Category Archives: Class warfare

How to Disco: BfA Prepatch Edition

anduin-poseToday, WoWHead released a guide to changes that will take place in each class in the BfA pre-path on July 17. Not all guides are created equal, and by that I mean that the rest of the guide owners are probably PISSED at Bendak, who pretty much overachieved on all levels for the BM Hunter guide.

The Disco Priest guide is a little less thorough.  I’m not hating – Bendak sets a high bar to clear on any occasion. That aside, I feel like a little bit of fleshing out is in order.

Say Goodbye

Light’s Wrath is gone, of course (I actually approve of this as it means we’ll get more choices on weapons and stuff), and with it are its abilities.  That means that our massive healing nuke is gone.

The other biggest change you will notice is that the Global Cooldown now applies to a number of spells. What this means is that you won’t be able to cast a spell on Global Cooldown until the Global Cooldown cools down. This is not true for all spells, so pay attention to the spell descriptions.

Spell Changes

Another significant change is that only three spells will lay down Atonement now.  We also lost one spell (Plea) that applied it instantly.

Before this expansion, my favorite rotation was more or less this:

  • PW: Shield on myself; then PW: Radiance to spread out Atonement; then again, to get another 5 people covered, then Evangelism to extend Atonement for all 11.
  • Keep DoTs up on the boss (SW: Pain and Shadow Squid), hammer the boss with Penance and Smite until it was time to lay down PW: Radiance again
  • PW: Shield where it was needed, mindful of its cooldown.

It was a pretty simple rotation, but it got me through LFR fairly well.

The new rotation will be changed due to changes in the various spells used.

  • PW: Radiance is relatively unchanged.  It is one of our Atonement spreaders.
  • Evangelism is relatively unchanged.
  • PW: Shield doesn’t have the limitations we had before; it is now our defacto spam. It applies Atonement to whatever it shields. In effect, Rapture got baked right in.
  • Shadow Mend is relatively unchanged.  It also applies Atonement.
  • Penance is relatively unchanged, however, is now generally better spent as a direct heal than Atonement healing. Unfortunately, it does not spread Atonement when used directly.
  • SW: Pain (or Purge the Wicked) is relatively unchanged, and I think that Penance still spreads it when used for damage. This of course will also increase your Atonement healing.
  • Smite is still Smite, with its damage component and its shield component.
  • Halo is unchanged, and is still an optional damage / heal AE spell.
  • Holy Nova is now also a Disco spell, giving us a ‘native’ AE spell that relieves us of having to choose Halo over something more interesting. It also applies to Atonement healing, but only the FIRST target struck does so – additional targets struck by Holy Nova do not provide Atonement healing.  I think this is rather shabby.
  • Rapture now increases the duration of all bubbles by around 7 or so seconds. In my opinion, this improves it massively.

So basically it boils down to:

  • PW: Shield on myself; then PW: Radiance to spread out Atonement; then again,
    to get another 5 people covered, then Evangelism to extend Atonement for all
    11.
  • Keep DoTs up on the boss (SW: Pain and Shadow Squid), hammer the boss with Smite until it was time to lay down PW: Radiance again
  • PW: Shield where it is needed. Cooldown isn’t so relevant now, so anywhere you see a need, drop it.  Use Rapture on CD to extend that.
  • Save Penance for big heals unless fairly certain that it won’t be needed for that, in which case share the love via Atonement.

You may notice that Shadow Mend isn’t top of the list.  I tend to only use it in emergencies.  The long cast time and odd pain/pleasure dynamic makes it far less than a winner to me.

Stats

As before, Spell Power is the primary component of all of our spells.  Only PW: Shield varies on that, in that it also improves on Versatility. I’m pretty sure Crit will feature in a lot of the calculations, but those are your two main stats of interest.

Conclusionish

As has been the case for ever, my main concern is in how clumsy healing can be.  It requires a lot of direct or mouseover targeting, which means one hand mousing while the other is keying the commands required. During high-movement fights, healers are at a huge disadvantage when compared to others. PW: Radiance was a good step in the right direction in this regard, giving us a way to propagate Atonement without making it about as clumsy as an elephant on a high wire.

However, it appears that Blizz did not expand on that theme, and instead moved us away from that mode of operation. I mean, I’m kinda glad that we’re moving more towards bubblePriest mode, but it does require a lot of mousing around to get the shields distributed around, which is dependent on a lot of things, not the least the clumsiness of the wielder Smile

I am also bitterly disappointed that yet again, Disco priests don’t have the Frisbee.   I mean, what is Disco without the Disc? In my mind, I see the Frisbee as method #4 for spreading around our Atonement Goodness.

But overall, this looks like a very viable spec going into  the new expansion. As always, it will require a bit of play time to learn for sure where we stand.

Oh, and also? New expansion, new mog. While I loved the look of the silver haltertop and skirt I affected in Legion, it had a couple of real issues.

  1. It was a skirt, making running problematic. Remember, sometimes it isn’t whether you’re faster than the monster. But it matters if you’re faster than at least one other person in your party.  As Flora and Illume have proven before, nothing beats a good pair of jeans for adventuring.
  2. No pocketses, precious. What is this, anyway?
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New Associate Races!

Allied_races

Oh hai! The good news is that I’m still around. That is also the bad news. I just haven’t had a lot to talk about since the BfA announcement – that goes a while back, I know, but there ya have it. What was that, BlizzCon?

I’ve started a number of posts, but ran out of gas before I got them up to our usual low standards of publishability. I haz opinions, but really haven’t felt like any of them were worth your time.

I’ve even gotten in on the Alpha – hard to say who hasn’t – though I haven’t actually done anything with it.  Matters of theorycrafting and so forth seem to be beyond my grasp – I’ve barely figured out how to properly use the Best in Bags tool at AMR.   That’s assuming I am, of course. AMR agrees with my own calculations enough to earn extra side-eye.

So anyway, watching all the news about BfA and our new Associated Allied races has me wondering about future installments on this already popular feature.  We all know about the Zandalari Trolls, some sort of Orcs from Outland (?), Dark Iron Dwards, and Big Chin Humans from Jaina’s Home Island.  What else might they be cooking up? Here are some ideas!

Leper Gnomes

I think that we’ve all seen this one coming from a mile away. The only thing holding them back has been the rather insensitive-to-lepers name, but now that we’re in the second year of the Trump administration, sensitivity is for the birds!  Bring on the possibly radioactive Gnomes!

Probably still won’t end up in the next cinematic, though.

Vrykool

Similar to the Big Chin Humans, but these folk trace their roots back to when the Curse of Flesh was first weakening the races of Northrend.  Smart folks, these relatives of the Vrykul got out of there before it got too bad, and also stayed hidden for thousands of years before revealing themselves. They’re cool like that.

Racial Bonus: they use regular sized humans for shoulder gear.  Cool.

Crimbo Elves

Somewhat related to the Really High Elves, these folks only appear in Winter, spending the rest of the year in communes in Northern Kalimdor.

Obviously if seasonal Associated Races don’t work out, this will be the only ones we ever see.

Nasty Orcses

Nocturnal by nature, Nasty Orcses have a racial bonus when fighting stupid hobbitses. Precious.

Limited to Warriors and Paladins. Obviously.

Mostly Dead

A somewhat embarrassing chapter in The Lich King’s campaign in Lorderon; these are the people who’s relatives gave up on them before they were actually dead.  Arthas took them into the Scourge and never heard the end of it.

Made for some awkward war councils, too.

“I remember you. You told them I was dead!”

“Didn’t turn out so well, for me, either.”

“If you think that makes it okay, let me tell you …”

“People, can we focus on the counterattack from Alterac?”

Gitauren

An offshoot of the Highmountain Tauren, these folks really rock.

Probably hinting at the eventual introduction of the Bard class. You know how Blizz is.

Panteran

I’m guessing this offshoot of the Pandaran race will line up directly opposed to the Gitauren.  This might even be the basis for the conflict in the expansion that introduces the Bard class. I’m calling it now – “World of Warcraft: Battle of the Bands”.

Furbolgs

There’s no sound reason, lore-wise, for this to ever happen. Therefore it will happen.

You get a Furbolg, and you get a Furbolg …

Gobwins

The perfect cross-over from Erfworld, these highly avaricious and clever subterranean creatures will replace the mobile auction house.  Their native resource, Juice, will replace Mana / Energy / Rage / etc for all supported classes.

My Buddy, Where I Go, He Go

The quest line Visage of the First Wakener takes you on an adventure that eventually gets you a new appearance for Skull of the Man’ariThal’kiel’s Visage.  He’s a chatty fellow, but also, with his new fleshly accoutrements, He’s quite the expressive fellow.

There’s the yawn.

Screenshot 2017-10-28 08.52.46.png

There’s the slack-jawed yokel.

e

There’s the yawn.

Screenshot 2017-10-28 08.52.56.png

Okay, you know what? He’s actually kinda rubbish. All that’s missing is a string of drool hanging off his chintacles.  Let’s “face” it – he’s ugly with a capital UG.

It breaks the heart

Bulvinkel

Grimm spent weeks stalking and finding his first spirit beast, Gondria.  Since then, he’s been content with what he has, but always been on the lookout for additional members to the stable.

Unfortunately, that’s never happened.  Oh, we’ve seen plenty of other exotic spirit beasties in our travels, but never when logged in as Grimmtooth. Flora saw Skoll a couple of times while pugging, but of course Grimm was never nearby when it happened.

And now, this week, Flora’s encountered Bulvinkel, a spirit beast moose (as promised by Ghostcrawler). Grimm was half a world away, and, of course, by the time he arrived, the beastie had been tamed (or worse, killed).

Art Department, can we talk?

I’ve recently completed my class mount quest, and, well, I need to preface my thoughts a little bit first.

Listen, art department peeps, I know you’re hard working Artists with a Capital A. And I respect what you do.  Going from solid models to 3D models requires a broad skill set.  Creating new sounds for fantastical creatures that don’t even exist is challenging under any circumstances. And you folks in the lead positions, I know for sure that it’s difficult to give good leads to the art and sound peeps and fold it all back together at the end of the development cycle and get it in to the assets people to be merged into the test servers.

I respect the challenges in developing all the pixels we see and use in the game.

Having said all that, I have to observe that somebody actually signed off on this.

Priest Mount

Its a good … whatever, Brant

I can’t even. It’s like somebody mashed an owl and a lion together without a) being told that it was supposed to be a mount or b) knowing what a lion or owl looked like originally. And the sound … the sound the thing makes when you summon it is reminiscent of the Witch King’s mount in Lord of the Rings. There is nothing divine about this creature’s screeching wail. It’s like somebody got the sound files for the Death Knight mount mixed up with the Priest mount files, and everyone’s too embarrassed to admit it. Working as intended, yo.

I hate to sound ungrateful, but, seriously, if they’d posted a note that “the Priest mount will be delayed for a few weeks for additional enhancement”, I would not have objected at all, expecially if I knew what we’d get “on schedule”.

Next up: mage mount.  It’s a fidget spinner, yo.  I can live with that.  It’s like that Pandaria Red Cloud thingy.

Out of the Comfort Zone

jas-disco-look

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

Visage of the Black Harvest.png

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?

Screenshot 2016-12-21 22.50.18.png

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

flora-portriat

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.

awkward

Sometimes doing the right thing involves very strange bedfellows.

Three Weeks a Fire Mage

Illume Header

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.