My Chars

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Solidd Dings 80

I actually dinged a few days ago but haven't had time to blog about it :)

Leveling was quite fun and fast, very profitable too - I probably made around a couple of thousand gold. In fact even after I dinged 80 I continued doing a bit of questing, just for the gold.

The main spec I chose was Restoration while for off-spec I chose Moonkin (a.k.a. Balance). Having played both a mage and a warlock I can say Moonkin is a very different caster from both, especially when questing/killing mobs.

I was pretty lucky once I hit 80 - between ToC-normal drops, gifts from friends and craftable gear made buy a guildmate (I gave the mats), I was soon decked out mostly iLvL 200 gear, with my weapon and trinkets being notable exceptions. Since then I have joined a guild alt run to Ulduar-10 where we cleared up to (including) Auriaya. From this run I got a very nice head item and ring. I also did a ToC-5 Heroic run where I got a nice necklace. Lots of stuff to enchant and gem but I'm not complaining, makes me a better healer :)

Healing certainly does feel very different from Priest healing, I'm not quite sure I have the hang of it yet but I know I'll get better. At least I don't think I messed up too bad in the guild Ulduar run :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Raiding Updates and Druid Leveling Impressions

I've been a bit quiet but not due to lack of playing, more due to lack of time to update here what with work pressure on the one hand and constant raiding or leveling taking up my little spare time.

Solidfaith continues to raid as a Disc priest mostly, although one exception is worth a mention. A group of guild-mates had cleared most of 10man ToC heroic and were stuck on the last boss, Anub'arak. A spot became available and I was invited to join as a healer. However the problem is, Anub'arak is a classic Holy-priest fight as the entire raid takes damage all the time so needs to be healed, in addition to 2 tanks - one on the boss and one on the adds and both needing large amounts of healing. Probably the best combination would have been a Holy Paladin (for the 2 tanks) and a Druid or Holy Priest (for the raid). We didn't have a Paladin and after it became obvious my Disc healing wasn't cutting it we did a switch and tried several attempts with 2 Resto-druids and me as shadow. We almost made it, 4% best attempt. Better luck next time I hope but it was certainly a fun night trying to beat an impressively hard fight.

Since my guild clears normal content very fast and we still don't attempt heroic 25-ToC every night, I did find myself with some raid-free nights recently, which I used to level my Druid (who is level 75 currently). I started leveling him by chance, a friend who was 70 wanted a partner and my warlock was still (and still is) level 67 so I had my choice of a hunter, mage or druid. I knew I could now get cold-weather flying for my druid at level 70 and assumed flight-form would make for easier leveling, maybe even easier than a hunter. I think I was right :)

Flight-form is an incredible boost to leveling. In many quests I have to pick up stuff, frequently with mobs pathing close to the required items. With any other character I would have to clear these mobs, not hard but certainly a slowing-down factor. With a Druid in flight-form I just swoop down, pick up the item still as a bird, and fly back out of range, taking me OOC.

Actually killing mobs is pretty fast as a cat with practically zero downtime, except on elites or multiple mob pulls when I have to go bear. I consider that I think an advantage over a hunter where I have to micro-manage my threat and my pet's actions or a DK where if I'm specced as blood for better survivability and less downtime, my DPS suffers. Although thinking back I recall it being easier to solo 3-man quests on my DK compared to my Druid :)

In any case I'm enjoying going over some familiar quests with a new character and I'm already imagining life at level 80 as a resto/moonkin duel-spec raider :)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Solidfaith Goes (Back To) Discipline

When I joined Nightmare-EU I was asked to come as Shadow, as they had enough priest healers at the time.
Although I have never played as a raiding Shadow Priest I was willing to give it a try and gave it my best effort. I read blogs, forums and various sites, worked on my gear and rotation and generally tried to output the best DPS that I could.

Results were... frustrating, to say the least. On some fights I could output very nice DPS - but only if they were overwhelmingly AoE fights where I could spam Mind Sear. On single target fights (most boss fights) I was sadly behind most of the other DPS in the guild.

It was not a gear issue nor was it rotation (I think). I think the problem is a combination of two factors. One is that Shadow DPS is behind in general, you can see that in in the Rankings, Shadow Priests are almost nowhere to be seen. The other factor is I think that Shadow Priest damage is just more susceptible to being hurt by high latency and since I usually play with 300ms-500ms lag I was hurt more by this.

Anyway, I noticed after a while I was not really improving relative to the rest of the DPS-ers in the guild. I also noticed we were usually lacking a Discipline priest in the raid. Putting 2 and 2 together I approached the GM and suggested I would go main-spec Discipline. He agreed and that very night I raided 10man Ulduar as Discipline :)

Since then I've had only one other fight as Discipline (25man Mimiron normal mode), as I was needed as Shadow during the other fights. But I have to say I enjoyed going back to Disc - my last time was after LK was released when I realized as a fresh level 80 that my low gear just didn't support Holy very well. I enjoyed being Disc also back then but was tempted to Holy by high healing output especially in fights with lots of raid-wide damage, of which there are a lot in Ulduar. Since then I've seen Holy HPS nerfed a lot with the Prayer of Healing nerf while Disc has not suffered as much (although the Penance nerf did hurt). In addition we have enough Holy raiding priests but not as I said Disc priests.

In terms of actual healing, the main HPS spell I have is PW:S - just cast it on as many raiders as possible, especially in AoE damage intensive fights. Prayer of Mending, Flash Heal make up my other main healing spells, with other spells such as Penance or Renew being used a lot less often.

Mana regen is just fantastic, I just don't see mana as being an issue currently. Of course I still haven't tried out Heroic ToC-25 as a healer which is where the real test will be.

In fact the only gripe I have so far as a Disc healer is that Recount doesn't measure bubble healing so I have to wait for the post-combat log parses to see the real healing picture. But of course this is not a problem with Disc healing itself :)