t think the PvE scene was as successful.

So.  The LfA tool.  It’s… uh… a good start? I’ve never used (or even seen OQ) so this is a completely unbiased view.  I like that its only 25 groups per page, but I wish that you could page through instead of clicking refresh, so that you have the option to come back to groups you are tentative on.  I do not like the HUGE filter that it has though.  In my opinion, the raids should be broken down into more categories.  For example, these should all be separate filters that groups can list under: SoO, ToT, HoF & ToeS, MSV, Open World Bosses, Others.  That way, one can find their Ordos group much better instead of paging through hundreds of SoO groups.

Also, I predicted this to an extent, but there is a bit of elitism.  My lower ilvled characters never get accepted into anything (I literally spent an hour on my ilvl 528 resto druid trying to find a group that would take me),  but my higher ilvled ones can get into any group.  I’m not keen on this at all; there should be some incentive for bringing along those with lower ilvls.  On top of this, I want to be able to whisper the group leader before I apply.  There are times when I want more info on a certain group that I might not want to join, but I can’t just ask the leader to clarify.  This one’s a much smaller pet peeve.

I’m luke-warm on the whole LfA thing right now.  I don’t personally see it as the most convenient method for pugging, but I know it will change a bunch before WoD drops, so again, not too worried.  What does alarm me slightly is healing.

I’ve tried out almost all my characters.  My mage felt very different without Alter Time, mage bomb, and Evocation, but I could definitely get used to her.  There is a clear rhythm and logic to the game play and I like it.  My 80 something Fury warrior is even more stoked, as I no longer feel rage starved or weak.  Loving that!

But what I’m not loving is healing.  I’ve healed on both my disc priest and my holy pally, and neither felt right to me.  In fact, healing on both felt distinctly wrong.  My priest had no rhythm, no build up to it.  To me it seemed spam Smite for Archangel, then spam Prayer of Healing until the Archangel runs, and Holy Nova whenever around people (by the way, Holy Nova is the bestest spell ever).  Its boring, its only three spells, and it felt unfinished.  All my big CD massive heals abilities are gone, and I feel lost without them.

WoWScrnShot_121113_210844
My paladin was even worse!  The changes to SH made me far less mobile and less bursty, which was my favorite play style.  Other than that, the class didn’t lose too much else, but I feel so weak!  I can spam Divine Light (a long casting ‘big’ heal) all day, never run out of mana, and barely heal anyone.  I was struggling to keep up in UBRS, a dungeon that I should be out gearing.  I’m really not happy.  My pally is going to get some massive talent changes soon, I can feel it.

To put it in more general, less class specific terms, DPS seems overpowered (two shotting things I never could on my mage) and healing seems very very weak (barely able to keep up a tank while on my pally).  Raiding seems harder because the heals just cannot keep up, but solo playing is easier than ever.  Everyone is more turret-like, but the new encounter (UBRS) demands a pretty high amount of movement.  Its all discombobulated!!

Moving on to the pre expansion event itself; the Iron Horde Invasion.  Better known as the Iron Horde House Visit or the Iron Horde Tea Party.  All joking aside, this was my least favorite part of the patch.  I’ve done the quest line once, and have no inclination to do it again.

It was boring!  The Iron Horde was a pushover; I could pull twenty of those guys and come out with more health than I started with.  The quests were boring and uninspired.  Kill guys. Kill spies.  Poison ogres.  Talk to king.  This had the potential to the the most awesome atmospheric expansion event yet, but all it turned out to be was a short, boring, forgettable, and ultimately lame quest line.  I had such high hopes, and I’m enough of a Blizzard fanboy that I would have settled for almost anything.  But this?  This was… lifeless. Lack luster.  Stale.

And the dungeon, eh it was ok.  Some annoying mechanics (hello first boss dude), some nice perks (no corpse run!), some nice loots (550 gear? Yeah, I’ll take it) but other than that, it was forgettable.  And the fact that is just sort of ended with no explanation, yeah not so cool.  I was unimpressed.  There were no boss lines I remember, no cool gimmicks, and a pretty cliche and reused environment.  I just… blah….

Long story short, I was underwhelmed by patch 6.0.  The UI changes were great, but the story and the ‘pre expansion event’ were honestly lame.  Maybe I’m being too critical, and please tell me if that’s the case, but I was not impressed.

Yotaan:  Okaaaay…  My impressions are not quite as strong as the young Fussypants here.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much with this pre expansion patch.  I do remember fondly the Wrath pre expansion patch and that was tons of fun.  I enjoyed the world wide interruption of the Scourge – it really felt epic (an overused word.)  The two pre expansion patches since were not nearly as exciting.  Additionally, enough people complained about the Wrath event that Blizzard was not going to repeat that scale of an event.  So, I suppose I had lowered expectations.

I actually liked the pre expansion patch intro quests.  Sure, the quest line was a little short, but the story, at least on the Alliance side, was good.  The dwarf lady seeking revenge on the ogre’s with poisoning!  Not an expected storyline at all!  My timeless gear only monk did have to be a little careful fighting the Iron Horde so I think it tuned for the boosted 90’s.

The UBS dungeon was a great start but a poor finish.  When I first ran it, I did not know when we ended.  The 5 of us ran around to make sure we didn’t miss a boss.  A little research was needed to confirm that was as far we could go. This needs to be made much more clear by Blizzard.

As for the squish, UI changes, and ability changes, that’s really just part of game – it changes with every expansion.  I like the changes every time because it becomes a new game again and I know that what we have now will be totally different as the expansion unfolds and my characters advance.

 

So what did you guys think of the patch?

Garrosh AotC Achieved!

WoWScrnShot_101214_221759Today, I shall tell you a tale.  It is a tale of adventure, of perseverance, of patience, and eventually, of victory.  In this tale, you shall find both the noblest of hearts and the rudest of trolls.  For this is the tale of how I got my Ahead of the Curve Garrosh kill.

The story starts as most do, with a villain and a problem. The villain clear but the problem harder to solve.  Garrosh Hellscream, Warchief of the Horde, had to fall on Normal Difficulty but he had to fall soon.  Very soon, as in within-a-few-months soon.  But how could this happen?

Now enters our protagonist, an earnest but under geared disc/shadow priest.  Me.  I made my goal to defeat Garrosh before the Great Patch Drop… but how?  What follows is a three month long journey, leading up to the final showdown.

The first step was gearing up.  Weeks were spent gearing up in flex.  This part was easiest.  Groups formed quickly and often, and with flexible sizes, many could come along.  I healed for the most part, occasionally dpsing, and all the while building up gear.  Times were good, and people friendly.  I developed a keen knowledge on the boss fights and my abilities.

Then came the next step; normal raids.  At first times were good.  The raids were harder, yes, but not impossible.  Success and gear flowed freely.  Groups were friendly for the most part, and I felt pretty confident about my abilities.  My item level rose, and I climbed higher into the normal raids.  Then, the dark times fell.

Patch Day was drawing closer, and people were becoming more desperate.  Joining groups became much harder, as most were looking for carries not runs.  People became more kick-happy and rude, and I often found myself the scapegoat.  Impatience became the new norm, and generosity fell off the wayside.

The tipping point came during a raid that could have ended it all.  I had made it into a Garrosh Normal, and was clearing the trash with the group.  I could tell right away that the other healer was far better geared than me, and I took it as a good omen.  I might get this!  We continued on, eventually getting to Garrosh.

The first pull was… rough.  Many people died to avoidable mechanics, and the tank foolishly perished to Iron Star.  We rezzed up, and started again.  Again, people were taking unnecessary damage.  The other healer was blowing me out of the water, but even still we were struggling to keep up.  A botched intermission later, and we wiped.  This time however, blame had to be assigned.  Fingers first pointed to the lowest dps, who were quickly kicked.  Then, the blame turned to me.  The other healer and the tank insulted me, as if I weren’t even there.  I was called many things, among them a bad excuse of a healer and a person.  And before I could speak a word, I was kicked.

I was rattled.  I was upset.  I was put down.  Confidence deeply shaken, I nonetheless queued right back up.  But my heart wasn’t into it.  I logged off, and the quest came to a halt.

A week passed, and precious time slipped away.  Still, I couldn’t bring myself to restart the quest.  I didn’t want to go through that again.

But a quest of such epic proportions couldn’t be ignored for so long.  Within the next week, and good friend of mine told me that he had gotten his kill, and generously offered to pay for a carry for mine.  I was motivated.  Due to timing, I was unable to attend the carry (don’t worry, my friend didn’t pay, and I had planned to pay him back anyways), but I was dead set on getting a kill of my own.

To Twitter I turned, pursing any and all opportunities.  To Other Raids I returned, ruthless in my attempt to join any normals.  To the blog I asked, writing up a few articles on the matter.

First success came with Other Raids.  I joined a group that was basically a carry.  A heroically geared tank and a few dps pulled us from Nazgrim all the way to Paragons in an hour.  I unfortunately had to leave, but now I had a valuable lockout.

Next success came from Twitter.  Several generous Twitter denizens offered to bring me along with their raids, and I beginning to feel more confident.  I had two opportunities set.  I was ready.

The last success came from a commenter on the blog.  Khizzara charitably offered her services as a Heroic geared resto druid.  The offer was just too good to pass up, so as soon as I could I sent her an email.

One of the Twitter raids fell through, but thankfully Khizzara was free and available to help.  The details decided; Sunday night, Garrosh would fall.

Khizzara, (who shall from this point forwards be known as the hero), was in a heroic raiding guild.  This proved to be invaluable, as she was able to convince her raiding buddies to come along and help.  Well geared tanks, heals and dps joined in, and among them a very special warrior.

It turns out that Khizzara knew the one and only Garrosh Hellscream from Warchief Command Board.  Yes, that one.  The famous one.  So, on top of getting to raid with heroic raiders, I got to talk to a celebrity in the WoW blogosphere.  It was pretty freaking epic.

Thanks to my valuable lockout, we jumped in right away on Paragons.  The Klaxxi fell swiftly, and before long, we were working our way through the Garrosh trash.  And then, within a half hour of starting time, we were there.  At the doorstep of destiny.  On the edge of glory. At the final battle of good and evil.

As well geared as my allies were, we were all out of practice.  Some mistakes were made, many silences were missed, and unfortunately many wipes were had.  But every time, we picked our selves up, and went back at it.  We would bring down Garrosh if it was the last thing we did.

A few hours passed, and it was decided that this would be our last attempt.  We hitched up our belts, straightened our weapons, and charged in once again.  The battle was epic, the silences perfect, the intermissions flawless, everything went beautifully.  On the last attempt of the night,
Garrosh Hellscream, Warchief of the Horde, Final boss of MoP,
FELL!
(and there was much rejoicing).
WoWScrnShot_101214_220315
And what is the moral of the tale you ask?  Perseverance, my friends, perseverance.  If you want something, you have to go get it.  Everything requires work, otherwise it isn’t worth as much.  I spent MONTHS training, gearing, attempting this kill, and it was absolutely worth it.  Do I deserve it? Honestly, I’d say yes!  I put in the effort, I kept with it, I tried my darnedest, and eventually I got it!

But not without help!  I want to give a HUGE HUGE HUGE thanks to these people! Without you, I could have never gotten this! I am eternally grateful to you guys for giving up a night to help me with this! You are the reason why I love this game, and why I continue to play.  YOU GUYS ROCK!
Khizzara (who has a blog and you should check it out!)
Vanethos
Schrinko
Bombelina
Jiuyon
Shanthi
Sickfigure
Zabogi
Averry
And all the folks from That Guild! I cannot express in words how thankful I am!!  Mists of Pandaria goal achieved!!

AotC Garrosh Achieve

WOOOOOOOT!!!!!