Archive for icecrown citadel

A Sigh of Resignation

When the expansion was announced at BlizzCon, I wasn’t thrilled. My reaction was something along the lines of: Mists of Pandaria? We’re going to have PANDAS running around? SERIOUSLY?

I decided I could probably deal with that, despite not being thrilled with pandas, to the point where I now no longer say “sad panda”, but rather “sad moose”. However, that, combined with the changing talent trees and abilities and such left me doubtful that I would really enjoy very much at all in Mists of Pandaria.

Still, I said, I would wait to see if things were as bad as I thought they would be, by checking out the Beta. I signed up for the annual pass so I’d get guaranteed Mists of Pandaria Beta access and a free digital copy of Diablo III. People who have noted my overall unhappiness with the announced details of the expansion have asked me if I plan to continue playing.

To them, I have said “right now, the plan is to keep playing and keep raiding, unless something significant changes or Beta is terrible.”

So I have basically told people that my viewpoint was that everything would continue barring huge changes/proof that said changes are terrible in Beta.

And then, on Wednesday evening, Blizzard announced incoming nerfs to Dragon Soul, both normal and heroic.

I sighed. And then I resigned myself to the fact that, unless the Mists of Pandaria Beta absolutely blows my mind in terms of PVE play (especially raiding), this is my last expansion of World of Warcraft where I will be anything more than a casual player.

Let me be very clear — I am dedicated to my guild and our raid group. I will continue to raid, continue to lead the guild, up to when Mists of Pandaria is released. But after that? I’m really not so sure what’s going to happen. Until release, I’ll stick around and continue to be a source of holy paladin knowledge, will still do a podcast with Majik, will still lead Apotheosis and will still raid with Choice on my off-nights. Beyond that, well, I’m not thinking I want to be a part of the upcoming expansion, which is a shift from just twelve hours ago. Earlier today, my thinking was optimistic: “Hey, unless things in Beta really suck, I’ll probably keep playing.” Now, it’s more pessimistic: “Hey, unless things in Beta are really AWESOME, I’m probably going to quit.”

The reason is the ongoing nerfing of current content.

For those of you who are brave, the complete rant is below, but that’s the short answer.

Read more

I'll take it.

Apotheosis went in to ICC 25 for the first time as a guild. Here’s what we did.

– 1 attempt at Marrowgar heroic, before we did a one-shot of Marrowgar regular

– One-shots of LDW, Gunship, Saurfang, Rotface and Festergut (all on normal, even Gunship, sadly due to some buggy interface issues)

– One wipe on Putricide, followed by a clean kill

– One wipe on Dreamwalker, closing out the night

I was emphatically not prepared for a few things (Putricide phase changes are at 80% and 35%. Remember this!) and we definitely need to iron out some issues, but it went okay.

Tomorrow, I begin going through the logs and wearing the Healing Lead hat, which will involve talking to the healers. We had a ton of overhealing, which is fine, but I suspect there are some other issues as well that will need to be touched upon.

It was pretty disappointing to see that a healer and a tank just flat-out didn’t show. The tank had some last-minute recording to do with the band he’s in. I’m going to have to give him my cell number I guess, so he can text me in the future or something. Very bad to have a tank who just doesn’t show.

The healer? No idea. Would have been great to have a resto druid. But alas.

At least we had a feral druid who knew the fights and was able to be a kitty and a bear as needed. And we had E, the wonderous priest, pinch-heal for us.

So despite a slow start (looking for fillers) and some DC issues, it went pretty well. I hadn’t thought we’d get Putricide so easily, but we did. :)

My officers kicked ass and did a great job together. At one point, it was almost like we were in BT again. Good times. :)

All in all, it went well and we’re going to try to go back on Thursday. I think we’ll start out in Blood and then move to Frost. That gives me some time to sit there and write up a coherent Sindragosa strategy…

Next week, assuming we do this again… Heroic Marrowgar is gonna be our bitch. :)

Cataclysm Beta Build 13202 & Live Hotfix

Let’s chat a bit about the reported changes affecting holy paladins from Cataclysm Beta Build 13202. Thanks to MMO-Champion, as always, for detailing the changes so quickly.

Holy

* Seal of Insight – Unleashing this Seal’s energy now also restores 15% of the Paladin’s base mana.
* Mastery: Illuminated Healing now only affects your direct healing spells, instead of all healing spells.

Both a buff and a nerf, really.

The Seal of Insight buff is pretty huge. Every time we judge, we will regain 15% of base mana which, at 85, is in the realm of 3500 mana back. That’s instead of a CHANCE of 4% base mana (936ish mana) back when we judge. However, I believe we still maintain the chance to regain 4% of base mana back with this active, but we are guaranteed to get 15% of base mana back when we judge.

This means judgements — and not missing them — just became way more important. Judgement is an 8-second cooldown. Ideally, we are busy doing other things and are busy enough (though not overwhelmed) to not cast this on cooldown, but rather 2-3 times a minute, the way we did in most of Wrath. Remember that this seems like a lot of mana back right now, but with something like Flash of Light costing over 6000 mana at 85, this isn’t a ton of mana. It has the potential to be a lot of mana regen, however, when used wisely.

As to the mastery nerf, this is likely a direct result of the beta-realm raids where holy paladins apparently were using the hell out of Holy Radiance. It only makes sense. We’re not “the shielding spec”. We’re direct healers, primarily. There’s no way they want us to put tiny shields on 25 people with one GCD from Holy Radiance or Light of Dawn when it would take a disc priest a lot more time to do similar absorption (barring Power Word: Barrier).

I’m okay with these changes.

Let’s talk about the live server hotfix for paladins.

Source, Ghostcrawler, via MMO-Champion’s Blue Tracker:

Holy Paladin Hotfix
Yes, we buffed the 5 paladin direct heals (FoL, HL, DL, HS, WoG). This is a change for both level 80 and 85. We are going to tone down Holy Radiance as I described in the other thread. It can be powerful without being 75% of paladin healing.

I know it’s customary for players to classify everything as either overpowered or garbage, but we believe there are actual numbers in between say 1 and 100, so give the changes a chance before you dismiss them.

It is possible we will nerf Word of Glory for Prot and Ret at 85 to compensate for this buff since they probably don’t need stronger Words.

This went live late on Monday/early on Tuesday and pre-empted my rant about what a horrible time I had on Monday’s unofficial ICC 25 raid.

Just as an example, we had a resto druid, a resto shammy and Walks and myself go into portals on regular Dreamwalker, collecting orbs. We were also doing portal jockey. We wiped a few times. Obviously, the holy paladin method has changed here — Glyph of Holy Light is dead, so there’s no reason to beacon the dragon and heal a target near the dragon (be it yourself, a Tenacity pet for bigger splashes, etc). You just heal the dragon directly. (Oddly, Flash of Light worked better than Divine Light spam here, but that was pre-hotfix.)

I had 34 stacks of Emerald Vigor, more than anyone else. I came in fourth out of the four of us in the portals. And that includes a 600k+ crit Lay on Hands. Pathetic. Walks was just above me and then MILES ahead of us was the resto shammy and the resto druid at the top. Now I know that we’ve been supremely overpowered on this fight, but good Lord, that was embarassing. The entire night was an exercise in frustration. I couldn’t do what I was previously able to do, but not only the whole “handling two tanks alone” thing. I mean that I was unable to do my job with even half the effectiveness as before.

However, after the hotfix, I now feel better. NOW I feel as though I’m adjusting to the class changes. NOW I feel as though I’m fighting myself and my old habits to learn new tricks and tips, like #1 over at this bubblespec post, instead of fighting the new mechanics.

Is it a buff? Yes. Is it too much of a buff? Maybe. But it allows me to worry less about whether or not I CAN keep a target up, which lets me acclimate to the new ways of keeping my target up. Right now, that’s the priority for us — learn how to heal with expensive short heals and long heals, but a mana free heal and oh wow, need to generate holy power and all that jazz, too!

I feel that, since the hotfix, I’m playing smarter on the paladin. True, I haven’t raided on her, but I have recovered confidence in my spells and abilities just by virtue of playing with the heals alone and in heroic dungeons.

Is this the answer for all that ails holy paladins? No. But it’s about as good as it’s going to get at 80 before Cataclysm, probably. They’ve fixed us so that we can continue in our niche for the rest of 4.0.1 and still acclimate to working outside our niche with new mechanics.

Does this still terrify me for 85? Yes. But I do feel more hopeful and I think that while we’ll have to share single-target healing with others (and others will have to share some of the raid healing responsibilities with us!) it no longer feels as though an extra shadow priest can make up for our healing.

I do not think that paladins have gotten even remotely enough cool stuff. Still no Evangelism, Archangel, Atonement, Chakra, Holy Word: Chastise. We get Holy Radiance (at 83) and Light of Dawn and Word of Glory and then they screwed with each of our pre-patch heals, but nothing full of synergy, nothing really cool, although I definitely do like Holy Radiance. It has an unfortunately huge mana cost and 30 second cooldown, if you’re specced “properly”, so we can’t just slam on that button every time it’s up. I imagine it’s for those moments in Cataclysm that can be best related to XT-002. Quake? Holy Radiance. In other words, occasional heavy raid damage, but not an “on cooldown” ability, due to the prohibitive mana cost.

Still, there’s time yet and there will be patches in the future that will change talents and abilities. I hope to see more from Blizzard in terms of holy paladin attention, at least, if not new and exciting spells. This hotfix is a great step for us maintaining our raid spots and not screwing our raids over, at least until Cataclysm’s launch.

Busy, busy!

What with all this patch nonsense and various RL issues, which include me staying at my parents’ house to dogsit and such, I have had remarkably little time to play or respond to comments or anything like that. By “remarkably little time to play”, I mean that I’ve run three heroics on the hunter and one on the paladin.

However, I’d like to ask you all, those of you who have raided since the patch:

How is raiding? Many of the blogs I’ve read indicated that people wiped repeatedly to heroic Lord Marrowgar. I’m curious to know how people feel, how strategies have or haven’t changed. How’s raid healing on heroic BQL or Sindragosa? How’s tank healing on Blood Prince Council or Festergut?

The End of the World as We Know It

Extended maintenance is well underway on US servers and patch 4.0.1 will be implemented on live servers by the time they come back up.

While alternately exciting and depressing, depending on with whom you’re speaking, the one thing the everyone can agree on is that the pre-Cataclysm patch can be described as game-changing.

I both love and hate expansions. I love them because of the new challenges to face and I hate them because I go from knowing basically everything pertinent about my classes to knowing zip. Nada. Zilch. Niente. Rien. Nothin’.

Or, at least, very little. I feel fairly prepared with regards to my paladin, although I’m still feeling “not ready” to let go of my big Holy Lights or my 100% beacons or my 25% mana/1m Divine Plea… But I’m unprepared for all my other classes.

That, however, is a whole other post.

Expansions also mean changes in terms of guilds. Changing toons, specs, even changing guilds. Rosters go through insane amounts of changes between expansions.

Last night, I may have had my last raid with the guild I’ve been in since June. We’ve had a hell of a few months, let me tell you. I joined when they were 7/12 HM in ICC25 and now we’re 11/12 ICC25 HM.

This last reset, Thursday, we finally got heroic Sindragosa. It was the messiest kill ever that involved a bubble taunt by the sole remaining tank and only four people were alive at the end. She had enraged. And yet, she died. Finally. That got most of the raiders their heroic Frostwing Halls achievement, towards their Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25) achievement, which is excellent. That’s been their goal for several months and so most of them are one step closer to that drake. Most were just missing Been Waiting a Long Time for This, All You Can Eat and Neck Deep in Vile.

The guild may or may not continue raiding into 4.0.1. I’m personally of the mind that we will not be able to do half the stuff we do now if all healers are as screwed changed as I think we are. Combine that with parry’s nerf (50% mitigation instead of 100% avoidance), (apparently, I still don’t know how to keep up to date on that “tanking thing”…) changes to block (30% mitigation)… I don’t think that getting rid of Chill of the Throne is really going to do enough to compensate. Anyways, it’s possible that I’m wrong and things are not completely borked and we’ll be able to continue raiding. So things are kind of uncertain.

Man, I hate uncertainty…

Anyways, I walked in to the raid last night knowing we had Putricide, LK and Halion up. I walked in there knowing that this could be my last raid with this guild. I have had a LOT of fun with these people. And before 4.0.1 hits, we got to 11/12 ICC 25 HM. It’s not my first time doing these things, but let me tell you something — when we killed Putricide on heroic 25-man for the second time for this guild, it felt fantastic. It was a beautiful kill. 24 people alive (the 25th had the plague and sacrificed himself for us) and some flawless transitions.

It also ensured five more people in the raid got their heroic Plagueworks achievement, including our primary raid leader, who has always been kind and has always listened to my suggestions, even if my suggestions weren’t always implemented. I was so psyched to get this for her that I even did a silly little fist pump when Putricide died tonight and those five people spammed us with their achievements. Even though that was… probably my 7th heroic Putricide kill, it was definitely in my personal top 3 kills. The top was my own first kill, the second was this guild’s first kill and tonight’s kill is just behind those two.

So faced with an ICC instance where we had killed Saurfang, BQL, Putricide and Sindragosa, all on heroic… we had to look at heroic Lich King.

When one of the officers started detailing the strat for P1 and dealing with Shadow Traps, I paused for a moment.

“The person marked will run out and drop it outside of the raid.”

I blinked.

I have spent, oh, about 30ish attempts on heroic Lich King. That’s not a lot of time or energy. It also happened back in May.

But that still didn’t sound right to me. And then I remembered how my last guild did it, how we split up into one melee group and two ranged. Like this (click for a larger version):

So I let the RL and the GM know that I was pretty sure the strat we were about to try wasn’t going to work and why, but told them I wasn’t 100% sure.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, Shadow Trap gets cast and most of the raid goes flying. Hilarious! I wish I’d frapsed it! We lasted 43 seconds. That is less time than the opening speech portion takes. I laughed.

We tried one more attempt on heroic, just for fun, which went a little bit better, before switching it to regular and trying Been Waiting a Long Time For This.

I warned the healers that it was mana-intensive. I even called for an Innervate, which I nearly didn’t get because our bear druid was busy tea-bagging someone who had died. :P (The same thing actually happened to me in my last guild.)

Also a messy kill, but a kill and achievement nonetheless.

On to Ruby Sanctum!

We cleared through fairly easily. And no. The boots did not drop. Which means that Walks and I are stuck with our 245 or 258 Boots of the Courageous or stuck crafting the plate 264 healing boots. Ah, well. Would have been nice to have an upgrade instead of downgrading or staying at the same item level. Killed that dragon 11ish times and still, no 271 plate boots.

Overall, though, a productive night. Got lots of people at least one achievement, got a few people two. Played with heroic Lich King. Cleared Ruby Sanctum.

And through it all, I knew it was a good chance this was the last time I’d ever raid with these people. I knew that soon, it’ll be time for me to lead, to raid with the newly-reformed Apotheosis of Eldre’Thalas.

I’m not going to lie — I’ve enjoyed being a member. No leadership responsibilities, no healing assignments. (Okay, so I took over organizing judgements, but when no one’s judging light and you have five pallies in the raid, someone has to!) (Okay, I also organize who beacons who and who shields who with Walks, but that’s just common courtesy so we don’t always overwrite each other, although Walks consistently does overwrite my damn shield on Sindragosa. ;D)

But I’ve also had to rein in my leadership skills a few times and my poor raid leaders and GM have probably heard enough from me to last them forever! ;) It’s a difficult thing to do, keeping your mouth shut and giving another strategy a chance when you’ve seen another one work flawlessly.

Like I said, though, I’m awfully glad that I got to finish out Wrath with such a great group of people. I’m moving my paladin back to Eldre’Thalas as soon as the guild’s leadership calls it an expansion, basically. That could be as soon as this week or next week or the week before Cataclysm launches.

I may have raided for the last time with these people and honestly, while I won’t miss a couple of them, I’ve had a great time. I feel like I accomplished something by helping them get to 11/12 and a stone’s throw from their drakes. So if this is where we part ways and this is where Madrana goes home… I’m satisfied. Last night was a great way to end raiding, if that is, indeed, the end. Some hilarity on LK, some success with HPP and Been Waiting and a Halion one-shot.

And now, it’s the end of the world as we know it and, though I’ll roll with the punches, I don’t quite feel altogether fine.

Strange mix of new and old

Apologies for not being around much this weekend. Apart from anything else, it’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, so there’s been that to deal with.

I took some Apotheosis guildies to ICC10 on Friday to work on the Lich King. We had fun, but we had some issues with various mechanics, including Valks and Defiles, the few times we dealt with them.

Stupidly, I scheduled a continuation for Sunday night, unaware, at the time, that my parents were inviting guests (ie: people who weren’t family members) to Thanksgiving dinner, which extended dinner from an average 2.5 hour affair to one that lasted 4.5 hours. So my brother and I were very, very, very late for our raid. We scrounged some people up, we waited around for a bit, but, in the end, we got 8 attempts in on him and got him to 59%.

True, we didn’t actually kill a Val’kyr, but we came close! And we did learn to dodge defiles and the tanks SEEMED to be doing well with taunting for Soul Reaper. We even went into transition without a Shambling a few times and had this one BEAUTIFUL attempt where we had nothing but one Raging Spirit half-dead when we ran back in for P2. Gorgeous!

What I learned about organizing and leading this fight:

– Drudge Ghouls help out immensely with the Necrotic Plague bounces and stacks and can help get that high enough to 2-shot a Shambling Horror.

– You can lose a Raging Spirit if you leave them on the collapsing part of the ledge, which can make your life a TON easier. ;)

– Warlocks can actually be out of range of their teleporters. Or, you know, their teleporters can be covered by Defile. I guess the solution here is to stand at range, on top of your teleporter and then you won’t be OOR?

– That bloody enrage on the Shamblings sucks, but I don’t think we lost my brother to a single one. He was stunning them whenever he could, so that was pretty sweet.

– Why the Valks ALWAYS seemed to choose our freaking disc priest to carry away, I do not know. Hilarious, though.

– It feels good to say “Let’s get Football back up, please” again. Battle-rezzing our resident fury warrior was kind of a staple of our BC raids, while we would leave the resident enhancement shaman dead on the floor. ;D

– I’m still super rusty at this thing called “raid leading”. Totally forgot to actually assign healing until after the first wipe, I think it was. I’m looking forward to Cata raiding where I’ll do healing and a brief (stop laughing, it’s possible!) overview and other role leads will deal with other crap!

– Leading a raid that is comprised primarily of friends can still be considered “work”, but it’s fun work.

– Going through the logs of a raid that is comprised primarily of friends, most of whom you know for a fact are great players, can still result in /facepalms. ;)

I need to do a variety of things, including respond to comments here, making sure I have the glyphs I want for tomorrow, given the great chance that 4.0.1 drops, and then maybe I can actually play the game a bit today.

Weekend Update

(Sadly, I am not as cool as Tina Fey.)

– I’m one Manalicious quest away from Chef.

– On Saturday, I actually HAD the Blacktip Shark IN MY BAGS and used Aspect of the Cheetah to run to the NPC and while clicking on him, heard the sound when he got the Master Angler of Azeroth achievement precisely two seconds before I would have. SAD PANDA.

– ICC10 on Friday went okay, cleared Lower Spire, did Blood Wing (one-shotted Council with me on orbs, if you can imagine!) and went through some hiccups on BQL, but got her down. Tried Dreamwalker, but it didn’t go very well because we were 9 manning it and I was on my shammy for that part.

– I had an absolutely lovely Vent conversation with a blogger I’ve only known about for a couple of months, Oestrus, from The Stories of O. Previously a RL friend of Codi’s, they reconnected with each other in the WoW blogosphere. How awesome is that? It’s pretty awesome. Even more awesome? Oestrus has stuck her priest in Apotheosis to get a feel for us to see if we’re where she wants to be for Cataclysm. She came to ICC10 Part 2 on Sunday night, too.

– Seriously, I HAD THE BLACKTIP SHARK. <flails>

– Beta guilds were wiped, so if you were in my beta version of Apotheosis on Lost Isles, you may want to hit me up on Twitter at some point to get a re-invite.

– ICC10 Part 2. Went better than expected. O joined us on her priest and we promptly wiped on Plague trash. /facepalm. Nice first impression. ;) I think we made up for it, though, when we one-shot Rot, Fester and the good Professor. Dreamwalker was cake and, for the first time ever, I did that fight without healing in the portals. I kited zombies! It was kind of awesome, although I have never wanted to be able to cleanse my own magical debuffs more than right then. Stupid frostbolt volleys. Anyways, then it was on to Sindragosa. Despite some lapses in attention and despite some miscommunication, the Apotheosis INFAMOUS LAST ATTEMPT rule kicked in and we got her down for the first time. (Well, first time on these toons for many of us, anyways.)

– O will fit in beautifully if she decides to stick with us. She’s already on the “I tease Kurn, therefore I am” bandwagon. Things like “Eh on Hands” instead of “Lay on Hands” and “Hey, I need my I’m on a Boot achievement!”… Naturally, the guildies cracked up. :P

– After the raid, Football and X and I went to MC. Football’s after Sulfuron Ingots and the Eye of Sulfuras for Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros. I was hoping I’d get my Eye of Divinity for my priest off Domo, and X was along on his warlock until we got to Domo, at which point he got his 72 hunter, in case the Ancient Petrified Leaf dropped. The Eye of Divinity dropped and, after a couple of embarassing wipes on Ragnaros, off I went to the Eastern Plaguelands!

– And finally, as you were perhaps able to tell from the video above, I’ve managed to find a decent video setting for videos! This has some huge implications, particularly when I get a decent rig either later this month or in November.

ICC 25 heroic Putricide and Sindragosa tonight. Fingers crossed for the swift deaths of these two pains in my ass, if only for the hopes of my current guild’s Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25) drakes.

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