I Can’t Do 5 x 2 (but I can rhyme)

So… 5 x 2 project.  Read about it here.  The idea is that you’re supposed to be able to bust into combat with a total of 11 abilities hotkeyed.

However, as a holy priest, I have a LOT of spells that I use all the flippin time!  I won’t bore you with the details of my SPECIFIC keybinds, but here’s a list of core abilities I use in every encounter.

  1. flash heal
  2. heal
  3. greater heal
  4. renew
  5. prayer of mending
  6. prayer of healing
  7. circle of healing
  8. holy word: chastise
  9. binding heal
  10. dispel
  11. chakra (I’ve counted chakra as 1 key to slim down the list, even though most priests use at least 2 chakra macros (1 for each chakra state).)
  12. fade (that’s serious business)

Oh noes, that is 12, not 11.  I just don’t see how ANY of these can be excluded!

Situational abilities that MIGHT be excluded…

  1. mass dispel (one could argue this is situational for the encounter)
  2. cleanse disease (one could argue this is situational for the encounter)

Now, you can argue that if these abilities are not needed for some encounters, so they can be taken off your bars and then put back as needed.  Totally valid point.  My problem with this is muscle memory.  If I keybind cleanse disease only for encounters that HAVE disease, I’ll be fumbling for it.

Cooldowns that are used a LOT and need to be used QUICKLY (and probably need to be keybound)

  1. guardian spirit
  2. life grip
  3. desperate prayer (which I use a lot)

Even the ones that might be used once per battle are not the kind of things that I can be late on.  Fumbling with clicking the mouse for Guardian Spirit?  Dead.

Long non-urgent cooldowns that can probably be clicked

  1. fiend
  2. lolwell
  3. hymn of hope
  4. d. hymn

My bare minimum arsenal of spells without ANY cooldowns is already 12 spells, not 11 (close!). Including my immediate cooldowns puts the count at 15 abilities.  (However, I have all of the above keybound, along with my racial, bringing the total up to 22).

TL;DR 5×2 doesn’t work for me as a holy priest, because holy priest has a lot of bells and whistles – and disc isn’t far behind.  (So I bought a Razer Naga.  Right now it’s blowing my mind.)

Does this mean that some classes are more accessible than others?  Or is it expected (by Blizzard) that we’ll find our favorite spells and ignore some tools in our arsenals depending on personal playstyle?

You Can Hate Cliques Until You’re In One

As a kid, I was never in a cool clique, or a clique of any kind.  Now suddenly, I am, in the most unlikely place – Team Heal.

What is your damage, DPS?

In fostering a sense of teamwork, we seem to have become somewhat of a clique.  It wasn’t really intentional.  We just work together so much that it was bound to happen.  Because there are 3 regular healers in the raid rotation, 1 part-time healer, and 1 emergency-only-healer, we raid together regularly and dependably.

What makes a healer-clique so weird is that because there is only one healer per heroic, we almost NEVER get to run 5’s together.  One of us would have to break out a pitiful DPS spec.  Also, it seems wasteful to put 2 healers in the same group if we have a second group without any healers.  In other words, getting together in-game outside raid nights is a rare event.

We’re not cliquish because we make snarky comments, in a “Mean Girls” sort of way.  It’s not having the private channel, because we really only use that on raid nights for raid stuff (and, ok, the occasional snark).

Do you think the tank is getting chubby?

It’s that, when I want to talk to someone in game, I feel closest to my fellow healers.  I’m more likely to whisper them about random crap, or want to run a heroic with one of them.  We like each other and seek out each other to hang with.  Is that wrong?

I’ll answer – it may be wrong and rude to other people not in the in-crowd, but I can’t bring myself to care.  I’m in the in-crowd!  We have private jokes that nobody else gets.  We crack each other up on a regular basis.  Cliques are cool.

Remember, there is no cure for SMS (Stupid Man Syndrome).  There is an effective treatment, crotch-punching, but it is still in clinical trials.  Symptoms may include scratching, bragging, flatulence, and excessive amusement at flatulence.  Of course you don’t get it.  It’s our PRIVATE JOKE, dammit.

I am the Jerk who Ganked Your Flower

As we talked about before, guild cauldron making is srs bzns.  I do a lot of herbing, and there is nothing more annoying than having to mount and dismount while some annoying DRUID BIRD swoops down and yoinks the flower.

Especially when you’re a moron, like me, and forget to swap from holy spec, and end up smiting weakly the mob guarding the herb while the stupid BIRD swoops down and swipes the flower.  Cackling.  With its beak.

No longer!  I’ve retasked my druid to herbalism.  It took a surprisingly short time to get back up to speed (thanks, old world flying) and now…

I’m that jerk.  Swooping down on your flower.  Cackling.  With my beak.

I was totally expecting some asshole to swoop down on my flower as I was posing for this screenshot.

Clones and Linking in ForteXorcist

If you are a shadow priest, and even if you’re not, you might be using ForteXorcist.  Hey, it appears in the UI of Aliena, the holy priest who narrates the Tank Spot videos.  So if she uses it, it’s hard core, right?  (There are other addons that are out there that are just as good, but we’re not talking about them today, k?)

Anyhoo, there used to be a big warning that clones were not working, so I did not bother.  But now they are, and I am super-excited.

What Is A Clone?

Simply put, it’s a copy of something you already have, complete with all the same settings.

But you don’t want to keep an EXACT copy.  Two bar sets that do the same thing are not cool.

The whole point is that you copy over your settings to the clone, and then you make some tweaks so that the clone is useful in its own right.  However, you don’t have to redo all the options you’ve already set that you like, such as bar size, bar texture, font size, and other things that are time-consuming to duplicate.

If you click "New" you get "clone of X" (whatever tab you were on when you clicked "new"). You can rename "Clone of X".

See FAQ: How to make a new profile or clone

What’s Linking?

There are three types of linking.  Linking PROFILES, linking CLONES (bar sets), and linking individual OPTIONS (like bar thickness).

Here’s what linking does: the items are exactly the same, and will stay exactly the same.  If you make a change to one, you make a change to the other.

I do not recommend automatic linking, period. There is nothing more frustrating than finishing modifying your NEW bar set only to find out that you inadvertently applied all those settings to your OLD bar set and have to undo them all.  If you want to link, set the default to not link, and have linking be a purposeful choice.

If you want to keep your settings the same across all toons, you don’t need linking.  You just need to use the same profile.

Where linking might come in is if you want to use some (but not all) the same bars across toons.

This has automatic linking enabled (not recommended). It also describes how to un-link something.

See FAQ: Using Linking

Example: My Shadow Setup

You're gonna have to click to embiggen. Srs.

As you can see, I have 3 sets of bars pictured (and one not shown).

Set 1. My current target.  It will include all dots that I’ve applied.  I have decided not to include other people’s dots at this time, but I could.

Set 2. All targets of my offensive spells.  This includes my current target, but also includes my focus and any other mob I have dotted up.   Notice here, I have multi-dotted 3 target dummies.  The one that is not faded is my current target.

Set 3. My cooldowns.  I use this bar set only for longer cooldowns over a minute.  I have filtered out shorter cooldowns such as prayer of mending.

Set 4. (Not Pictured) This bar set is for my focus and shows ONLY my crowd control spells.  That allows me to keep an eye on my shackle duration when I’m using a focus target.  I have filtered out other debuffs on the focus.

Dr. Frostlove: or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Frost Spec

Recently I gave frost a second look because my offspec arcane I never played for two reasons. First we have two other raiding arcane mages in Eff the Ineffable which would make three complete lunacy, and second because I find arcane boring. Personal preference.

Now, I will admit I wasn’t initially eager to try frost because I am not a pet class lover. My only pet class (a warlock) I play affliction like it was a DoT mage, and since the water elemental (Squirtle) was a key part of being a frost mage I was not terribly enthused. However, this week has been an experiment in Frost and one that has me excited to feel like I have choice again when playing a mage.

Unleash the Beast Within With Frost!

Stat Priority

If you go by a broad approximation from Ask Mr Robot you find that Intellect and Spell Hit are topping off the list and Haste, Crit, and Mastery are well below that and virtually interchangeable.

Intellect=1
Spell Hit=.94
Spell Power=.82
Haste=.44
Crit=.42
Mastery=.41

So basically reforge as much as you can into Hit and don’t worry so much what secondary stats gear has. If it is cloth and doesn’t have spirit, it should be fine. No real haste vs crit angst like fire or mastery vs haste like arcane.

The Spec

I built off a basic frame Elitist Jerks provided and got this.

Key talents:

  • Shatter 2/2: Frozen targets have three times the normal crit chance against them and your frostbolt has 20% increased damage against frozen targets.
  • Ice Floes 3/3: Decrease almost all your big frost cooldowns.
  • Ice Shards 2/2: This is optional, but can be very useful in slowing down packs of adds.
  • Fingers of Frost 3/3: your chill effect has a chance to proc this which treats the target as if they were frozen. (Thus you get the benefit of shatter)
  • Improve Freeze 3/3: Your pet’s freeze ability can force Fingers of Frost
  • Enduring Winter 1/3: Replenishment. There is no reason for taking more than one talent point here as the mana savings aren’t that big, and you spam frostbolt enough that you will probably have high replenishment uptime anyway.
  • Brain Freeze 3/3: Makes Instacast Frostbolts proc.
  • Reactive Barrier 2/2: If you take damage dropping you below 50% health you get an automatic Ice Barrier. Nice Survival talent.
  • Frostfire Orb 2/2: Changes your Flame Orb to have a slowing effect.
  • Deep Freeze 1/1:  On Bosses a preferred Finger of Frost damage proc.

The Glyphs

The Glyphs I’m running for a PvE environment are as follows

Prime

Major

The Rotation

The rotation reminds me of Fire in the use of procs more so than Arcane does. Basically follow this list on priority for the spell to cast on single target fights.

  1. Frostfire Orb
  2. Deep Freeze if Finger’s of Frost is active
  3. Frostfire Bolt if Brain Freeze Proc is up
  4. Ice Lance if Finger’s of Frost is up but Deep Freeze is on Cooldown and Brain Freeze has not Proced
  5. Pet’s Freeze ability to force a Fingers of Frost proc. Ideally you’d wait until Deep Freeze was off cooldown and of cource if you have a Fingers of Frost proc up wait until it is gone before making another.
  6. Frostbolt spam.

For AoE you will pretty much use Blizzard. Maybe Cone of Cold if they get too close or frost nova and blink away to start casting blizzard again.

Squirtle Management

Like I said above I am not one for pet classes in general, but I find the Squirtle AKA Water Elemental to be pretty easy. First thing you want to do is bind the Squirtle’s freeze ability to some key you can easily get to instead of trying to remember ctrl+4 or mousing over to your pet bar. Second generally have your pet on passive by default. The last thing you want is to be lumped in with the hunters and warlocks who wipe a group because of a bad pet.

When a fight starts get the pet attacking the main boss. Don’t worry about trying to get your pet to attack adds, it isn’t worth your time to be micro managing the pet that much. Use the freeze ability on cooldown, but otherwise just forget about it and let it auto attack the main bad guy while you do everything you need to be doing.

Final Advice

Frost is pretty proc heavy, but doesn’t feel like it has as much as debuff management as Fire. I still don’t like having a pet, but it is not as bad as I remember. Be sure to set it on Passive though and direct it where to shoot. The last thing you want is to have your pet pull stuff before people are ready. For me frost has been on par with my Fire DPS on some fights, and trailed on others. But what it really gives me is some choice in how I want to raid a particular fight. For movement heavy fights I will probably stay fire, for fights with lots of adds I may choose frost. And sometimes just knowing a different way to play your class can help you refine your skills on your primary spec.

Srs Bzns Gaming Equipment: The Adult Sippy Cup

When you’re gaming, it’s seriously important to have the right drinking equipment.  After all, you don’t want to SPILL, do you?

I present to you the adult sippy cup:

This is the one I use, but there are a bunch of similar ones on the market.  Key features include:

  • Insulation.  This is good for not just keeping your drinks cold, but for preventing condensation from forming and dribbling all over your desk (or onto your keyboard!  The horror!)
  • Straw structural integrity.  This bad boy can be used for milkshakes.   Milkshakes while raiding rule. Sissy straws that get bent by an overactive chewer (admit it, you CHEW) are fail.
  • Lid security.  A screw on lid is nice. A pop-on lid is asking for trouble.

The adult sippy cup: Twig tested, gamer approved!

Guild Cauldrons: Bring on the Math

We just got cauldrons!  YAY!

Now comes the hard part. MATH! Who should click, and how many times?  This depends on:

  • guild perk levels
    • how many clicks you get
    • how long the flasks last
  • how long is your raid
  • how many alchemists you have (cause, hey, they get longer flask times)
  • anyone using spirit flasks?
  • what herbs do you have in the bank (no, really, I’ll explain).

OK, let’s say you have a 3 hour raid with 10 raiders.  2 are alchemists.  Currently, in our guild, we have Rank 1 Chug-a-lug but that is our only cauldron perk.  Each cauldron has 7 clicks.

  • So each non alchemist raider will need 2 cauldron flasks or 3 regular flasks.
  • Each alchemist raider will need 1 cauldron flask or 2 regular flasks (with an hour wasted at the end, so this is a bad option.)

This is what we’re encountering in our first raid. Believe me, my mind is swimming.  I think we were all confused.

So… we put out 1 cauldron.  7 people took a flask and chugged.  Then we put out the 2nd cauldron.  The remaining 3 took a flask and chugged.  There were 4 charges left, and we told the non-alchemists to take a 2nd flask for later.  Since we only had 2 alchemists (who did not need a 2nd flask), and we had 4 people taking an extra flask, that left 4 people without flasks for the 2nd half of the raid.

We could have put out another cauldron, but that would have been a waste.  We opted instead to open up the gbank at raid halftime and dole out some single flasks, which was actually not ideal.  In theory there would be a half-hour at the end where the flasks had expired on those who took a single-flask (1 hr) after the cauldron flask (1.5 hr), but we were running late, so it worked out.

Now, if we had been SMART about this, we would have had the intellect-users and tanks have cauldron priority. This is because their flasks are the biggest pain in the ass to make (twilight jasmine).  If we have to dole out some single flasks during the raid, it is far better to dole out the cheaper single flasks with easier-to-obtain materials.

If we had been SMARTER, we would have designated some people to be flask-only and some people to be cauldron-only for a 3 hour raid, rather than having a few stragglers chug a cauldron-flask and then a single-flask.  Remember, if someone does a cauldron-flask (1.5 hr) and then a single-flask (1 hr), there’s a half hour missing at the end of the 3 hr raid, which would involve chugging another flask.

To simplify, let’s say you have 2 charges left.  Joe and Bob have not taken flasks yet.  If Joe and Bob each take 1 cauldron flask (1.5 hours), they will each need 2 single flasks (4 single flasks total)  for the last 1.5 hours of the raid (actually it’s a total of 3.5 hours because it’s a 1.5 hour cauldron-flask plus 2x 1 hour single-flasks).  However, Joe could take 2 cauldron flasks (1.5 hr x 2 = 3 hours), and Bob could use 3 single flasks (1 hr x 3 = 3 hours), with no wasted half-hour bits left on flasks.

Confused yet?

Next time, I may chug a spirit flask myself, which will, of course, screw up the math again.

In the meantime, don’t feel bad if you can’t figure this shit out.  I can’t either.  I can’t wait until guild rank 20 (Happy Hour) so we get 10 charges and don’t have to think about this junk.  Rank 22 (Rank 2 Chug A Lug) won’t be bad either, since we’ll only need 1 cauldron for our short 2-hour raids.

When Husband and Wife Fundamentally Disagree (about raiding policy)

ArcaneTinkerTank (otherwise known as Gnoble, Husband, and He Who Sleeps On Couch) is dead wrong.  Now what?

It all started when Gnoble announced that he was going to start tracking death rates on raids.  With like, numbers.

I have no effin clue why I blacked out the names since you all KNOW who is in our guild. Duh.

Now we can get into the pros and cons of the policy – but that’s not the issue.  The issue is that he’s my husband and I thought he was being dumb.

I obviously (privately) told him he was dumb.  In fact, I have his ear quite a lot, so I can explain the dumbness – over IM, in the car, during dinner (Mama Murloc is refusing to take sides).  But now what?

You see, if I say nothing on the forums, it looks like I agree with him – not because silence is usually construed as agreement, but because I’m his wife.

On the other hand, posting on the forum is incredibly artificial because… well he already knows what I think.  My arguments have obviously done nothing to sway him from his opinion.  Why the hell bother?

Ultimately I did post on the forums, just a short list of why I think it’s dumb, for the benefit of the other guildies.  And he posted back, a short list of reasons why my arguments are dumb.  It was a pretty dry exchange, since we had already scripted this out long before in our discussions over the dinner table.

However, I did get to threaten him with sleeping in the cat pan (not the couch, the CAT PAN) if this turns into healer blame for deaths.  I am also annoyed because this new “death ranking” doodad has foiled my nefarious plans to let Alas die for her lolwell haiku.

Jin’do has been vanquished by me (and 4 other guildies, but mostly me).

Morehnai promised that he’d help me get Jin’do thoroughly dead, and he stuck by us, even though he wanted to go to sleep last night, to kill Jin’do.  Yay!

Of course, Jin’do dropped crap that nobody needed.  But we finally got the achievement!  And the satisfaction of killing dirty, stinky, pain-in-the-ass CHEATER Jin’do.

Now I can safely NEVER RETURN to Zul’Gurub.  Oh, except I need a wand.  CURSES!

Team DPS and Team Tank Attempt to be Like Team Heal

There have been some discussions in the guild lately about how we can do better raiding as a team.  And when we talk about teams, sooner or later we get around to just how AWESOME Team Heal is.  Because we totally are.

Alas even came in and said something like “they communicate and support each other to get their collective job done.”  But it was hard to hear her over the sound of our own awesomeness.

"There is no charge for awesomeness... or attractiveness."

The result of this is a slightly worshipful attempt by Team DPS and Team Tank to emulate us, the awesome team heal members.  This means they have created their own private chat channels for use on raid nights.

And they won’t let anyone else into their secret little channels!  We don’t even know the names of the channels! Oh the horror!  The exclusivity!  The… oh wait, that’s how we run the healer channel.  Never mind, carry on.

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