Category Archives: Class warfare

Out of the Comfort Zone

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It may come as a surprise to some that I am painfully shy around a bunch of strangers. This is why LFD has always been a bit of a turnoff for me.  Oh, I used it for a while when it was introduced back in WotLK, but I was still very concerned about the negativity one might encounter.

When I started healing, that went up by a factor of, I dunno, a bazillion? Being a DPS in a dungeon group is one thing – there’s three of you, and if you’re not the top of the ladder that usually just gives the others something to preen about while they bask on their sparkle pony in front of the AH.

But as a healer, you’re generally in a position of Great Responsibility™ and the least little fuck-up will probably result in a wipe. What’s that saying? “Nomi covers his mistakes up with mayonnaise. Priests cover their mistakes with dirt.”  Well, something like that.

I had been patiently awaiting my guildies to return to the game after the Christmas break. Unfortunately, like last expansion, they never did. Lives to live, that sort of thing. We were reenacting the pre-Legion doldrums, and me with a full quest log of stuff that I needed to clear up in dungeons. So what’s a priest to do?

That’s right … tighten your shorts, pilgrim and sing like The Duke. We’re going in.

Now, the surprising thing is that so far, Heroics haven’t been too bad. I’ve had two deaths in something like ten runs, and one total full on gonzo brain fart that resulted in me being, well, not kicked, but left to rot while the rest of the team completed the final boss.

So I’ve learned something important. A toon well equipped from almost daily Emissary runs can hold up pretty well in Heroic dungeons.  This will be instrumental in getting me to take my other toons in as well.

The other takeaway is that I’ve been driving the Priest around as primarily DPS as I solo’d my way across the island. But that’s different from healing. So I’m still learning the ropes on that. My biggest takeaway on that was that Power Word: Radiance is pretty frigging awesome since it keeps me from having to spam Plea every 10 or so seconds across five bodies. I hit two bodies (usually the tank and me), and Power Word: Radiance takes care of the rest. That realization has been very useful.

The other thing is getting an opening sequence down.  Is it more important to have a DoT ticking on the boss before lighting up the tank with Atonement? Or the other way around? I guess it depends on the tank – a squishy one is gonna need the Atonement lit first, then you can start a DoT up to get the heals flowing (unless you have to Shadow Mend just to keep him up). So far I’m going with Plan A in most cases.  The really squishy tanks tend to be more cautious. The ones that benefit from Plan A generally go in guns blazing anyway. So I tend to light up the boss then tickle the tank.

Is that legal in Kaledori law? Or do I need a lawyer?

A Memo to the Art Department

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TO: Warlock Armor Designers, Dreadscar Rift

FROM: Floramel, your Supreme Leader by Acclaim

I would like to draw your attention to the positioning of the horns on our class helm. I’m sure real demons wear them there all the time, but, unfortunately, human eyes are positioned in such a way so that the horns are functionally blinders.  Now, I’m sure this could be remedied a number of ways, but it occurs to me that the easiest way would be to move the horns up just a little bit (and not, by the way, moving our eyes onto stalks which seems to be the fashion on Zazzinoth these days).

If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, something on the back to counterbalance them would be nice, as well. My neck is killing me.

Besties,

Flora

Very funny.

Okay, who’s  big idea was it to put the giant snow globe right in front of the entrance to the Warlock’s hellish domain?

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I detect Ratsel’s fine handiwork, here.  I know those mages.  Always planning some sort of mischief together.

We’ll see who’s laughing when we feast on their souls.

Awkward

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So, apparently when you go to do the Exodar scenario, in the final battle with Rakeesh, two of your class hall peeps show up.  In this case it was an Orc warlock and a demon.

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Sometimes doing the right thing involves very strange bedfellows.

Three Weeks a Fire Mage

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Frost was okay, but nowhere near the big hits I was used to on Draenor, so I decided to do something decidedly boring.  That’s right, I swapped to Fire. Like, apparently, every other bloody mage in the entire game.

The problem with Fire for me was that I had gotten Ebonchill pretty far down the ol’ upgrade tree, then swapped out to Felo’melorn; running around with a child’s dinky in an adult’s body, as it were. At 110, you’re expected to be toting a 110-level weapon and gear to match.

So I held on to Ebonchill for those moments when I needed to swap out, but concentrated on Fire whenever I could. After all, practice, practice, practice.

As one might expect, survivability is not a thing with Fire mages. We’re not really designed for that.  But Felo’melorn does have some tools for us, such as a thing that causes Blink or Shimmer to heal you for a little bit. So your rotation often consists of taking a quick blip right after Dragon’s Breath.  And sometimes that brings more to the party.

The next piece of the puzzle was getting Belo’vir’s Final Stand from an Emissary loot box (Highmountain, if you must know, but WoWHead isn’t telling how many times it comes from what).  I’ve often been a critic of people blaming gear for their lack of <your thing here>, but I am here to tell you now that that robe made a world of difference in my damage output and survivability.

So I guess, for great differences, you do see some significant effects. Shut mah mouth.

Of course, changing specs calls for a new transmog. All those blue tones just don’t go with my flaming balls of doom, after all.  So I borrowed from the past.  Long time ago, Jasra made the Robe of Power(1) to wear – that was before she found something more sensible for her line of work – and it was available, so I grabbed it. And then I reached for the Mantle of Three Terrors and … hey, where is it?  It’s not in the box!

Okay, so  you know that there is a thing that any armor appearance you may have had in the past is available to you and your entire account provided they can wear it.  So Jasra’s robe was available to me, but anything class-specific wasn’t. The Mantle of Three Terrors, however, is not class bound, and Flora once had it.  We even have pictures.  Hell, she blogged about it. With pictures.

Let’s be clear – there has never been a more perfect shoulder piece for a fire mage. Two large dragon heads with little flames flickering in their maws and eyes, flanked by two more little dragon heads each. Fierce. And unique, too. There’s only one of these in existence, nothing that looks like them drops from anything else in the worlds.

So when I pinged Blizzard customer support, I was expecting a “wow, not sure how that happened, we’re restored it to your account”. What I got was “our records do not show that you ever had it, have a nice day.”

Thanks a lot, @BlizzardCS.

So what’s a mage to do?  Grind, that’s what.  When possible, I’ve been hitting The Black Morass to try to get Chrono Lord Deja to drop the things.  First note here: the drop rate on WoWHead is deceptive. I suspect it is for the Heroic version of the instance, which you cannot repeat more than once a day. You can reset the instance all you want, but it won’t actually reset. So you have to run it on Normal, and you get only so many tries if you’re efficient at it (nine to ten, generally).  Long story short (too late!), it took forty tries, but I got the damned thing. (that’s 2.5% for those keeping score)

Illume Fire MogStill not happy with the sword mog, but it’ll do for now – most sword models are so elaborate and fussy that they get caught on … well, everything. Brandishing the thing about during casting is an invite to any number of mishaps if you don’t manage it properly, and, let’s be honest here, bladecraft is not normally high up on a mage’s training regimen.

At any rate, let this be a warning to you – not all things you won in BC might have made the trip to the future with you. You might wanna check now and try to get @BlizzardCS to help out if you can figure a way to make that happen. Too late for me, at this point, but if I can help somebody fend off a last minute panic, so much the better.

At this point, fire magely speaking, I’m pretty satisfied with the spec, though I haven’t tested it in an instance or anything.  The DPS is pretty impressive compared to the frost spec with better weapon, though, so I’m hopeful.

An interesting thing about Felo’melorn is that I’ve been getting accosted by NPCs, only Sin’dorei so far, asking to look at the weapon. Once they do, you get +50 artifact power, which is helpful.  I wonder how many other NPCs there are wanting a gander at the blade? And I wonder how many there are out there interested in other class’ weapons? Ebonchill never got this sort of attention. Then again, this is an important part of Sin’dorei lore.  However that plays out, it’s a nice touch.


1 Hipster mode: remember what a gigantic pain in the ass it was to get that pattern and the mats to make it?  WELL I DO.

Things I’ve Learned since Taking Over the Warlocks

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Being the head of our order has taught me many things.

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First of all, we like green. A lot.

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But when it comes to flames, we’re not choosy. Orange is fine. Yellow is fine. Red is fine. Basically, if it’s flame, we’re copacetic.

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We’re also very fond of ostentatious displays of power.

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And, for whatever reason, we’re very fond of candles, clustered, in odd random places around the landscape.

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Did I mention we liked candles? Oh, yeah, got that covered. Also big ugly books. Always a crowd pleaser in a room full of warlocks.

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Did I mention we like green?  We do! A lot!

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And we’re also frugal. Never spend money on a training dummy when you can use a spare demon instead. Demons are the ultimate renewable resource. Kill one, and it’ll come back later, only angrier.


I also learned that whoever designed the Warlock Order Hall was not a warlock. Multilevel, burning, smelly, and hard to navigate. Must have been designed by demons and liberated by warlocks.

Well, at least it isn’t that multilevel maze of twisty passages that the Mages have. Guess we got that going for us.

Yes, THAT Menethil

jas-port-110It never ceases to amaze me at how much it bugs me that people lump Disco and Holy together in the same bag. Even “professional” bloggers have that problem.

I can only assume that that’s a viewpoint that originated back in WotLK when Disco was viewed as the poor girl’s healing spec that people rolled so they didn’t die while questing, or something stupid like that.

I mean, look at our spell book and something should jump out at you. Are you looking at it? Did the thing jump out at you? No? Let me help: we have more spells in common with Shadow than Holy. Ain’t that a hoot?  Sure, it’s a close thing, and you have to ignore the talents for it to really jump out, but even Disco talents bias towards Shadow more than Holy, slightly.

I’m not drawing any conclusions from that other than the misguided practice of lumping Holy and Discipline should stop and go home. NOW.  I mean, we don’t even heal things the same way, any more.

Our shared workspace, the Netherlight Temple, is pretty nice, though, and so far it’s proven to be the most efficient of the order halls I’ve seen. One big room, everything’s in easy walking distance, no smegging multi-level mazes to negotiate or hellish terraces to ride around on your hellsteed, just a nice big work area arranged sensibly.

And while Shadow, Holy, and Discipline may be three completely different sorts of people, we can all agree to that and work together harmoniously – even if Disco doesn’t get its special room off to the side like the others do. C’este la vie, as Grimm is known to say – must be Dwarvish for “balls” or something.

Unlike the Hunters that Grimm was talking about, we priests seem to have a pretty good cross section of the leading lights (or shadows) of the priestly ways.

Moira

Being this tall makes it hard to take good pics of people that short. Sorry, Moira.

I was delighted and surprised to see that Moira, queen of the Dark Iron (it says that right on the tin!) was lending a hand in a leadership position. I am somewhat surprised she isn’t keeping a closer eye on her kin back in Ironforge, but maybe her pop inspired her to do more than sit on her stony throne.  I wonder who she got to babysit little Dagran? I see another kid with parent issues if she keeps this up. Why is it so hard to be a mother and a queen and a practitioner of the dark arts, for crying out loud?  Did anyone give Varian crap for that? I think not.

Callia

The missing heir. Also, does this camera make my boobs look big?

But before I met Moira, I met this lady, who was last seen married off to the Lord of the Black Dragonflight, though that was fortunately never consummated or even formalized, since “Daval Prestor” conveniently disappeared shortly after the battle of Grim Batol.  We’re still not sure where she’s been hanging out since then, but fortunately she avoided her father’s fate.

And yes, when you are introduced for the first time, she looks at you and sighs, “Yes, THAT Menethil” before giving you the rundown of the Disco priest amenities of Netherlight Temple. It occurs to me that that sigh might also be because she probably ran the show before this upstart Elf came along and shook things up.  But she turns around pretty quick and gets quite enthusiastic about our work. She’s been a stout ally and I’m glad she’s with us.  Sorry about that kingdom, though.  That’s gotta suck.

Somebody I Used to Know

Really not sure how many famous Hunters there are out there, but I can count the ones I know on  one hand.  There’s Sylvanas, who now works for the opposition party, there’s her sister Alleria, missing in action, there’s Rexxar, who we’ve met recently on Draenor, there’s Flintlocke, who’s more associated with the engineering arm of the world these days.  I’m sure there are others, but when reading the annals of our history, it’s those priests and paladins and mages that hog all the glory, apparently.

You might say the Lodge of the Hidden Path was well-named.

That being said, we’re tasked with filling our ranks with famous members of our chosen profession, which means a Hunter Road Trip or two.

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Well, Rexxar wasn’t actually that far away.  Just over the hill from the Lodge, in fact.  I’m not saying that he was being obvious or anything, but if your goal is to go Native and live off the land, camping out in you’re parent’s back yard is hardly “roughing it”.  I’m sure the Lodge just nodded and smiled so as to humor him.

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Hilaire, on the other hand, is one of those outright obscure cases that really did get a bit off the beaten path. I guess someone thinks she’s famous, but that someone is probably from The Broken Isles.  Not much about her ever made it down Dun Morough way.

I can’t say I am surprised. You really can’t hold a high standard up to an organization that is putting me in charge of things.  It has the tangy scent of desperation about it.

Eight Weeks a Priest

jas-disco-lookOn the ass end of normals, I was starting to think that Disco wasn’t going to cut it in raiding. Oh, our lovely GM was going to roll with her Holy priest so we’d be able to supplement each other (her with the frisbee, me with the shield), but I still felt massively overwhelmed.  Then, I started running world quests and took a break from instances for a couple of weeks, and something weird happened.

I didn’t suck in my first Heroic.

Gear ain’t all dat

Props where due, and gear be true, but I think I also learned a few things on the way to my first Heroic. First and foremost,

Fuck Shields.

In my experience so far, shields are now about as effective as a fire mage’s ice shield. Meaning: cool story, bro, but when you gonna put food on mah plate?

Shields are, by and large, a dangerous distraction and you should probably not worry about them. You have more important things to cast.

Thing One: Atonement

Atonement is the thing, and there are two quick ways to get it up on one of your homies. The first is to cast Power Word: Shield on your homies, but you get only one of those unless you burn Rapture.

Or, you can cast Plea on each of your posse, as long as your posse be numbered five and no more. More than five, and the mana costs start to soar. Shadow Mend then becomes more efficient in mana alone, but may I point out, if I may, the 1.5-ish second cast time (haste modifiers notwithstanding).  Your call, but beyond the 5, you might stick with Plea or you might not. My respectful suggestion: experiment.

Thing Two: Rotation

The big thing here seems to be to have Atonement up and cooking and then to clobber the bad guys to generate healing for all Atonement-wearers.  There are a couple of approaches I have found effective.

First, if facing multiple baddies, then your job is to [a] get Atonement up on all your toons, and then [b] hit as many of the baddies with Purge the Wicked (you did take that talent, right? Fine. Use Shadow Word: Pain. But you better have a damned good reason for this poor choice in talents) to get the DoTs pushing the HoTs onto your posse.  At some point, switch back to re-applying Atonement (Plea) then repeat the whole sequence.

Alternatively, and I do mean secondly, if facing a single target, then after you lay down your Atonements (Plea), you refresh Purge the Wicked (or the lesser thing), then lay down one to three damage abilities, depending on your cooldowns.

In my personal experience, this is how it works out.

In any of the above sequences, if Mindbender comes online (you did take that talent, I hope?) then you fire it off immediately. Between it and Purge the Wicked, that’s your entire HoT strategy, kapich?

Thing Three: Exceptions

I have found the above to be pretty effective except in the case of squishy tanks. When you have a squishy tank, your best bet is to bail and let a Holy priest take over. But if that is not an option, then lay into the shields (just for looks and buffs, really) and blow Shadow Mend on the tank like it was your own life depending on it. Don’t forget to keep your DoTs up even then, because they will apply additional healing to El SquishAlot even as you pause to take a shot (as the Disco Priest drinking game involves taking a shot any time a squishy tank pulls more than a tank made of bricks would pull).

Shadow Mend looks very, very inviting during crisis points, and I strongly urge its use whenever things go south, but the key to Disco is to avoid those OhShit! moments as much as possible.

Thing Four: Antici-

Old!Disco was all about Mitigation. New!Disco is all about Anticipation. You have to front-load your posse with Atonement, get those DoTs ticking as soon as possible and in as many quantities, as possible, and then keep everything rolling.

Disco of the past was all about prevention. Disco of the day is all about preparation. It isn’t about mitigating the enemy’s blows. It’s about having the healing for those blows in place before they happen.

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I have yet to heal a raid in anger (LFR doesn’t count) but past experience seems to indicate that what I am learning in Heroics will carry forward into Mythic and Real Raiding. Everything I’m working out right now is core to the spec. All those abilities I am weeding out will no doubt have use in corner cases as we go forward, but in a very fundamental way, Disco healing is reduced to around a half dozen abilities applied in the right sequence.

To Recap

  1. Keep Atonement up on the posse using Plea
  2. DPS the enemy during the Atonement cooldown
  3. React to heavy damage with extra direct heals
  4. Use shield if desperate, but don’t count on it being very useful.
  5. Always keep someone with more aggro than you alive.
  6. Refresh Atonement just before it expires (Weak Auras is an excellent aid).

RIP

A moment of silence, but it appears that the Enemy Grid addon encountered an insurmountable compatibility issue, and no longer can be the target of key presses. You might as well uninstall it and learn to use nameplates more effectively.

Going to Blizzcon? See you in Cali!

In the morning, wheels up at 8 AM and me and Missus Grimm are on our way to Anaheim for my first ever (and probably only) Blizzcon. I’m both /excite and /nervous. What if I can’t find my twitter friends? What if I do and they hate me?  All the usual introvertish traits come out to dance.  Fortunately, my sweetie is the perfect wingman.  I’m sure we’ll have a blast.  If you’re going, look for the short round dude with the graying goatee. Even if it’s not me, I’m sure he’ll appreciate the shout-out.

I’ve got the tools, but …

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Maybe you’ve seen this quest …

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The critters in question look like this …

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And they run like the dickens when you get close …

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So why can’t priests use their natural talents for this quest?

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I mean, seems like it would be a nice nod of we got to use Psychic Scream to just gather up a bunch of them and be done. Consider it a Priest Perk.

Is that too much to ask?