Ulduar: Part I

•21 April 2009 • 8 Comments

This week will be our second round of attempts in Big Bad Ulduar 10.  Last week, we were able to take out the Flame Leviathan, but got stuck on the other bosses.

My biggest critic and harshest competitor is myself and I’m wondering whether or not I’m ready for Ulduar at all.  My main spec is Discipline which I really love, but information on stat balancing and baselines is very hard to find online…and when you do find it, the very next person will completely contradict it – “Stack crit to the heavens!  That’s all you should be concerned with!”  “No, no, stack haste!  The faster you can toss flashes the better!”

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I’ve gone through my bags of gear to try to rotate some pieces in and out to try to find a happy balance.

Currently, I’m trying to maintain this type of baseline:  (all of these numbers are self-buffed, by the way.)

-20,000 Mana
-28% Crit
-10% Haste

I’d like to stack more MP5, because I think I’m down around 215 – but with Glyph of Shadowfiend, Hymn of Hope, Runic Mana Potions, the general nature of Disc healing, and whatever Replenishment type buff the raid provides…well, mana regen really doesn’t seem to be an evil that is plaguing me.

I was stacking crit and was up to 32% self-buffed at one point, but then I started reading about how Disc priest should be stacking Haste and decided to look into that school of thought.  With 10% Haste and all of my triggered fast-healing abilities on a target active, I can toss out a Flash Heal in .903 seconds.   I’ve recently glyphed for Penance, which reduces its cooldown by 2 seconds.  So, I can basically hit the MT or OT with a Penance every 6 seconds for close to their entire HP and I can toss Flashes out on the raid that take less than a second to cast.

Also, 10 man raid buffed, I’m sitting pretty at 30% crit.  From what I’ve noticed, my tank is almost always going to get the Divine Aegis affect from my third bolt of Penance.  I’ve come to Penancing the tank even if he’s not taking damage because of the changes to Grace and Divine Aegis.  It isn’t a bad thing to have Grace up on the Tank/OT at all times – increased healing and decreased damage makes me happy.  😀

All of this just makes me wonder if there’s anything else I can do (short of pugging Naxx25 for gear – so not happening) to improve my performance in Ulduar.  Even with all of my damage absorption abilities and buffs, the tanks are still getting hit HARD and the DPS – well…they’re not staying alive long enough.

One of my new tactics is to roll Power Word: Shields on all of the tanks.  When we did Naxx25 the other night (mostly a guild run and went ridiculously smoothly) I was rolling the shields on all three Patchwerk tanks.  The timing had to be on point, but I think I did an awesome job.  It wasn’t necessarily difficult and I can’t see in numbers how much damage I was able to absorb that fight, but I have a feeling that it was a helpful tactic.  I am doing that in Ulduar as well – making sure the MT and OT are always shielded.  They have no problems with rage starvation or losing aggro, and it helps give the healers a little bit of a break right at the beginning of the fight to save an unlucky DPS or to concentrate on our placement while the tank gets into position.

I was hoping that in 3.1, Blizzard was going to give Disc Priests some sort of party-wide shield or barrier.  Another time that I use the shielding method mentioned above is when I heal for Timed CoT.  I wind up keeping the entire party shielded throughout the run.  It sounds very mana inefficient, but it actually saves me from having to spam heal – which is one of the biggest mana killers for Disc priests – and going OOM – which is critical to avoid for successful timed runs.  It’s also like a mini-game to me – rolling the shields and making sure that they don’t fall off of party members.

I’m working towards Exalted with Hodir for the better shoulder enchant and once I get it, I will be able to swap in a different piece of gear with either more Haste or more Int.   I’d still like the crit bracers from H VH or from Naxx10, but it doesn’t seem that I will get lucky on those as I have been grinding for them for months.  And in Naxx25 the other night, SEVEN different pieces of gear – including robes, boots, cloak, and bracers dropped and I lost the roll on every single piece.  It would’ve been nice to get at least one of them (the bracers or cloak would’ve been the biggest upgrades) for the tiny boost for the Ulduar attempts.  Oh well.  The RNG definitely wasn’t with me that night.

I’m really hoping that Blizzard didn’t make it so you would need Naxx25 gear in order to complete Ulduar10 – our guild isn’t big enough to fill a 25 man and having to pug makes me crazy – I can’t even believe the maturity level and vulgarity of the players on my server…all they talk about is drugs, doing drugs, being high while running stuff, f this and f that, it’s just not my cup of tea while I’m trying to enjoy the run.  I’m very spoiled with my guild’s maturity level – it’s hard to deal with people who don’t act like us, lol.

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Just An Update

•17 April 2009 • 3 Comments

Naxx10 with two healers.
It was me (Still a Holy Mage/Disc Priest and loving it) and a Resto Druid.  Some of the fights were down to the wire, but we pulled them off and it was great for my morale.  Before doing that, I had a bad night in Naxx and let my tank die like four times because of bad positioning/silences.  I felt like crap about it.  So, coming off of that crushing defeat and being able to redeem myself (to myself since I am my fiercest critic) was great for my healery self-esteem.  It felt really good to heal that place with just the two of us.  The extra DPS person made a HUGE difference.  It was a lot of fun.

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Got a battleground mount for Bayloo.
You know, the 30 badges from AV, AB, and WSG kind.  I had a blast as Disc in WSG to grind the rest of the badges I needed for the mount and we won a ton today, which I’m definitely not used to at all – my old server was in favor of the Horde in every BG but AV.  So, now my Priest has a shiny new black war kitty.  >^..^<

Timed CoT.
I’m up to eight successful CoT runs with no drake.  I keep losing the rolls.  I’ve set up a consistent 5-man guild group and we will be doing this instance together until we each get a drake since we know we can do it successfully.  Then, depending on desire…we can just swap people in so they can get one too.  I don’t know why it’s such an obsession to me lately, but I’ve been wanting the drake badly.  Hopefully my time will come soon.

Update:  Up to 10 successful timed runs with no drake. Will he ever be mine?  😦

Ulduar.
We poked our heads in last night and tonight.  The server crashed at least twice last night so we didn’t get far.  Tonight, we downed Flame Leviathan (SO FREAKING FUN!) and took a few shots at the next few bosses.  We decided that we weren’t going to research the bosses or strats and just see if we could figure them out.  Wow, does that trash hit HARD!   I had a blast driving the Demolisher (that’s what I always drive in Wintergrasp) and nuking the heck out of stuff.  From all of the stuff I’ve read on Ulduar, it seems that the main points are that the content is hard…that crowd control will be making a comeback and you need better gear than Naxx10 for Normal Mode Ulduar 10?  (This makes no sense to me…if you can only run 10 mans, are they saying that you are forced to PUG for the better gear?  That’s crap.)

Dual Specs
I wasn’t going to bother picking this up on my Priest, but then decided that it might be worth it to have for solo questing or to fill in a DPS role in an instance/raid slot.  My original plan was for my Primary Spec to be Discipline and the Secondary Spec to be Holy (since I have a really nice fully epic holy set just collecting dust in the bank at the mo’) but it’s a long story why I didn’t go that route for now.  My First Spec is Disc, second spec is Shadow.  I fully intend on this changing down the line, I’m really just playing around with the DPS spec when doing my dailies or questing for cash.  Shadow is fun, but as far as caster DPS goes, I’d rather level my 70 Mage to 80 and just blast things in the face.  I must say that I’m pretty impressed so far though – wearing my Disc gea and without any Shadow glyphs, I was able to pull 2200 dps on an 80 target dummy!  I’ll need to collect  some +hit gear (never thought I’d go DPS with this toon so I never bothered) before I could run a heroic or raid with her effectively in a DPS role, but it’s still good to know that I can DPS in a pinch without switching my gear.

Argent Tournament Stuff
You know I’m a sucker for mounts and pets…so I’ll be grinding this on the side when I have time.  I love the titles too…would be cool to be Bayloo of Exodar and Boomba of Stormwind.  I liked the beginning quests (not all the travel, but the simplicity of them) especially the quests on horseback.  I love mounted combat, it should be a lot of fun going forward in the tourney.

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Finally made enough extra cash to afford the Red Drake!
He’s so pretty!   I’m reading the Warcraft novel, War of the Ancients, and ever since I started it, I wanted to own the Wyrmrest Accord dragon.  I’m very happy with him.

Graphics Problems

•14 April 2009 • Leave a Comment

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With the new patch came some very, very strange graphical problems for my poor little PC.  I’ve never had problems like these before and I was forced to update my video card drivers to fix the issues.  Once I did that, the graphics looked a lot sharper and clearer.  I took a few screenshots just because they were funny.  😛

Healing 25 Man PUGs

•9 April 2009 • 5 Comments


So, admittedly this isn’t a topic that I have a ton of experience with as I could care less about the gear in 25 mans.  My guild is too small to put a 25 man raid together and I detest pugging, so I figured that I just wasn’t going to have to deal with healing a 25 man other than just OS/VoA.  (Which was totally fine with me.)

In the last few days, I’ve been bombarded with requests to heal Naxx25.  I politely turned each one of them down, until I got a really nice tell.

Them: “Good morning.  My guild is a small, casual guild that is trying to do Naxx25, but we are short on healers.  If you’re not too busy, would you mind coming to help?”

I almost turned them away, but I felt bad for them knowing that if my guild tried to put a 25 man together, we’d be in the same position of having to PUG certain spots.  I told them I would come and help, grabbed my raiding bag out of the bank and off I went.

25 man healing is seriously like playing “Whack-A-Mole”.  I use Grid so that my party frames are all pretty, but I don’t use Clique or HealBot or any other healing mods…that’s a post for another time…I just don’t like using Healing mods.  It’s really all about prioritzing and wondering if the other healers are seeing what you’re seeing.  Luckily, Grid tells me when a heal is coming in for a player.  It also shows me by putting a red outline around the player’s frame as soon as they pull aggro.  When I’m on my game and paying attention, I can Pain Suppression and PW:S the aggro puller before they get one-shot (as most commonly it is a clothie who is putting out an insane amount of DPS).

It kind of surprises me how often I have to clarify what a Disc Priest is to a Raid Leader, though.  They always ask if that means I can still heal or if I’m DPS.  Then they struggle with where to put me for healing assignments.  I finally came up with an analogy that I’m quite proud of to explain it:

Think of me as a Holy Mage.  Instead of nuking the stuffing out of a mob with damaging spells, I’m like a Mage that nukes the stuffing out of my target with healing spells.  Assign me where you would assign any single-target healer and I’ll be sure to get the job done.

It’s very true in my mind.  I feel like a Holy Mage…Disc is very visually aggressive between Penance and Prayer of Mending.  It’s like you’re assaulting them with the heals.  I love it. ❤

The group went ok that day…we got to a certain point and it became too difficult without Vent.

Fast forward to today.  I joined another Naxx25 PUG on the recommendation of a fellow guild healer.  I’m thinking, “Ok, this will be better with someone I know in the run – especially a fellow healery type that can give me the inside track on what to do since this is only my second time here.”  In all fairness, he was in the group the day before and they did very well – he had no idea the leaders had changed and we were in for a one boss kill, three hour ordeal.

As soon as I joined the raid and buffed up, they announce that they’re going for Military Wing first.  I get a whisper from the other Priest in the raid telling me to call it out on Vent when he needs to taunt off of me because his mic is broken.  I start freaking out.  I immediately whisper the raid leader (after watching the fight on YouTube, I know they’re trying to tell me that they want me to Mind Control one of the adds) frantically announcing that I have never done this fight before on 25 man, just 10 – let alone being able to Mind Control the adds.  Mind Control wasn’t even on my UI since I never use it these days, lol.

I’m ignored until we get to Razuvious and I am still whispering people, offering to bow out to make room for a Priest that knows the fight – at the very least one that has some kind of hit gear (I have 12 hit, atm) and they wind up coercing me to try the fight.  Of couse, we wipe immediately.  My mind controlled target broke right after I had him.  I got him back, he broke again – but not before ravaging the raid and going on a massive killing spree.

They were very nice to me, I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that I spoke on their Vent (something I haven’t done in a PUG in some time) to tell them that I couldn’t hold the add.  I’m just sayin’…they hear you’re female and the game changes.  In this case, it did me a service to have them know I was a girl…because they really took the mickey out of the Priest who kept messing it up after me.  The Vent channel was filled with colorful language and insults.  I was so nervous after I messed up, but I know I gave it a try and that I was up front from the beginning that I had no idea what I was doing.

They found another Priest who pulled it off after four more tries and we downed the boss.  Then we spent 3 more hours with no other boss kills to show for it and a lot of sloppy and lousy playing.

I’m really enjoying Disc, but it’s a lot more challenging to “play right” than Holy from what I’ve noticed.  You definitely fluctuate between periods of frantic, “ZOMGGONNALOSETHETANKPOMPENANCESHIELD…ok he’s fine now, whew” to twiddling your thumbs waiting for your shield to break and for someone to start taking damage.  In this particular raid, I was second on healing done and fifth on overhealing.  I’m pretty proud of that.

All in all, I have to say that I really love healing 5 and 10 mans, but am NOT a fan of 25s.  I’m glad that I don’t have to heal them unless I choose to find a PUG…I doubt I’ll be doing that again anytime soon.


My First Title

•6 April 2009 • 7 Comments

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The other night, my guild was going for another Maly kill and I signed up as heals.  Both times we’ve killed him have been very lucky.  The first time, we killed him with about a second left before we went berserk and the most recent kill, we were all dead, but the dots finished him off, lol.  A kill is still a kill!  😉

I got my first title on my healer, Bayloo…as shown above.  Pretty cool!  😀

I’ve been having a blast playing the Priest lately.  I actually like to raid now – as long as it’s with good groups.  I haven’t really had the desire to PUG outside of my guild for Naxx25, but after my third whisper in a day asking me to come heal, I decided to peek in and see what it was like.  It was pretty awful.  People were pulling when the group wasn’t ready, no one was giving out healing assignments, we only cleared Spider Wing then got stuck on Noth.  I wound up leaving, but not before winning a crit belt that I’m VERY happy with.  😀  I just need a few more pieces and I’ll have an entirely epic Disc set to go with my fully epic Holy set that is currently collecting dust in the bank at the moment.  😛

Ps – Does anyone know why the widgets aren’t showing in WordPress if you’re using Firefox?  Grrrr.

Malygos

•27 March 2009 • 12 Comments

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Recently, my guild started attempts on Malygos.  In both Vanilla WoW and Burning Crusade, my guild’s focus was on being a casual, friendly, and mature guild.  We did not push for content, hardly ever fielding enough geared players to run Karazhan on a regular basis.  After WotLK came out, things began to change…people no longer focused on just doing the 5 man content, but wanted to push into the harder 10 man content.   A lot of the players focused on improving their gear, spec, and rotation for raiding.  They collected consumables and signed up for the raids.  I’m very proud of them because tonight, we successfully completed Malygos.  We’ve done all of the raiding content that’s available to a guild our size (25 mans are out of reach) and are ramping up for Ulduar!

I’m a little sad I didn’t get to take my Priest – since all she needed for the Champion of the Frozen Wastes title was a Maly kill.  Oh well, maybe next time.  I’m having an absolute blast playing her, though.  I got lucky in a Naxx run and had no competition and exchanged a lot of my BOE epics for Naxx epics.  I wound up getting like 6 pieces of gear between two runs.  So, the priest is now geared better than the Rogue, but has only been 80 since 3/12.  Too funny!

I can’t wait for Dual Specs now and the changes that are coming for Disc Priests.  I would love to be Disc full-time because it was fun and versatile, but it was VERY challenging to heal 5 mans, which I enjoy very much when I’m Holy spec’ed.   So much of a challenge that it was too frustrating for me to stay spec’ed that way.   It’s going to take some time to get used to the differences between Holy and Disc, but I think it will be worth it.  I’m kind of out of projects until then.

In the meantime…

Yay for killing Malygos!

Making the Switch to Disc

•16 March 2009 • 7 Comments


I’ve been having a blast on my Holy Priest lately.  During the leveling journey from 70-80, I did little else than grind instances.  By the end of the trip, I felt very comfortable with my rotation/abilities/ohcrap buttons.  (Except Divine Hymn, but that will be a noobtacular post for another day!)  Yesterday, I successfully healed VoA10, OS25, VoA25, and a Timed CoS run for the drake and all went much better than I could’ve imagined…especially the timed run, man I am still SO geeked about that!!

I had signed up for a chance to try my hand at healing Naxx and after talking to my guild’s Main Healer, decided to try a Discipline spec when raiding with him.  Our other raid healer is usually a Resto Druid and it seemed that a Holy Priest, Disc Priest, and Tree would work out really well together.  The Resto Druid and CoH Holy Priest are great with raid-wide heals and topping people off and a Disc Priest’s bread and butter – where they really shine – is healing a single target (Or two when you have an OT) as well (or better in some cases) than a Healadin.  I still have some work to do on my gear and stats, but overall – I like what I’m seeing.  18k mana, 18k health, 1900 SP, 16.5% holy crit, 10% haste.  I’d love to have better mana regen as I can’t really sustain myself when the crap hits the fan in a five man.  Pulled way too many?  I can keep you alive (and myself a lot better than when I was Holy) but the DPS better be on par or I’m not going to last.  I had some serious mana issues last night during Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle – namely during that hellacious gauntlet event.  By the time Skadi would land, I would be OOM.  My mana regens pretty quickly when I’m outside of the FSR, but for a fight like that – the poor DPS warrior (Sorry K!) went down several times on the first whirlwind when I was struggling to keep the tank up.  I’ve noticed that Disc Priests are really lacking with their AOE heals (they should be – that’s what Holy Priests do) but it was hard for me to break the habit of going for the instant CoH to give myself enough time to cast Prayer of Healing if needed.  Disc requires FAST reactions…if you hesitate too long, your tank is dead/dps is dead/you’re dead.  Of course, last night I was hesitating because I don’t know the spec yet or the abilities.  I can read about it until my eyes bleed, but I just gotta get in there and try it out to learn.  I did successfully heal Heroic Azjol’Nerub right before the H UP group…so I’m not totally UBER SUCK, lol.

I will say that after doing some quests to make some money, I was very impressed at how fast things were dying.  Also, the few Horde I came across surely regretted encroaching on my territory because I put them down without any major problems.  Sure, I’m level 80 and the few Horde that wanted to pick a fight with a Priest out by her lonesome questing were 78-80, but an HK is still an HK – especially on a build that I’m not familiar with, lol.

I’ve always wanted to try Disc because of my healing style – I like moving around, I like short quick casts, I like using the shield when I can get away with it, etc.  I also remember the first time I was healed by Prayer of Mending/Penance combo and I felt assaulted by heals because of the graphics and what they do to your character and it made me laugh…I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of doing that to other people!

I decided to go with this build.

So far I have a few thoughts (keep in mind that I haven’t even been Disc for a full 24 hours!) that I want to keep track of to see if I improve/answer my own questions, etc.

Mana Regen Issues: Gear Problem or User Error.  I’m inclined to believe that it’s User Error and I’m not playing the spec correctly.  Will research this a bit and hopefully with time, I will get as comfy with Disc as I was with Holy.
-AOE Heals: Prayer of Healing is TOO slow sometimes.  Especially when the whole group gets sprayed with a debuff I can’t remove like Poison.  Some of the poisons in Heroics eat though health so fast, it’s hard to keep someone up even when you’re spam healing them with Flashes.
-Penance: Gotta train myself to go for this button more often.  It’s so fun to use!
-Pain Suppression: Excellent for the last 20% of a boss’s health when they like to go all red and super angry.  Hopefully this will be a reflexive choice soon.
-Power Infusion: O.M.G.  I love this spell.  You should see how fast my little Draenei booty can toss out the flash heals when this is active.  It’s insane!
-Love the bubble graphic people get after crit heals.

So far, I’m not very happy with Disc for 5 man Heroic healing.  I’m hoping that my first foray into Naxx isn’t a debacle because of this spec, but if it is – I’ll be respecing right after, lol.  And I also hope that it’s just User Error and that with time, I’ll come to like it.

It’s good to be in a guild that lets you try things out.  🙂

Update:  I’ve already switched back to Holy.  After three separate epic failures trying to heal Heroics (ok, not really epic failures as we got them all done, but after numerous wipes which I perceive to be an epic failure on my end) I decided Disc is NOT for me for small groups right now.  It still remains to be seen if it will work for raiding for me.  🙂  The time to test this will be when dual specs are available.  It’s too expensive to reglyph/regem/respec back and forth testing things out.