My Chars

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Good Heroic

Well I promised an update on running heroic with disc spec and here it is.

The verdict? Pretty damn good :)

I managed to find a PuG for heroic UP. The PuG was between reasonable and good, out of 3 DPS one (a boomkin) had a bit of lower personal DPS but made up for it with a nice party buff and decent AoE. The tank has 25k health unbuffed which is good for a PuG.

Basically the run went very smoothly, the only wipes we had were on Skadi. Even there I feel it was a matter of knowing the tactic, coordinating it and executing it and not a problem with my healing.

On one other boss fight - Gortok, I went OOM, but that is a difficult fight due to the amount of AoE damage from some of the mini-bosses before and having little or no time to drink between the mini-bosses.

Basicallly during the run I had little trouble in keeping the tank up and I never felt my mana was an issue, even though the tank kept a good pace.

So all in all I'm pretty happy with the disc spec and I intend to keep it for now. Hopefully Blizzard won't nerf it for some reason too soon :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Solidfaith as Disc

Well my last post had a little mistake, I linked the wrong build when I wrote about the Disc build I was considering. But that's okay because I've settled on a slightly different one which is this 57/14/0 build.

Basically the main issue was taking 2/2 Renewed Hope so that I had only 1 point to spend on Improved Renew. With my current gear every shred of crit counts and because crit is so central to the disc build I thought it was worth it even though my renew would tick for less. It's just a hunch since I haven't gone through any number crunching, however...

What I have done already is go to a Naxx raid with my guild as a disc priest and I'm finally feeling that my mana can last in long fights and I can be an effective healer. Of course my healing according to the meters is lower but even my friend who tanked the place and so usually sees mostly just the boss on his screen commented on all the bubbles that were popping around (thanks to Divine Aegis of course) so I know my influence was seen and felt :)

In fact in one fight which is the Loatheb fight I actually pulled ahead of the other 2 healers. I was assigned to heal the ranged group among whom I was located. So during the fight, 1 second before the healing window opened I used Prayer of Healing, which meant I got it off just after the window opened, and followed that by a Holy Nova which is instant cast. As a bonus due to the spore buff I got even more crits than usual which meant bubble goodness all around :D

I have to be fair though and admit that a Naxx farming run is not a real test of the build. The real test will be when I do a heroic PuG... I guess I'll see then if this spec can really pull its weight... :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Changes To My Chars

I've now officially added Solidstar to this site, his picture-signature is now added to my other chars. It's true he's only level 68 but he's already in Northrend and I've had so much fun leveling him so far, I don't see myself stopping till he's level 80.

Blood spec has worked great for me so far and I intend to continue leveling with it till 80, at which point I'll respec to a Frost-tanking build. Thanks to the self-healing from Blood talents I've managed to solo every 3-man group quest in Terokkar Forest that I've come across and so my leveling has been very quick. Last night I finally dinged 68 and made my way to my new home, Borean Tundra. I did a few of the quests in the immediate area of Valiance Keep before going to sleep and already managed to replace 3 of my pieces of gear. Of course this is not surprising as I'm basically wearing low level Outland greens, not even level 70 ones so it would be surprising if I could not find upgrades from Northrend starter quests.

Another big change to my characters is for Solidfaith. I've specced Solidfaith as a holy priest ever since he dinged max level and I've never looked back. However WoW changes and so must we who play it. At level 80 as a holy priest life is very different for me than as a level 70 holy priest. Mana effiency is a major concern for one thing, no more ability to chug mana pots. Add to this the fact that CoH, one of our best spells, is going to get nerfed soon. Finally other healers have gotten serious boosts to their healing while at the same time having much less mana worries, for various reasons. This means that it is much harder for me to compete in pure healing output, which was my strong point as a level 70 holy priest.

However... a Discipline priest, a.k.a. disc-priest, brings much more to the table at level 80 as compared to a level 70 priest. So while still not able to compete in the pure healing department, at least I can much more strongly complement and enchance the raid.

Based on my performance as a holy priest in initial Naxx raids I've currently respecced to this mixed 36/35/0 disc/holy build. My intention was to still keep a strong holy tree but get as many int/spi enhancements from disc. This actually worked pretty well in the sense that I now have, with raid buffs, a much larger mana pool and mana regen while still having a large amount of spell-power. At my current gear level, this build makes a lot of sense if I want to be able to put out large healing numbers while being able to sustain myself in longer fights.

However I've talked to a raider from a 25-Naxx raiding guild who swore by a full disc build, especially for 10-man groups. So taking a closer look at a possible disc priest I think this 55/16/0 build looks very interesting. Huge PW:S damage reductions, more damage reductions from talents like Grace and Inspiration, yet more shielding from Divine Aegis... as wowhead comments say, such a disc priest should make an uber MT-healer. I'll miss the group healing abilites of full holy build though... :(

Kel'thuzad Down

It's been a while since my last post, mostly due to RL issues (work pressure) keeping me busy. However my guild has continued to progress in 10man-Naxx and I'm happy I was there for most raids since it was a lot of fun.

So finally 2 nights ago we got to Kel'thuzad and started attempts on him, at first we wiped some due to not understanding tactics 100% and later due to some player errors. However we kept perfecting our execution and getting better until we got him to 9% in the last try. However it was very late and people were getting tired so we called it. Then last evening we went on him again, wiped once to "warm up" and finally got him down in the 2nd try :)

Kel'thuzad is an interesting fight and one where you really feel every player has to play perfectly in order to succeed. Of course the better your gear is the less that is important but for our gear level it felt that way.

Phase 1 is deceptively easy, just nuke the incoming adds fast enough. On all attempts we always had some adds, mostly the banshee-type, still alive when Kel'thuzad was released at start of Phase 2, but those were quickly nuked down by the ranged. So basically phase 1 is about DPS and control and not very challanging. Our main tactic there was to assign one ranged to cover ~1/3rd of the circle (we had 3 ranged) and each tank covering 1/2 of the circle. So tanks would pickup Abominations as they came in from their half (with 2 melee helping with DPS on those) while ranged would shoot skeletons and banshees before they got to the circle. Healers can also help with DPS here as there is usually very light damage on tanks.

However once phase 2 started the fun really began. First every player needed to watch his/her positioning - the 10 yard spacing between players is absolutly vital in this fight, not something "nice to have". Kel'thuzad's Frost Blast was the main challange for healers but for all players it was important to watch out for the Shadow Fissures and we even wiped a few times due to tanks not moving out from those. Even tanks get 1-shot by those :(

Phase 3 is again a healer challange as now you need to heal 2 tanks, one of whom takes increasingly more damage. So another challange is for the DPS to really nuke this phase and get Kel'thuzad down as fast as possible before it becomes impossible for the healers to keep the 2 tanks up. In addition Kel'thuzad keeps doing his abilities from phase 2, including Frost Blast, so healing is pretty tough at this point. Yet it is vital to keep up DPS as well since a dead DPS = longer phase 3 = more chance of wipe.

Our takedown fight was by no means perfect but enough few individual mistakes were made to make the fight doable.

Our guild challanges are now to down Malygos 10man and continue farming Naxx 10 since we by no means have all the fights down, some bosses we still need more practise on and will probably fight. Many people are still missing T7 gear and other possible gear improvements from drops.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My First WotLK Raid

For the last few weeks I've been playing very few hours each day, logging in late and managing at most one instance run, usually with a PuG, or leveling my alts a bit more (Solidstate hit 71 and Solidstar is almost 65). Because I logged in late each day I missed the chance to raid with my guild.

Last night however I managed to login before raid start time and as it happened they were missing a healer, so I got in. I should mention, my guild is small and does only 10 man raids currently.

First we went to Sartharion which was the first time for the guild there. Because this was the first time we first downed all 3 drakes before taking him on. I found it pretty hard (and confusing) to heal and watch the incoming lava wave, I got hit by it many times but managed to heal myself (or got healed by others) untill almost the end of the fight when a combination of adds + wave + low mana killed me. Better gear and more experience and I should be much better at that dance...

Speaking of dances, once Sarth was down (1-shotted in spite of it being a new encounter and several people dying during fight), we decided to go to Naxxramas and continue clearing it, as previous guild raids have gotten up to Heigan and wiped on him. This time we wiped the first time but the practice must have done people good because the next time we got him. Once I understood the tactic I managed to stay alive quite a long time but died to to a little lag causing me to get him by a wave in the nature phase.

Next up was Loatheb and this was truely an interesting fight for healers as the 3 second healing windows meant I had to be on my toes and really use every tool I had to keep the people up. Pre-casting Renew and Prayer of Mending just before and of course spamming CoH during the window itself. We wiped the first try since one of the other healers didn't understand the fight and kept trying to heal during the 17 seconds no-healing period, but the second try we got the boss.

Gothik was next up and he proved to be a pushover, going down on the first attempt. The fight itself was fun, we split up - 4 people for the living side and 6 for the undead side. I was on the undead side and all the people took a lot of damage - there was a lot of continous AoE damage going around. However this meant that Prayer of Mending could really be used to full effect and together with CoH and of course together with the other healer (a paladin) we had no problem keeping the people us. DPS was also sufficiently high and once Gothik himself joined us he only had a chance to stack his debuff 5 times and teleport twice before we downed him.

Alas no loot for me but the fun of being once in a raid was reward enough :)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Good Heroic UK Run, New Gear Too :)

Well the title pretty much says it all. I got a guild group, tank and 3 decent DPS with me healing and we went to heroic Utgarde Keep which I was told was the easier heroic. Indeed the run went very smoothly (no wipes) although the spikiness of the damage on the tank surprised me, I'm used to him having a huge amount of mitigation at 70 and suddenly even though he's got 27k life his gear isn't so great, so he gets hit harder and more often.

Still I managed to stay on top of things by using Renew, Prayer of Mending and of course Greater Heals. Mana was tough in the boss fights but I used my shadowfiend and all was well there too. I will however need much better gear for Naxx, if I ever hope to join my guild in there (they are starting this Wednesday if all goes well).

During the run the BoE Cracklefire Wristguards dropped from a random mob. This being a guild run and my bracers being not as good, the people were nice enough to allow me to need on it so I got a nice upgrade there. Lost some haste but I'm really perfectly fine with that.

Then the 3rd boss Ingvar was kind enough to drop the Breeches of the Caller which were a great upgrade for me. I used one blue quality and one green quality gems to socket them as I didn't want to go overboard investing in pants which will likely be replaced very soon. However I also took the time to get a shoulder enchant from Sons of Hodir, enchants on my weapon and bracers from a friend and a head enchant from TBC. So now I have 1.5k spell power when I have Inner Fire on (since I've taken the Improved Inner Fire talent). It's actually quite annoying to have to keep refreshing it due to the short 10min duration, I hope Blizzard add a glyph sometime that extends that to 30min or an hour.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Ding 80

It took several hours of questing in Sholazar Basin, including doing the Nesingwary chain quests, but Solidfaith finally dinged 80. I actually dinged just as I returned the quest Post-partum Aggression which ends the quest line so I got both the level 80 achievement as well as The Snows of Northrend achievement.

I actually could have leveled faster but Sholazar is such a heaven for herbalists, I just had to stop every 2 seconds to pick a flower. I managed to get my Alchemy skill up to 415 thanks to these plants and plants I picked previously in The Storm Peaks. For now I'll take it easy in terms of leveling the rest of the way, I'm not planning to power-level my alchemy and really I don't have a reason to do so. But it's nice that herbalism seems to be much easier (faster) than in BC.

Once I hit 80 I respecced to Holy (I chose this 13/58/0 build). I'm not too sure about either my build or gear choices as I seem to have very low spirit, leading to low mana regen. On the other hand I don't really have the gear to allow me to have both high spirit and spell power. So my next task is to find such gear :) I will also think about repseccing away from CoH and taking the Divine Spirit talent, although I am relucntant to do this - I really love CoH.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Ding 79, and 400 Alchemy too

Level 78 came and went in storm of questing. Along the way, thanks to my flying mount, I managed to pick a lot of plants, resulting in being able to level my Alchemy to 400. I haven't been in a hurry to level my Alchemy and so I'm pleased with my progress so far :)

Among other things I also dinged exalted with the Valiance Expedition, which means exactly squat as this faction doesn't have any quartermaster or rewards. Still it's nice to have dinged exalted with a faction even before level 80 :)

I also did the quest line for the Frenzyheart Tribe vs. The Oracles. I started it rather randomly but what happened was I started as a "slave" to the Frenzyheart, quickly progressing in status with them until I was honored. At this point I was given a quest by the head honcho to grab a wounded Oracle from nearby, so he could be "poked at". Imagine my surprise when the quest led me to being friendly with the Oracles and hated with my former allies :) Not only that, I was happily greated in villages where just minutes ago I had been killing villagers left and right in the name of the Frenzyheart...
This rather medium length quest line finally led me to a cave where a I was asked to kill a lich called Artruis. This is a 3-man quest but luckily some guild mates of mine could come and we quickly too him down to 30% where he becomes immune and you have a choice of killing either a Frenzyheart member or an Oracle. As I've set my sights on the Mysterious Egg I killed the little "puppy-man" and let the Murlock-man live.

I'm not sure what exactly I will focus on once I hit 80 (hopefully today), will it be gearing up my priest or leveling an alt. But I'm sure I'll have fun :)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ding 77, I haz wings back :)

Yep, I finally dinged a couple of nights ago and immediately hearthed to Dalaran and got rid of a tidy 1k gold :)

It's a great feeling to be able to fly again, and a good thing I have an epic flying mount since Northrend is so large.

The day after I dinged 77 I started the Sons of Hodir reputation chain. This is one of the most fun series of quests I've done in WoW, involving (among other things) being transformed to the likeness of a tall warrior woman, riding and using war-bears, killing level 80 elites with my own small army of mobs under my control (now I know what multi-boxing feels like :)), riding dragons (always an enjoyable experience) and even riding a huge sleepy giant :)
The entire chain, plus some extra quests and a few Hodir dailies I managed to do once I got to friendly with them, brought me after 2 days to the status of honored with them, which I'm very pleased with.

I'm also close to level 78, between all the quest XP I've been getting as well as XP from killing level 80 mobs.