Archive for July, 2011

by Chase Christian

 

If you’re like me, you’ve been spending way too much time in the Dungeon Finder queue lately. With a plethora of new loot available in patch 4.2, we need to earn valor points as fast as possible. Patch 4.2 introduced several new gear options, including new valor point vendors, a new reputation vendor, new leatherworking recipes, and even unlockable vendors. Rather than idling around a capital city, I prefer to work on my daily quests as I wait. I want to minimize the amount of time it takes me to upgrade my gear, and multitasking is the best way to accomplish that.

The most important determining factor in the gear available to you will be whether or not you are raiding in Firelands. A large subset of the new rogue gear is only available to raiders, whether that’s due to requiring a certain reputation that you can only obtain by raiding or the fact that the items only drop from bosses in Firelands. Patch 4.2 brings gear for rogues at every level, including those who aren’t raiding for one reason or another. Your goal should be to identify the gear that is available to you, and then to prioritize that gear and start working towards acquiring it.
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15
Jul

WoW Boss Guide: Occu’thar

   Posted by: free-wow-guide   in WoW Boss Guides, WoW Raiding Guides

by Josh Myers

 

When you zone into the post-4.2 Baradin Hold, the first thing you’ll notice that last patch’s Demon Containment Unit trash have been deactivated. The now defunct Destroyed Containment Unit stand silent in the hallways, leaving room for you to engage this patch’s new trash, the Eyes of Occu’thar. If you’ve learned anything from Cataclysm raiding, it should be that trash mobs will do everything in their power to kill you, and it’s in your raid’s best interest to be prepared. These optical oddities are no different.

Before you engage the trash, make sure your whole raid is present and accounted for and ready to move as one group. Your entire raid group should stack on one tank, and then stand together for the pull. This is because the Eyes will each focus on different raid members and cast Gaze of Occu’thar, a minor-damage DOT that explodes for huge damage after 10 seconds. Due to this, you want to stack up and AOE them down before 10 seconds pass. Other than this, the Eyes of Occu’thar do nothing special.
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by Allison Robert

 

Why haste matters

Ever since I spent a morning on the PTR playing around with the new restoration mastery, I’ve wanted to write a column on how haste interacts with our healing spec. The new mastery (Harmony) is a great stat and, for most players, should be a net healing gain over the very uninspiring Symbiosis. The recent 200% bonus to healing critical strikes is also nothing but gravy. However, our best (sort of) secondary stat remains (some of the time) haste (but often mastery) for the following reasons:

  • Haste reduces the global cooldown. This is an old bonus that’s survived fromWrath of the Lich King, in which being able to slap as many spells on as many players as possible was what kept your raid alive on such enjoyable encounters as Twin Valks andBlood Queen Lana’thel. These days, that’s less important, but don’t tell that to anyone healing heroic Chimaeron.
  • It speeds the cast time of direct healing spells. This is a bonus that still tends to do more for the other healers, but we rely on our direct heals a lot more these days than we did previously.
  • HOTs tick faster. Just what it says: Every point of haste increases the rate at which our HOTS tick. This does come with a penalty in the form of having to reapply HOTs more frequently, assuming that’s necessary, and it’s one of the reasons why haste isn’t an unequivocally good thing. If you zone out and just methodically reapply HOTs to targets on whom they’ve fallen off, you’ll find yourself blowing through a ton of mana very quickly.
  • At certain breakpoints, you gain additional ticks. This is the big one. The additional tick(s) you gain for HOTs at certain amounts of haste adds an enormous amount to our healing, but it also means you have to pay very close attention to what your haste is at any given moment.

So how does that last one work out in practice? In reforging for mastery, I fell below the breakpoint needed to add a fifth tick of Rejuvenation. What I gained in mastery wasn’t enough to offset the amount of healing done by that fifth tick, so — even though mastery is now a very good stat for restoration druids — the amount that my Rejuvenation healed actually declined by 10.6%.

What the @*$# is a breakpoint?

Haste breakpoints are the numbers at which different HOTs gain an additional tick. The problem for us is that our spells (with the exception of Wild Growth and Efflorescence) don’t share the same breakpoints, and all the numbers look different once you factor in different raid buffs anyway. It feels a touch like revisiting the nightmare that was armor penetration inWrath, but truthfully, it’s a lot easier. Throwing yourself in front of a train was arguably a more attractive option back then.

Most of the time, breakpoints are calculated with the 5% haste buff available from the shadow priest’s Shadowform, the moonkin’s Moonkin Form (what else?), or the shaman’s Wrath of Air totem. This is a very basic buff that just about every raid should be able to cover, even at the 10-man level. A further 3% haste is yours if you can convince a warlock to give you Dark Intent, which may or may not happen depending on who else is running around the group. (Tip: Don’t count on it if your raid leader’s a shadow priest.) Oh, and let’s not forget talents like Nature’s Grace and trinkets like Shard of Woe.

And then there are the poor resto druids among us who, for whatever reason, can count on getting none of these buffs. Who’s looking out for them?

Lots of people. Hamlet at Elitist Jerks has the breakpoints listed for Rejuvenation, Wild Growth, and Efflorescence at his (updated!) Cataclysm 4.2 restoration guide, and Reesi at The Inc Bear has a comprehensive list of the breakpoints needed per spell.

As a quick gloss, these are the most common ones:

  • If you have no haste buffs Rejuvenation gains a fifth tick at 1,602 haste and a sixth tick at 4,805 haste. WG/Efflorescence gain an eighth tick at 913 haste and a ninth tick at 2,745 haste. Lifebloom gains an 11th tick at 649 haste, a 12th tick at 1,992 haste, and a 13th tick at 3,212 (to the extent that you need to worry about Lifebloom ticks at all).
  • If you have the 5% haste buff from a shadow priest/moonkin/WoA totemRejuvenation gains a fith tick at 916 haste and a sixth tick at 3,967 haste. WG/Efflorescence gain an eighth tick at 260 haste and a ninth tick at 2,005 haste. Lifebloom gains a 12th tick at 1,221 haste and a 13th tick at 2,449 haste.

Which breakpoints are the most important?

Your first priority as a restoration druid at level 85 is to get to the point where you add a fifth tick to Rejuvenation; nothing will make as much of a difference to your healing at both the 5-man and raid level. Fortunately, you can reach 916 haste in blues with both hands tied behind your back, and that’ll take care of you if you’re constantly grouped or raiding with the 5% haste buff. If you’re not, even 1,602 is pretty doable in heroic blues as long as you’re gemming and enchanting sensibly. From what I recall, my main on the live realms hit 1,602 haste with mostly heroic blues and standard-issue resto gems and enchants, though this was also back when mastery was something you didn’t go out of your way to get.

After that, theorycrafters are generally agreed that 2,005 — the point at which you gain a ninth Wild Growth tick with the 5% haste buff — is the most important milestone to reach.

So there’s your answer. If you can count on the 5% haste buff while you’re healing, aim for 2,005 haste, which will take care of both the fifth Rejuvenation tick and the ninth Wild Growth tick. If you can’t count on the 5% haste buff and are restricted to non-raid gear, you can realistically add the fifth Rejuvenation tick at 1,602 haste, but the ninth WG tick is probably out of reach without epics.

Why didn’t you list the other HOTs?

Worrying about haste breakpoints for our other HOTs — Lifebloom, Regrowth, andTranquility – generally isn’t worth it, though I listed Lifebloom above as a convenience.

  • Lifebloom is automatically refreshed by NourishHealing Touch, and Regrowth, assuming you have Empowered Touch (and you should), so ticks being added to it don’t usually result in a net gain for your healing.
  • The use of Regrowth is realistically constrained by your Omen of Clarity procs, and the HOT portion of the spell has been pretty badly devalued in Cataclysm anyway.
  • Given that Tranquility is at best a 3-minute cooldown and that its use is often dictated by encounter mechanics, it’s not worth rearranging your gear in order to take advantage of an extra tick. Tranquility breakpoints are almost the same as Rejuvenation breakpoints, however.

When is mastery better than haste?

As of patch 4.2, mastery is generally the better of the two stats. However, if you’re close to reaching a haste breakpoint for Rejuvenation or Wild Growth and can realistically make it by swapping a few gems around, haste is better. If you’ve passed a haste breakpoint and won’t fall below it by gemming back to intellect or intellect/mastery, mastery is better. If you’re raiding (and especially if you’re a dedicated raid healer), make sure you never fall below that all-important 2,005 haste for that ninth Wild Growth tick.

Basically, let gear improvements take care of the majority of your haste worries past 2,005 haste, but be vigilant if you approach another breakpoint for Rejuvenation or Wild Growth.

What about bears?

The bears in our little fable were correct. Haste is terrible for bear tanks, and Blizzard’s looking for ways to make it more attractive. For the time being, never reforge for it, and don’t look for it on your gear.








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by Tyler Caraway

 

This time around, I’m going to tell about all those little weaknesses that you guys have that we can (and do) exploit in order to bring as much pain as we possibly can. Think of it as doing you a favor — maybe this way you can avoid some of these sticky situations. Or maybe not … I suppose it’s really all up to you.

Let’s kill us some dead things!
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by Chase Christian

 

I have a feeling that the developers have a hard time balancing healers for PVP combat. How should healers be killed in PVP? Should we run out of mana eventually, or is a bursty switch the only answer? Can the focused efforts of a single DPSer be enough to topple us, or should it take two players to finish us off? Trying to balance all of these elements for four different classes with five different healing trees is a challenge by any measure. Every organized PVP encounter revolves around the healers involved, especially in the golden bracket of 3v3.

Prior to patch 4.2, teams loved seeing a holy paladin across the arena from them, as holy paladins weren’t exactly amazing at 3v3 matches in the first few months of Cataclysm. We have a few key weaknesses, notably our lack of any long-term crowd control like Hex and our lone school of magic, holy, which leaves us defenseless when interrupted. We weren’t completely ineffective in arenas before patch 4.2, but we also weren’t breaking any records or winning any #1 Healer trophies.
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by Joe Perez

 

This week, I thought we would talk about something involving a considerable amount of fire. If you’re a raiding restoration shaman, chances are good that this past week you got to set foot in the land of fire and giants that are set on fire. I’m talking, of course, about theFirelands raid. Healing in the new instance has been both fun and hectic all at the same time, and I’ve personally been having quite a bit of fun learning the encounters. Besides, what better way to fight fire than with the element of water!

This is not intended to be an all-inclusive raid boss guide. We will do a brief overview of the bosses, and then process to tips and tricks for restoration shaman.
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by Dawn Moore

 

I don’t know why, but there has been some serious fear-mongering in the priest community this past week regarding the lack of spirit cloth gear in the Firelands. Though I have no idea how this all started, I’m going to lay this out so it’s easy to understand: You do not need to freak out about the lack of spirit cloth gear in the Firelands.

If you’ll give me your undivided attention for the next few paragraphs, I’ll not only explain why, I’ll walk you through all the pretty gear you can get from the Firelands, daily quests, and then some.
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by Fox Van Allen

 

There are a slew of new-for-patch-4.2 items currently available on the auction house. New BOE gear from Firelands. New tailoring and leatherworking patterns. New blacksmithing plans. Living Embers. New PVP gear. They’re all — at least in theory — high-demand items. After all, given players’ insatiable lust for better gear, customers should be lining up around the (virtual) block to be buying all this stuff.

But on many servers, they’re not. The demand is clearly there, but markets are struggling to function.

What happened? Why did the market break? What are players doing wrong? And how exactly are you supposed to play the market with these new-for-4.2 items?
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by Durin Mundahl

 

Cleave is back!

Praise the Light! Not only does Seal of Righteousness hit everything within our melee range, but now it activates from Divine Storm and has the ability to crit. All of your worries (as well as mine) about it not outdamaging Seal of Truth on more than 10 monsters are gone. As far as I can tell with my rigorous training smashing the trash in Firelands (as well as some of the crazed gnomes in Uldum), it is now worth it to use Seal of Righteousness on four mobs or more. This still doesn’t give you the right to Divine Storm two things, though. (Seriously, knock it off — you’re making the rest of us look bad.)

The change to Inquiry of Faith now makes our Inquisition last 36 seconds, up from 30 seconds. This is pretty nice for people who are going to be replacing their tier 11 four-piece set bonus and are trying to cope with the loss of the extra Inquisition time. Overall, this gives us a bit more leeway with our rotation.

With the patch, Selfless Healer reduces the cooldown on our Word of Glory by 10 seconds when specced into it, effectively making our off-healing in PvP somewhat decent again (even though you can’t rely on Eternal Glory procs to spam heal someone to full anymore). Selfless Healer being undispellable is just icing on the cake. Ret still has problems with survivability in PVP, but I think we can all agree Blizzard’s giving Word of Glory a 20-second cooldown was one of those Come on! moments where we all cringed in disbelief. I know I did.

Daily quest Mark of the World Tree rewards

As far as new gear is concerned, let me begin with the new daily quest hub that arrived with patch 4.2. There is a plethora of new gear that can be acquired from doing the daily quests in and around Mount Hyjal.

  • Fireheart Necklace This necklace is sold by Zen’Vorka in the Molten Front. You gain access to him by doing the Through the Gates of Hell quest after getting 20 Marks of the World Tree. It will take you three days after doing the first set of daily quests in Hyjal to be eligible for this quest and the prerequisites. With expertise and mastery, this necklace is perfectly itemized for ret paladins. You can always reforge the expertise if you’re capped (which you probably are).
  • Rickety Belt This belt is obtained through Damek Bloombeard in the Molten Front. However, you don’t get access to his inventory until you complete the Additional Armaments quest. This quest requires you to get a whopping 125 Marks of the World Tree, but by the time you get to this point in the quest hub, you will be getting more than four marks a day, so it won’t be that bad. With haste (yuck) and expertise, this belt’s stats are less than ideal. But if you really want a new belt or are too lazy to farm rep for Belt of the Ferocious Wolf, this may be the perfect belt for you. (Despite the Belt of the Ferocious Wolf’s inferior stats, it’s still a very good belt. I personally wouldn’t replace it with Rickety Belt because of the haste.)
  • Meteorite Ring Damek also sells a ring. It’s another piece that has haste on it, but if you really need a second ring, I would go ahead and pick this up. It’s not bad at all coupled with Band of Bees.
  • Masterwork Elementium Deathblade In case you didn’t know, Damek Bloombeard also deals in blacksmithing plans. This is a great weapon due to the huge amount of mastery on it. However, it does have a swing speed of 3.50, so its damage is a little lower than I would have liked. It’s not worth replacing Reclaimed Ashkandi with, though, because of its 3.80 speed and superior weapon damage — but still something worth looking into.
  • Moon Blessed Band This ring is acquired from Ayla Shadowstorm in the Molten Front. Like Damek, you don’t get access to her inventory until you complete Filling the Moonwell, which requires 125 Marks of the World Tree. With hit and crit on it, this is a very good ring, and I would recommend picking it up and reforging the crit into mastery (or whatever you may need).
  • Dwyer’s Caber This wonderful trinket can be purchased from Varlan Highbough in the Molten Front. As with the other two vendors, you need to complete Calling the Ancientsin order to get access to his goods. This is a great trinket coupled with License to Slayif you’re wanting to get into Firelands — plus it lets you throw a giant tree every 3 minutes.

Avengers of Hyjal rewards

With the release of The Firelands comes a new raid reputation. You can get this rep by killing trash and bosses inside the Firelands itself. As far as I know, it’s only possible to get 5,999/6,000 reputation off of the normal monsters in the Firelands. But the Molten Lords can push you just over honored. (Mat McCurley offers a great instructional on how to do trash runs.)

  • Bladed Flamewrath Cover The stats on this cloak are pretty terrible for a ret paladin, but it’s the best cloak you’re going to get this tier. And the big chunk of expertise is welcome for those of us replacing Heart of Rage. It can be purchased from the Avengers of Hyjal Quartermaster just inside of the Firelands after you reach friendly with the Avengers of Hyjal.
  • Cinch of Flaming Ember This is a very good belt despite its blue socket. This also has a huge chunk of hit on it and is an upgrade to everything you could have gotten in the last tier of content. There is some speculation that Uncrushable Belt of Fury mightbe better because of the huge chunk of mastery, but I highly doubt it. You’re sacrificing 72 strength, which in my eyes isn’t worth all of the mastery. Strength is still king. This belt can be purchased when you reach honored with the Avengers of Hyjal.
  • Essence of the Eternal Flame Don’t confuse this with Essence of the Pure Flame; this is an amazing trinket for a ret paladin. It has everything you could ever need, mastery and strength; it’s almost too perfect. Macro it with your Avenging Wrath and Zealotry and wreck some faces. This can be bought when you reach revered with the Avengers of Hyjal.
  • Obsidian Signet of the Avengers I don’t want to burst your bubble, but you won’t be getting this ring for a while, even if it is best in slot. But when you do, it will be fully worth it. The stats on this are simply amazing, and it has a red socket with a +10 strength bonus. I’m going to go wish I had it some more in the corner. You’ll cry tears of joy when you reach exalted with the Avengers of Hyjal.

As convoluted as the quest hub in Hyjal is, a lot of the rewards are pretty appealing to those of us who haven’t had hard modes on farm. With everything having an item level of 365, it’s just a step above what you would have gotten in normal tier 11 content. However, if you have been farming heroic content, then the reputation rewards may be right up your alley. (Unless you’ve already killed all of the bosses in the Firelands, no trash for you.) But remember, everything you get from Avengers of Hyjal rep does have a heroic version of itself and is probably best in slot, so it’s still worth it to knock out the first two stages of rep in your off time.








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by Christian Belt

 

New patch day has come and gone, and we’re all now furiously blasting through the new content, hoping to upgrade our old uber gear for new uber gear. I love the weeks following patch days. It’s like the twelve days of Christmas, only instead of turtle doves and french hens we get magical flaming staves and giant angry lava spiders.

Sadly, all that new gear doesn’t simply come down the chimney and appear below our flaming Christmas trees. We have to earn it, farm for it, slay bosses for it, and quest for it. All of those things take time, a thing I find I have precious little of these days. So where best to allocate our time in order to get the gear we want in the most efficient ways possible?
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