From Casual to Casual-er

I’ve been playing EVEN LESS lately than usual.  Hey, George R. R. Martin isn’t going to read himself, nor is Dr. Who going to watch itself.  However, I had already cut out “nonessential” activities to accommodate my casual gaming.

Shit I Didn’t Do Before

  • Dailies
  • Cap VP
  • Holiday Events
  • Achievements
  • “Fun Runs”
  • Collecting of Mounts/Pets/Etc

That’s a lot of stuff that is quite time-consuming, if I do say so myself.  But wait, I cut out even moar.

Shit That I Don’t Do Now

  • Get any VP outside a raid 1
  • Gather and Craft 2
  • Get Online Just to Blather with People3
  • Auction House
  • Alts At All (not that I spent much time on them before)

Now, this is not a sustainable model, by any stretch.  When the next patch comes along, I’m going to have to step it up.  But, for now, I can maintain this holding pattern and still manage to raid.  I should point out:

Shit That I Still Must Do

  • Don’t Flake on Gear Upgrades.  This means:
    • keeping track of rep as it accumulates so I don’t miss an upgrade by weeks cause I wasn’t paying attention
    • remembering (with spreadsheet) which drops are good and which are not. 4
    • get VP gear as the VP comes in.5
  • Enchant and Gem all New Gear
  • Reforge ALL THE THINGS when new gear comes along.  Hey, can’t be a slacker and eff up my 12.5% haste.6
  • Make sure to have consumables for raid time
  • Read the logs after the fact
  • Read strats/watch videos
  • Keep Addons Updated
  • Remember to sign up (it’s easy to forget if you’re not in game much)

That’s still a decent amount of work, even if most of the tasks are only necessary when I get new gear, which happens almost never.7

  1. It helps that I get near cap post-nerf just by raiding.  It also helps that I just got my last desired VP piece this week.
  2. Except the occasional herb run through Vash.  I find it relaxing.
  3. It helps that Team Heal is on GChat.
  4. So you don’t *COUGH* bid on the wrong damn staff and have to trade it 2 minutes later and redo all the gear lists…
  5. I may have finished the VP grind for my main spec, but there’s always the shadow set. Unspent VP does nobody any good.
  6. Reforge Lite is one-click awesomeness.
  7. I went a little footnote-wild in this article, I know.

Epic Fail on the Chakra Uptime Front

Sooo… Despite the fact that Chakra state lasts indefinitely until cancelled or changed to a different chakra state… I’m still not at 100% uptime for boss fights.

Look at this.  What the hell?

Last I checked, 49.5% plus 41.3% does NOT equal 100%.

I know exactly what is happening.  I trot in after a wipe, we pull the boss, I’m healing away, I go to use Holy Word and discover it no worky.  Why does it tell me that my target is invalid?  Why there no targeting circle?  Oh right, no Chakra.

Now, I had a weenie little power aura, but I could ignore it too easily.  So here’s my new power aura, which triggers whenever I enter combat without a chakra state on.

Version:4.22; b:0.1373; g:0.7843; icon:priest_icon_chakra_blue; buffname:Chakra; unitn:Only for raid/group.; texture:14; alpha:0.7; aurastext:No Chakra, Dumbass; inVehicle:0; stacksOperator:=; PowerType:0; textaura:true; combat:true; size:1.57; y:184; texmode:1; inverse:true; ismounted:0

Copy the string above and you can behold the awesomeness of this power aura in YOUR interface.  (I’ve also added it to the power aura page for posterity.)

From Hot Lava to Tornadoes

Guys it’s like one of those SAT problems…

Hot lava: jumping fail

Tornadoes: ___

(a) pudding

(b) 17th century

(c) a big word you’ve never seen before but looks slightly dirty

(d) running fail

And the answer is OMG SAT FLASHBACKS ARRGH.  I mean (d).

I am just the WORST at those stupid Alys tornadoes.  And, I’m embarrassed to say, I never even saw them before they were “slowed down” in the nerf.  Pre-nerf, it must have been unbearably twitch reflexy for all but the most coked-out ferrets.

So, uh, since I super-suck, I cheat, and through cheating I live.  I keep desperate prayer on cooldown and save it for lava runs.  I inevitably get to low health through my own stupidity and need my insta self-heal.  Also, I use body and soul for the speed boost.  My bubble isn’t that strong, but it helps.  I haven’t had to use Guardian Spirit.  Yet.  With my luck, I’d croak right as the buff ran out.  Or croak, it procs and saves me, and then I subsequently re-die.  Because that’s just what I do.1

Now, if I were a non-healing class, I’d maybe have to L2P.  Ok, no I wouldn’t.  I’d still use something cheaty like dispersion.

I’d truly like to have better reflexes and save my “oh shit” cooldowns for other things.  But that’s not in the cards for me without some serious robot devil hands.

Score! Now I can beat tornado-frogger!

Better a live priest without any cooldowns left than a gnome-shaped splotch on the floor.

  1. Fact: I re-die at least 50% of the time I’m battle rezzed, though in fairness, many of the subsequent deaths are not my fault.

There is no Best Healer. There is Only Team Heal.

We seem to be down to 3 main-spec healers in Eff (mah guild).  Strangely, this was not caused by anyone leaving the guild, but rather by some healers deciding they’d rather do other stuff, and others being largely unavailable.

So, we’re down to 3 main-spec healers, and one has been out of pocket due to RL lately.  Before that, I went on vacation.  So for most weeks in the last 2-months, we’ve had to sub in an off-spec healer.  This makes the off-spec healers cranky, and, to be honest, it makes the healing fall a little behind.  Nobody’s that awesome on their offspec.  I sure as hell am not.

What we need:  One (1) Main-Spec Healer who:

… really likes to heal.  Seriously, we don’t like drafting unwilling victims to team heal.

… is not a priest.  Yeah, we already have 2 on Team Heal and 1 as an off-spec sub.  We’re bursting with priests.

… likes being part of a TEAM.  One night, mah husband, who apparently wants to sleep in the cat pan, told me that Laral is our strongest healer.  I passed on the compliment, and Laral’s response was: “There is no best healer.  There is only Team Heal.”  Which is true.  We stick to our assignments, keep people alive, and try not to stress about meters.

… doesn’t mind sitting out now and then.  I’ll be honest, sitting out rotation for healers hasn’t exactly happened much in the guild’s history because we always seem to be one short.  But if we actually had enough, I suppose it would be possible.  Even so, it would be rare.

So, uh, do you want to join our merry misfits?  We’re 6/7 on Firelands now (which isn’t saying much post-nerf).  Again, check out the guild info page which has all you need.  Our raid times, our logs, blah blah.

Questions?  Send me a message or email our fearless leader alas [at] kissmyalas [dot] com.

4.3 Patch Notes for Priests: featuring Improved (and finally useful) Divine Hymn

Yesterday, I was, as usual, being a total noob.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Laral (our disc priest): Hey they’re lowering the cooldown for Dhymn for holy priests.

Me: [expletives and exclamations of glee] Where?

Laral: Patch notes (OMG UR A NOOB)

Yep, I completely missed the patch notes.  Bad blogger, bad!

Well, let’s see what this patch holds for Healing Priests.

Discipline

Atonement has been limited by range until now, but discipline priests cannot be contaaaained.

Atonement will now account for the target enemy’s combat reach when calculating proper range, enabling it to be used on large creatures such as Ragnaros and Ala’kir.

So, they get MORE buffed… yay?  Stupid smitejerks.  Grumble.

Divine Aegis has a new spell effect.

Translation: Previously Divine Aegis had its own spell effect that looked like a cool soap bubble.  We made Divine Aegis look exactly like Power Word: Shield as part of an insidious and cruel psychological experiment to see if we could get discipline priests to totally lose it. We’re sorry.  Please don’t flog us.  We’re fixing it.

I suspect the “new” spell effect may well look exactly like the old spell effect before they screwed with it.

Holy

But Discipline priests are boring, overpowered, and usually have fleas.  Now we get to the good part:

State of Mind has been redesigned and is now called Heavenly Voice. Heavenly Voice increases the healing done by Divine Hymn by 50/100%, and reduces the cooldown of Divine Hymn by 2.5/5 minutes.

This, my holy friends, is bad-ass.  We get rid of a shitty and useless talent and get a 3-minute cooldown on Dhymn, same as Tranquility, basically giving those cheater resto druids the finger.

The only bad thing about this, and I do mean ONLY, is that we’re going to have to move 2 talent points around, and it might be at the expense of other things you like.  I’m probably going to take the 2 points out of Veiled Shadows (my reduced cooldown on shadowfiend), since my mana issues are resolving themselves.

But, you say, Dhymn sucks?  Well it won’t anymore!  First, the aforementioned talent doubles the healing thoroughput.  And the base spell itself is getting a buff:

Divine Hymn now affects 5 targets, up from 3.

This change is technically for all priests, but come on, it’s really a buff for Holy.  The rest of you have had your own buffs already.  Shoo.

Glyph of Circle of Healing now also increases the mana cost of Circle of Healing by 20%.

I hate “tradeoff” glyphs.  Whether you take this glyph will depend on whether you’re doing 10’s or 25’s, and how your mana holds up.  Since I usually do 10’s, it’s pretty likely that I’m not getting 6 targets anyway, so I’ll unglyph that sucker.  And instead use one of the other highly attractive major glyphs for holy priests.  /sarcasm

And finally, the awesomest change ever:

Spirit of Redemption has been rebuilt to address a few functionality issues and make it more responsive. Spirit of Redemption otherwise remains unchanged.

Ok, I lied.  Failangel is always lame, buffed or not.  It’s like multiplying zero by a million.  It’s still zero.

Fade: It’s not Just for Tank Fail

In some fights, I use Fade… never.  There’s one boss, the tank is doing his job, and all is right with the world.

However, if there are adds, they pop up and make a beeline for a bite-sized gnomish snack who has a ton of healing aggro from sprinkling raid heals liberally.  FADE FADE… what do you mean it’s on cooldown?  30 seconds is quite a long cooldown when things are chomping your face off.

The easiest thing to do is glyph it so your cooldown is 21 seconds instead of 30.  Remember, folks, you can carry around some dust and glyph fade for specific fights.  If you’re working on a boss with a lot of adds, spend the cash, take the 30 seconds, and get it done.

Now, for pure awesomeness, if your talent build allows, you can put 2 points into Veiled Shadows.  That shaves another 6 seconds off the fade time and also a minute off your shadowfiend time.  I wouldn’t take this talent unless you find yourself with extra points and low on mana.  I do have it in my holy build because fiend coming off cooldown sooner is absolutely awesome.  I do not take it on my disc build because I don’t have the extra points, and I usually find myself in good shape mana-wise.

So glyph + talent = 15 second fade cooldown.  This will get you through most boss encounters, since adds are generally not released much more often than once every 15 seconds.  I have found this combo helpful on Rhyolith and Alys for prevention of face-biting.  Let those adds chew on the druid for a while.

From Impossible To ROFLSTOMP: Too Much, Too Late

For a long time, and I’ve lost count at this point, we were banging our heads against bosses in FL and grinding the crap out of VP in order to actually be able to defeat them.  This week, we trounced them, despite some huge errors (I totally effed up my Baleroc stacks, which would have caused a certain wipe last week, and flat-out DIED on Alys).

So I’m left with 2 logical principles (I won’t belabor this since other people have done a more thorough analysis.)

1. If Firelands were incorrectly tuned from the start, why the fuck did it take so long to realize it and tone it down?  I mean, you couldn’t tell this 2 weeks in?  A month in?

2. If Firelands were correctly tuned from the start, why the fuck is this nerf so big?  It’s not like 4.3 is coming tomorrow and everyone must see the content this week zomg.  In theory, smaller tweaks would help struggling guilds “get over the hump” without just handing us the loot and sauntering off.  Usually they nerf the crap out of content when it’s no longer significant, not when it’s still the central show in town.

That is all.  Carry on.

Something About Mohammed and a Mountain

Sleep disruptions.  Sigh.  We haven’t had this problem on such a scale since the Mouse incidents of 2010.

Twig will not sleep in her room.  Twig wants to sleep in OUR room, preferably in OUR bed.  She will not stay in her room.  She will not sleep.  She will stubbornly stay awake until we are ready for bed and SNEAK into our room, if necessary.  She has even professed a love for the Daily Show in an effort to con us into letting her stay up.

So we have resorted to one of us sleeping in HER room, to get her back on the path to NOT BEING IN OUR BED.  This means that at a reasonable hour each night, one of us is camped out on Twig’s floor.  Yay.  As you can imagine, this is not conducive to many things, including playing WoW.

I’m looking forward to roflstomping the lands of fire this weekend.  Obviously, because we are short healers, I have to go to the raids, so Gnoble will be on Twig duty for raid nights.  I’m sad he won’t be able to go, but I won’t be sad when, after a nice, successful roflstomp, I’m curled up in BED and not ON FLOOR.

All Work and No Play: Nerfs, New Patch, Blah Blah

As you have heard me whine pitifully, I have been grinding VP since 4.2 damn well came out.  This is because the VP priest gear is far better than the drops in Firelands.  Also, unbeknownst to me at the beginning of the expansion, we’re getting nowhere fast with bosses, hence not many drops.  I felt a sense of accomplishment when I finally got over the hump of VP grinding, and I only have a few teeny pieces left to get.

Now, we’re getting nerfs.  And I’m a big fan.  Yay, finally going to get to see the content, and get some gear, which will make it easier to … see the content!  However, if the nerfs are here, it means that 4.3 is on the way.

So, I just spent this entire tier swearing and cursing about stupid VP and spending un-fun time grinding VP (which was really the only option if I wanted to raid), and then just as I’m finished with the gross grinding, it’s time to start all over again with grinding the NEXT tier.  

On the one hand, I am not enthralled about Firelands, so a new tier of content would be nice.  On the other hand, I have had NO time to rest on my laurels.  If the next tier is all about grinding the VP again, I might perish.

I didn’t feel this way when 4.2 hit.  When Firelands emerged, I had been working on my gear, sure, we all do, but never to the point of hatred.  I feel worn down by this relentless grind this patch more so than any other patch.  I’ve barely scratched the surface of the molten front dailies, but the stupid repetitive things bore the shit out of me just like VP grinding does.

It feels like this last patch has been time sink for the sake of time sink, and I’m not sure I have the mental fortitude to “do what it takes” if the next patch is m0re of the same.

Santa, Baby, Put A Nerf Bat Under The Tree, For Me

I know that I should want to do raiding “the hard way” and feel so accomplished when we actually kill the thing.  I should.

However, there comes a point where you just don’t want to wipe anymore.  I am to that point.  I just want him dead and I don’t really care how we get there, so long as in the end, the boss is dead.  Dead dead dead.

This weekend, we tried the infamous 1-tank method for Baleroc.  It did not go well.  Oh boy, did it not go well.  The tank died within 2 minutes into the encounter, each time.  With 2-tanks and 3-healers, at least we REACHED the enrage timer alive.  This time, not so much.

Dear Baleroc. Go have a drink on me. Just leave your loot behind. I won't tell.

I’m not disappointed in these nerfs.  Maybe I would be upset with the nerfs if we were on the cusp of winning.  But right now, it seems like it would be a long uphill battle.  I remember wiping for weeks and weeks on Arthas.  Maybe 2 months.  It was soul-killing.  (I think, in the end, it was somewhere around 80 wipes before the kill, and the kill did come after the nerf.)

Arthas can suck it! And, yes, I totally ripped this picture off Alas's blog.

No, I am awaiting the nerfs with glee.  If I had to pick the lesser of two evils, I’m going to say that I’d rather take a win on a silver platter than continue to be demoralized.