So a little while ago, as in just about two weeks ago, someone named Tickle on Twitter was saying stuff about needing writers and class experts for a new WoW site she was starting up. Naturally, I wanted details. So I asked her a few questions, she sent me a few answers and, well, the next thing you know, I had applied to be the guild leadership columnist over at SentryTotem.com. (Twitter: @TheSentryTotem) Oh, yeah, and I was accepted, too. ;) More details will be forthcoming in the next few days, I suspect, but keep an eye on the site as content should be popping up Soon(tm) and definitely follow the site’s Twitter account!

In the meantime, I’m still screwing around in WoW. After farming almost all of the ore I needed for Blacksmithing and Engineering for my newly-boosted 90 warlock, I decided to take a break for a bit… and I found myself levelling my paladin. Levelling was hilarious in that I found myself either healing instances (so. many. instances.) or exploring and doing some quests — in 4pc T13 heroic gear… with a heroic Gurthalak, Voice of the Deeps. (I suppose I should thank Serrath, who was the loot master of Apotheosis at the end of Cata, for giving me unwanted retribution gear without my permission. Thanks, Serrath!)

Most stuff was okay, it was just long. I had some pretty fail dungeon groups but I also had some pretty awesome ones. I definitely don’t like a lot of the “new” (I put that in quotes because they’ve been out for what, a year and a half now?) dungeons, but the worst, the worst, was doing Siege of Niuzao Temple and getting to the third boss (Pa’valak) with a group that was, and let’s be fair to them, sub-par.

How bad was this? Well, we didn’t wipe to the boss, but the moonkin and the DPS warrior both died about a minute or so into the fight because they stood next to the bombs and got blown the eff up. Of course the druid didn’t think to give me Symbiosis (I’ve had it given to me about three times AND LOVE IT EVERY TIME I GET IT, BECAUSE REBIRTH IS AMAZING.), so the pally tank and the mage and I were left to fend for ourselves.

Here’s a screenshot from Skada, after the fact.

pavalak

Yeah, see the duration there? From 14:41 to 14:53? That, my friends, is a twelve-minute fight, which I haven’t done since the freaking Heroic Spine of Deathwing fight.

We probably should have wiped it, as it likely would have been faster, but you know what? WE KICKED ASS. I felt really good about keeping us alive, considering I was still wearing tons of T13 gear.

So there was that. Anyhow, I dinged 90 relatively quickly (although 89 felt like it would take decades to complete) and started opening up all the Timeless Plate stuff I’d gotten with Kurn over on the Timeless Isle. I got to ilvl 476 or something like that pretty quickly and then, because I’d just gotten Gold Damage in Proving Grounds on Kurn, I thought I’d see just how bad the healing Proving Grounds are, even though some of my gear wasn’t even 463. (I mean, I had a 410 ring, a 410 trinket, a 450 mace and shield, a terrible neck…) Got through Bronze without issue. Got through Silver pretty easily. And then Gold just DESTROYED me, ahahaha. I’m now over 463 in each slot, so I should be able to go back and get Gold without issue, but WOW, that was not easy. It’s been a long time since I got my ass handed to be that badly.

I’d mentioned to my brother that I was playing WoW again and he was like “should I resub?” and I told him not to. So what did he do? He signed up for a month, just like I did. He had a hell of a time getting the game to update and eventually had to open a ticket for a call-back(!) from Blizz, but everything got sorted and the next thing you know, he’s in the game and rolling a brand-new rogue. Why he would do this when he HAS a rogue at 85 is beyond me, but he kept claiming that he wanted to re-learn how to play and that re-rolling is the best way for him to do that. I don’t really disagree, but it’s not like the game has changed that much. Hell, if I can still play Kurn and Madrana worth a damn, he can play his rogue.

So he gave up on the rogue when he realized he didn’t have all the heirlooms and he encouraged me to level a higher-level toon with him. Choices included my warrior (80) with his druid (78), his warrior, priest or paladin (85, 85 and 86 respectively) and my priest (85) or my mage (85, on Skywall) or my druid (85, on Proudmoore). We elected to go with his warrior and my priest combo, so he could tank (if he wanted to) and I could heal (because, well, that’s what I do).

We hit 86 on Saturday night. As we started out in the Jade Forest, I noticed my brother was, well, spawning flowers all over. “Are you like, GROWING FLOWERS around you?!” I demanded. “What the hell is that?”

“Wait, is that me?” he asked.

“Well, it’s not ME!”

“Ohhhhh, hang on… I think it’s a macro. Yeah, my herbalism haste thing is macroed to my charge.”

This still cracks me up. We legitimately did not know why, for a good half an hour, why there were flowers blooming everywhere, apparently at random. We obviously still have some rust, but we’re not so rusty that our muscle memories have been forgotten. I found myself using Penance and Prayer of Mending without even thinking about it, although it took me a minute to find my defensive dispell button/clique combo. (Shift-Mouse Button 4, FYI.)

On Sunday, I slept in. In the two hours between my brother’s first text message saying “WAKE UP AND HEAL ME” and when I actually woke up and got the message, my brother had given up on me, pre-ordered Warlords of Draenor and had boosted his own priest to 90. He was in the battlegrounds when I logged in.

We’re now halfway through 87 on the warrior and priest. (Void Shift is awesome.)

The hilarious bit is that my brother had been DPSing the first couple of Temple of the Jade Serpent runs we had, but then he decided to start tanking for the faster queues. So we did maybe two Temples and maybe one run of Stormstout Brewery and my brother is complaining about aggro. Sure enough, various other members of the group had aggro, according to my Grid. We’re halfway through a Temple of the Jade Serpent run when he says to me, over Skype, “oh, shit.”

“What?” I ask.

He types to the group: “Sorry about the aggro problem, I fixed it.”

“What, what did you fix?”

He pauses. “Well, I hear Defensive Stance helps.”

I burst into laughter. My brother had tanked something like three dungeons — all in Battle Stance. And he’d done WELL as a tank, too!

About ten minutes after he swapped to Defensive Stance, he said, “Well, this is BORING now. I should just stay in Battle Stance!”

So I’ve had some fun in the last week. More stuff forthcoming, what with Sentry Totem news, more adventures as my priest (ahahaha, totally forgot about Atonement healing for a while there, plus Spirit Shell!) and the upcoming adventures on my WARLOCK. It’s definitely more fun with my brother around. I wonder if he might be into doing some challenge mode-type stuff. I also wonder if we might convince a certain Maj Maj to join us… ;)

Kurn’s Q&A 25

It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time for Kurn’s Q&A! I really do enjoy my days off of raiding. It lets me get all kinds of stuff, WoW, not-WoW, RL, etc, done!

1) does sacred shield use gcd

Yes, it does. That’s why it’s very important not to refresh your Judgements of the Pure, your Sacred Shield and your Beacon of Light all at the same time. That’s three GCDs (3-4.5 seconds) of not healing.

2) “drape of the violet tower” vs. “heartsick mender’s cape”

I’ll be talking about the 251 version of the Heartsick Mender’s Cape here, just because it’s more accessible than the 264.

Heartsick Mender’s Cape, on paper, a little worse than the Drape of the Violet Tower. On paper, it loses 8 intellect, 8 stamina, 3 mp5, 8 armor, 12 spellpower and a whopping 52 crit.

The Heartsick Mender’s Cape, however, has 45 haste.

Even though it’s a lower item level and is missing out on 8 int and some crit and spellpower, the 45 haste makes this godly compared to the Drape of the Violet Tower.

The Drape has one other thing going for it — accessibility. 50 Emblems of Frost and it’s yours. Too bad it’s not a great choice. Heartsick Mender’s Cape is a little deeper into ICC10 than many pugs go, unfortunately, but it’s still way better than the Drape.

3) baltharus the warborn armor debuff

Wrong boss. It’s General Zarithrian that has the armor debuff and that, my dear readers, is called Cleave Armor.

4) heroic putricide is fun

I really do enjoy it. Malleable Goo can still kiss my ass, but I really like the plague.

5) holy paladin which gem for lockjaw

Brilliant King’s Amber or Brilliant Dragon’s Eye if you’re a JC. Unless you’re running Flash of Light style, in which case a Runed Cardinal Ruby or Runed Dragon’s Eye.

6) holy vs. disc heroic putricide

I like disc. Not only do you keep the 3% damage reduction buff up by casting shields (Renewed Hope is hax!) but you also have the ability to mitigate a CRAPTON of damage in P3. And believe me, you NEED to mitigate a crapton of damage in P3.

7) lay on hands glitch 13 min cooldown

The only way you have a 13 minute cooldown on Lay on Hands is if you have 1/2 Improved Lay on Hands in the holy tree as well as the minor Glyph of Lay on Hands. It’s not a glitch, you’re missing a talent point in that talent.

8) marking vengeful shades targets

Nope, sorry. They are not targettable. Period.

9) putricide heroic army of the dead

I am normally not a fan of “army of the nub” as I call it, but it’s GREAT on Putricide on the second transition phase to help improve DPS and to help eat up the Ooze Explosions.

10) sanctum guardian xerestrasza despawns?

Yes, she despawns after a soft reset of the instance (30+ minutes with no one in there).

Healing Classes and History

(or, Why the Hell do I Have All Four Healing Classes??!?!)

Yep. It’s true. I finally have all four healing classes at max level. I’m still not sure why, exactly, but I do. As such, I feel the need to discuss some of the differences and such between them. This isn’t going to be a direct comparison between all the four classes and five specs, but more my own history and views on each. I feel that I’ve spent a lot of time recently giving out information, which I love to do, but haven’t spent a ton of time on me/my classes/my history, despite the whole “I hate my guild” post last week. So this is a fair amount of rambling about my history with my healers in the game. You’ve been warned. ;)

Read the rest of this entry »

Of Money and Alts

So I set out on Friday to make 5000g and to level my priest alt from 78-and-a-half to 80.

I was halfway successful.

My priest is languishing at about 79 and a half, mostly because my brother and a friend of ours both dinged 80 over the weekend. This meant that my brother, resplendent in his awful tanking gear (though still immune to crits, thank you very much) insisted I “heal [him] plz” through some heroics. Seriously, he hit 80 and says to me on Vent “heal meh plz!!!”. So I hopped on my druid and went to town. Over the weekend, we went to Azjol-Nerub, The Nexus, Culling of Stratholme and Halls of Stone, all on heroic, and tried TOC regular for the tanking trinket, too.

He’s not easy to heal, but he’s not inflicting himself on another healer, so I’m okay with that.

What’s more than a little surprising is that he’s not having a horrible time holding aggro. When I went out there on my druid in bear form, probably better geared than my brother, I kept running into people with ICC gear who would whirlwind or Consecrate or Death and Decay and BAM, they would own the mobs.

My brother? No problem. And he’s using Grid to show him who has aggro so he can cast Righteous Defense or BOP or something easily. (Yes, that was my influence.)

Conclusion: Paladin tanks are OP. ;)

As to the money side of things, I ended up with 5,400g more than I had on Friday afternoon. There are still things up on the AH and still things that expired in my bags, but really, that wasn’t bad at all.

How did I do it?

1) Flasks. Flasks sell like hotcakes between 7pm-8pm server time. I sold Flasks of the Frost Wyrm exclusively, in stacks of 5, for just over 100g per stack. I have no idea how many flasks I made, but it was a LOT. It seemed like I always had at least a stack up on the AH or a stack that had just sold.

How did I get the mats? Well, Icethorn is plentiful out there. So is Lichbloom, really, but it’s expensive on the AH. So I took Rilgon’s advice and grabbed GatherMate/GatherMate data (Gatherer has never worked properly for me, for some reason) and went farming in both Wintergrasp and Icecrown on my shaman. My shammy is both a miner and an herbalist, so I used GatherMate’s displays to show me when I should be tracking what, which worked out very well.

The Wintergrasp farming was particularly productive since you can not only harvest Frost Lotuses from any herb you pick, but you can also pick Frost Lotuses from their rare spawns. (I think the only other place in the game you can pick an actual Frost Lotus spawn is in Freya’s room in Ulduar, but I could be wrong.)

While farming herbs for flasks, I also gathered a ton of ore (I actually hit something like 10 titanium nodes in two loops of Icecrown and Wintergrasp!) and did the following:

- prospected the raw Titanium Ore: sold some Titanium Powder, cut and sold any epic gems from the ore, stored the rare and uncommon gems for the future.

- smelted the raw Saronite into Bars: sent them to my transmute specced alchemist and transmuted them to Titanium Bars. The proc rate was abysmal, but I did see a couple. I sold stacks of five bars for 75-80g per stack.

- kept all the crystallized elements for the future, including future Cardinal Ruby transmutes

2) Gems. I had a bit of a stockpile of Cardinal Rubies in my bank (5-6 I think) and so cut those into Fractured, Delicate, Bold and Runed. I transmuted four more Cardinal Rubies on Saturday and Sunday (no procs) and cut and sold those as well. I got a couple epic gems from my Titanium Ore prospecting, so I cut a Solid Majestic Zircon and a couple of Ametrines (Reckless — they sell, but cheaply! — and Glinting, which doesn’t sell well at all on my server). The trouble here is that most of the cash I got from gems is not repeatable because I emptied my stock of Cardinal Rubies and the cut gems are going for like, one or two gold over the raw gems on my server. If I made about 1100g from gems, probably only 500g of it was not due to my prior stock.

3) Food. I spent some time on Kurn fishing and got a ton of Imperial Manta Ray, which I cooked into Imperial Manta Steak. This is my preferred buff food in raids on Madrana, so at worst, I was stocking up for myself. But when I realized I had something like over 200 fish, I decided to sell half of what I had. 80-100g a stack for haste food at raid time on the weekend. Very nice.

I also had enough fish to make a couple of Fish Feasts, which I sold for about 120g per stack of 20.

I also bought some cheap Rhino Meat and made some Hearty Rhino. I made 40, so 2 stacks sold for about 90g apiece, I think it was.

4) Enchants. I sold some raw materials. I had Dream Shards coming out my ears, so I sold a bunch of those (about 40) and a lot of leftover enchanting mats from the 50-60 range, like Large Brilliant Shards, Greater Eternal Essences and the like. Sold all that, probably to the tune of about 500g. I also had leftover mats for the Fiery enchant, so I made some scrolls and while I’ve only sold one of them for 35g, I still have 3 to sell. This was really just me selling crap I already had.

5) Dailies. The only dailies I did were the fishing and cooking dailies on Kurn and the daily random dungeon. I also did the weekly quest on Kurn. I got lucky a couple of times and got the Waterlogged Recipe (5 extra cooking tokens) and the Poison Vial thingy (extra gold). I could have done a lot more in terms of dailies and money, but the thing is, I absolutely loathe the Argent Tournament dailies in particular, and I hate relying on people for Threat from Above and the Commanders.

6) Glyphs. My druid is my scribe and I have a very poor selection of recipes. I essentially did Inscription for the Darkmoon Cards and the shoulder enchant, because as I was levelling my druid, I decided there was no way in hell I was going to do Hodir again. And then when I hit, oh, 70-something, they patched in that the Hodir enchants were BOA. /headdesk. Still, I had a bunch of glyphs leftover that had never sold, so I managed to sell about 200g worth of glyphs. Glyph of Polymorph, Glyph of Chain Heal, Glyph of Rejuvenation all sold out.

Other Things I Could Have Tried: With some patience, I could have done various Leatherworking leg armors, Tailoring spellthreads, done more Earthsiege/Skyflare Diamond transmutes/cuts. The main issue here was a lack of cheap eternals and Frozen Orbs to do this effectively. I already have most of the mats for these, but not so much with the eternals and definitely not with the Frozen Orbs. (Most of the orbs I was getting — and yes, I bought some — were for the sole purpose of making them into Frost Lotuses.)

So. With a 24h downtime coming to ALL MY SERVERS as of 3am, I need to get going on my priest. Stupid priest. Why did I roll a priest? A fourth healer? Really? Someone punch me in the face if I ever decide to level another healer to 80 again. I’ve GOT one of each, that should now be sufficient FOREVER.

Kurn’s Q&A #15

So I sat down to do this on Tuesday and realized I had a lot of other stuff to attend to, not the least of which was the Montreal Canadiens/Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game. GO HABS GO.

Ahem.

Anyways, here are 10 keywords that sent people to my site over the last few weeks that weren’t terribly well addressed in my blog. (You wouldn’t believe how many people google things like Toravon, still!)

1) shared lockouts kurn wow

Hah, cool, someone out there wants to know what I think of the shared lockouts in Cataclysm. I already addressed this, but as a recap:

- I LOVE the fact that 10s and 25s will be on the same lockout. LOVE it. No more overextending myself or feeling guilty for NOT overextending myself!
- I am apprehensive about the gear being the same regardless of raid size.
- I am downright terrified that any other incentive to run 25s will just not be enough and that people will flock to 10s just because they are less of a logistical nightmare.
- I will probably quit playing, period, if I can’t run 25s.

2) leet holy paladin healing techniques

Okay, that one made me laugh. First, I recommend my Holy How-To posts. Second, I recommend just overall awareness of your class abilities and researching fights to figure out in which fights they might be useful and, more importantly, at which points WITHIN the fights those abilities might be useful. Third, make sure you keep your buffs/debuffs up. A good holy paladin puts Sacred Shield on their tank and keeps the hot running. A GREAT holy paladin makes sure everything is always refreshed, including their judgement debuff if there’s no one else sharing that judgement, which means judging every 20 seconds. Of course, doing it when you can spare the GCD is the key, or else your targets are going to go splat.

3) best way to down dreamwalker

Well, technically, you don’t want to kill her. You want to heal her. ;) The key to the fight is not dropping your stacks of Emerald Vigor or, on heroic, Twisted Nightmares. Keep taking each portal, stack those stacks up and spam the living crap out of the boss.

4) “vengeful shade” addon

Don’t know of one. If you do, please, for the love of all that’s holy, tell me. Stupid Vengeful Shades. Why do they have to be so damn vengeful?!

5) /cancelaura power word shield threat tanks

This one confuses me. If you’re doing /cancelaura, it means you have the aura on you. So if you’re doing “/cancelaura power word: shield”, you’re getting rid of your shield.

There is only one time where I can foresee this being something you would ever WANT to do and that’s if you’re a protection paladin with points in Spiritual Attunement and your healer is a disc priest and you’re not getting mana back from being healed through damage being taken.

None of that has to do with threat, exactly, except that if you’re a prot pally, your threat depends on your mana in that it’s costly to keep throwing down Consecration.

If you have a disc priest shielding you in a dungeon (which is the only place it should matter — you should be taking enough damage to get mana back from shields in raid content) then just ask them not to shield you unless it’s an emergency, because you get mana back from being healed, not shielded.

All other tanks have no excuse to ever not want Power Word: Shield on them. It doesn’t affect rage mechanics, people. It used to. But not for a long time, now. Patch 3.0.2, to be precise.

6) 2 druids 3 mark of fallen champion

Ouch. I mean really, OUCH. I guess I would have to recommend bringing three healers for this, leaving one healer (a druid) on the raid until the last instant before the third mark comes out. Better still, bring a paladin and 2 other healers and that way, one of the druids can be on the raid full time.

7) best food for discipline priest

Since Borrowed Time and a moonkin aura/swift ret aura plus a Wrath of Air totem make the haste “cap” for disc priests really easy to hit, so they get a 1s GCD, the best food is either +46 spellpower (available in a Fish Feast or a variety of other foods) or +40 crit. +40 crit is over a full percent of crit, so it shouldn’t be looked down upon, particularly if you’re actually healing single targets as part of a tank healing team, because you DO want to proc Divine Aegis as often as you can. If, on the other hand, your primary responsibility in the raid is to cast Power Word: Shield, you’ll want +46 spellpower, since every bit of spellpower strengthens your shields, due to Borrowed Time.

8) best in slot pants for holy pally

I totally don’t even want to TALK about our stupid pants.

Actually, I take that back. I do want to talk about them. At great length. While ranting.

Our options for pants are HORRIBLE. Our T10 251/264 pants are awful. Even the 277s are pretty crappy. Seriously, here’s the comparison:

http://www.wowhead.com/compare?items=50866;51168;51271

Holy Light spamming paladins (which is the vast majority of us) should be looking for the following stats, in order:

Intellect, Haste, MP5, Crit, Spellpower

There is 0, check that, 0 haste on any of those pants. There is a mediocre amount of MP5 on any of them but the 277s. There is a huge amount of crit on these pants that I desperately wish could be converted to haste. And a truly ridiculous amount of spellpower! What gives?! This is our TIER?!

Assume we do not have access to any 277 legs.

http://www.wowhead.com/items=4?filter=qu=4;sl=7;ty=3:4;minle=251;cr=23:103:21;crs=1:1:3;crv=0:0:0

There are precisely 8 options item level 251 or over that we can consider. There’s 10, but you can’t be Horde AND Alliance, so you lose out on the mail and plate legs out of TOGC due to being on one faction or another.

Right now, I’ve got ilvl 258 Legplates of Failing Light. 116 intellect, 92 haste, 3 sockets. Pretty hot, right? Right. So hot that only two other items even come close to them.

The crafted Lightning-Infused Leggings offer 123 intellect (+7 from the Failing Light pants), 100 haste (+8 haste) and three sockets as well. The trouble is, you need to find a leatherworker who’s revered with the Ashen Verdict for these mail pants and then the mats include 8 Primordial Saronite. If you have nothing left to spend emblems of frost on, this is really easy to get, particularly if you’re raiding, but if you’re saving your emblems, the saronite alone can cost upwards of 1000g each.

Is 7 intellect and 8 haste really worth 8k+ gold?

Ehhhhhhhhhhhh.

The plate version? Even worse. The Puresteel Legplates also cost 8 saronite and aren’t even a haste upgrade from the Legplates of Failing Light as both items have 92 haste. 8k+ gold for 7 intellect, basically? No thanks!

The other real option is the heroic Corrupted Silverplate Leggings. 123 intellect (+7), 99 haste (+7) and three sockets. It’s an upgrade and it’s one that doesn’t cost eight thousand plus gold. The trouble here is that it requires killing heroic Marrowgar. On 10-man. Which means I’m never going to get these.

There’s another option, also a 10-man heroic drop, this time off Putricide. The Rippling Flesh Kilt gives the same amount of intellect (123) and 96 haste. Basically, if you’re running 10-man heroic ICC, the Marrowgar pants are easier to get by virtue of being an easier fight, but if you get Putricide down, go for these pants if you haven’t gotten the Corrupted Silverplate Leggings on heroic.

If you don’t have ilvl 258 pants like I do, the 251 versions of the Corrupted Silverplate Leggings and Rippling Flesh Kilt are nice enough, but if you’re really looking seriously at those, consider getting the mail legs crafted. They’re just a better upgrade overall.

I’m eventually going to have to bite the bullet and get either my ilvl 277 pants or the heroic Leggings of Dying Candles, both of which will actually only be a net gain of +3 intellect for me and hope that all my other 277 gear’s haste will compensate for the worst tier pants I’ve seen since T4. I value the Leggings of Dying Candles over the tier due to the extra socket and the increased MP5 versus the tier, by the way.

Whew.

9) boa libram for holy light

There is no Bind on Account (heirloom) libram, period. The best libram for Holy Light using paladins is the ilvl 200 Libram of Renewal, available for 15 emblems of heroism.

10) chestplate of septic stitches how should i gem

Honestly? It’s not a great breastplate. Let’s look at it.

There’s no haste. Three sockets is great for 3x+20 intellect, but… eh. The Lightsworn Tunic or, better yet, the Chestguard of Siphoned Elements off of Blood Queen Lana’thel in ICC 10 is a much better choice.

That said, if you’re asking how to gem it, you probably already have it. The answer is almost always “all intellect”, unless you’re a paladin who stacks spellpower and casts mostly Flash of Light. If that’s the case, that is a GREAT chest for a FoL spammer. Gem it with all +23 spellpower if you’re a FoL machine or if it’s for your Dreamwalker set. :)

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