lørdag den 15. juni 2013

Getting back into raiding, and a personal view on healing (in)equality.

Getting back into raiding, and a personal view on healing equality.

I’ve started to have some time again, and what better way to spend it than on playing World of Warcraft and raiding? After going inactive/casual in Envy I transferred my shaman back to “The Great Danes” on Auchindoun (This was the place which I left in order to join Ensidia and thereafter Envy) and was helping/being a burden whenever I had time to play and they was in a need of an extra healer (who had no clue on any boss abilities).
This was quite refreshing in comparison with numerous alt runs (I still play my alts, but it is when I choose to and not because we need 3-4 raids for maximizing gear) and late night PTR testing so we know the bosses abilities and so forth. Now, usually I like to prepare myself very well for an encounter, but since I was rarely playing I haven’t bothered doing so up until now, and it did remind me a little of the “old days” where you had to “learn by doing”. Like on Dumuruu I managed to get kicked of the platform on my first try, and I was laughing and enjoying myself just like my fellow raiders, who had been there numerous times and was used to the mechanics.  To put in other terms: After a 4-5 months break I had jolly good fun while raiding! 

However, due to my gear is vastly inferior to my fellow raiders, and because I am a slacker and therefore still sits in ToES, HoF HM gear I am in no way geared to progress with them on Lei Shen. So currently my raiding is limited to clearing up till Lei Shen and spending my coins (Oh, what a surprise gold yet again) and trying to leech some loot. 

Sadly, this has also revealed to me how badly resto shamans perform currently, and not only because I lack quite a lot of gear, but simply because of how the different classes work currently and how we get the shaft every freaking time (Okay, this is mainly being the point after the “Big CD Buff Patch” where Druids, Monks (WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU BUFF REVIVIAL YOU MONGOLOIDS?) and Holy Priests throughput CDs received a major buff. 

Let us start at the CD department where shamans was quite strong, and some would say reigned supreme, but after 5.3 that is no longer the case. I do see the logic and accept that Hymn and Tranq got buffed since they were healing for too little, and they got a penalty which is “channeling”, however, buffing an already potent class like Monk, I do simply not understand the logic. Revival is now hitting 2,5-3+mil healing  with one press and afterwards you can go back to Uplift spam, it is just idiotic and not very well thought of. I assume the logic with not buffing Healing Tide Totem was it was just a cast and we could stand and dish out healing while the totem was healing, and I do understand that and accept it to some degree, but because MW monks gets buffed which is basically the same (I would argue stronger), I mean – C’mon ! 

Another issue which has been with us since MoP Beta where it was pointed out numerous times on forums is our freaking mastery. The mastery worked “okayish” in Cataclysm due to the way encounters worked and in regards to HP levels, but now it is a complete joke.
 There is currently 2 very big issues with the mastery
      1)      Absorbs is far too strong since it effectively grants you more EHP, and while that is great it does also reduce the capability of HoT classes such as shaman / druid,  but I would argue that we suffer more than the druid class simply because of our mastery. When 20% of the dmg. Is absorbed our mastery doesn’t really end up kicking in and is a “meh” stat.
      2)     The real elephant in the room is that no other class has a mastery which devaluates itself. Let me explain: Every time you heal a person who has taken damage you end up healing for less and less simply because the mastery’s value is declining. Now this might not sound as a big of a deal, but why are we having a mastery which is devaluating itself, and is suffering quite badly under absorbs (which seems to fill more and more in the game). Sure, it can work on some encounters such as Imperial Vizier “Left” Zor’Lok”  http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/8004/o9kn.jpg

Furthermore, the tools which the shaman has at its disposal is also not sufficient for the way raiding has evolved. Sure, HR, HST and HTT heals for a lot, but HR is usually 60-80% OH (So much lost potential because it is never fully utilized) and the two others is smart heals, and they work I will not argue with that. On the other hand the old signature spell “Chain Heal” is becoming the biggest issue with shamans. One issue is the jump range and another is that it just isn’t healing for enough compared to e.g. Hymn, but also that if it only manages to jump 3 times you would likely have been better off by casting a Healing Surge.
I rarely use sources as e.g . raidbot (since quite a lot of the data is skewed due to meterwhoring, but I think it gives a quite clear picture of how “well-designed and balanced” the different healing classes perform currently.

I do not play to be #1 on the meter, I play to kill the bosses, however, if my class is unable to perform at somewhat equal terms it becomes an issue. Not because I will get benched because you can work your way around a lot of things if you got a decent healing core / alts, but simply because how freaking hard can it be to somewhat equalize 6 classes within 10% of one another. I do not encourage every class to be alike because that would ruin the games diversity, but currently it is just mindboggling how badly balanced it is, but also how ill-equipped the shamans toolkit is for this tier. This is mainly tied to Absorbs, HR and the “usefulness” of Chain Heal (REDESIGN OR GIVE US SOME NEW SPELL).

fredag den 29. marts 2013

Sha of Fear HC and inactivity.

Sha of Fear HC and inactivity.

Before t14 was completed I had decided to take a break from raiding, and I made irl commitments after progress was finished.
I killed Sha of Fear with Envy, and it was sadly not the ranking that we had hoped for, but with our rooster it was what we were capable of. After the initial kill I have only been playing whenever it was needed for either CDs or tank healing (Yes, I was primarily tank healing on Sha HC).

I was pretty burnt out after this progress, so I haven't had the interest in keeping up the blog, nor playing on PTR for "Throne of Thunder" as well as I have only recently been playing it a bit (mainly LFR as well as helping my old guild during vacation). Nonetheless, I am fairly sure that when my commitments end in late May that I will return to playing and blogging. However, I seriously doubt that I will be playing hardcore, not that it haven't been fun and interesting, but I don't want to commit that much time. Furthermore, it is also way more relaxing to sit with irl friends and talk trash while wiping on retarded stuff.

Oh yeah, shamans have been buffed -Horray, now they just need to realize that our mastery is outdated and only worked with Cataclysm HP pools / HPs.

tirsdag den 20. november 2012

A small update regarding Mogu'shan Vaults and Heart of Fear

It has been a while since I've posted anything, but I haven't really have had the time nor the incentive to do so - However, after two instances I wanted to share my views on stats, glyphs and talents for these bosses. 

This is the standard spec. that I would recommend if you are raiding 25man, http://www.wowhead.com/talent#sM5|

There is some minor thing you can switch around depending on the fight e.g. Astral Shift for Feng if you have to stand out then the 40% dmg reduction is quite nice, however, as overall I see Stone Bulwark Totem as the better choice, and the only problem can be that you drop it while having your Earth Elemental up - which is stupid.
At lvl 90 you will notice that I haven't picked a talent since it really depends on the encounter, but for the majority of fights then you will want Primal Elementalist since it is an amazing talent when used correctly. 

Mogu'shan Vaults:
Stone Guard: You should be sitting on a tank, and if you are starting to progress on it I would recommend you using Unleashed Fury since it helps a lot when tank healing is your main objective. Furthermore, Windwalk Totem is a must since it removes the snare effect that ppl. get when they pop a Cobalt mine. Else it is pretty straight forward - Keep your tank up and remember to use your HST and throw the HR on either melee or ranged, but most importantly check your tile stack before popping Mana Tide Totem as with +100 stacks you should go to max mana when it is dropped.

Feng the Accursed: This is a fight where Primal Elementalist shine, and depending on the combo you choose e.g. we pick Arcane first which means that I usually pop my Earth Elemental and get the 10% increased healing and 20% dmg. reduction which is very good to have. And remember your Healing Tide Totem also gets a 10% increase from Primal Elementalist which makes it one of the strongest throughput CDs if you can manage to use a couple of globals of getting it ready. Personally I am currently playing with "Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem" so my Fire Elemental becomes a 3min cooldown so that it always will be ready to use with Healing Tide Totem.

Gara'Jal the Spiritbinder: Primal Elementalist is again the best choice, and you should have your Earth Elemental ready for the last 25% with the increased raid dmg. then the 20% dmg. reduction for 1min is amazing. Furthermore, Spirit Link Totem is a lifesaver and one of the best cooldowns that the raid got whenever it is stacked up, and using Ascendance at that time should make your raids HP go up by quite a bit.

The Spirit Kings: I would go with Primal Elementalist, and there is not much to that fight except using your CDs at the right time, but most importantly help Purging "Shield of Darkness" and you should be using "Glyph of Purge" and "Telluric Currents" since there you will need to push dmg. and you might as well cast Lightning Bolts than stand around doing nothing. 

Elegon: Primal Elementalist is again the strongest contender, and there is no secret trick to this fight perhaps except during transitions with the adds spawning it can help the raid quite a lot of you pop your HTT while you run "back in" since it tops everyone, and if someone takes a hit from the add they will be healed up asap and gives you plenty of time to reposition yourself. Furthermore, when reaching the last phase you will see how strong a cooldown Ascendance coupled with Primal Elementalist and SLT you should be doing +300.000 HPs if only for a short period of time, but it will top people off and give you valuable extra seconds. 

Will of the Emperor:
From my point of view then Unleashed Fury is the talent to pick here since your focus will be on a tank, and he is taking a beating. Preferably you should try keeping a Riptide on your tank, but also on the other tank. Keep Unleash Life on cooldown and remembering to plant your Healing Rain on the ranged camp. This fight is long, and is tough on mana so make it a habit to cast Lightning Bolts whenever it is dance time.

As far as stats go in Mogu'shan Vaults then I would opt for crit over mastery (and was also what I did during progress), however, it depends on the level of your gear since when you reach around 490ilvl you should go for the second HST / HTT breakpoint which is 3306 (goblin) and 3764 for everyone else. 

As for glyphs I would suggest Telluric Currents and Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem for those fights where you are using Primal Elementalist which leaves the last glyph to either Water Shield, Riptide, Healing Wave (It is decent for e.g. Will where you take constant dmg. and you should try to use it as much as possible for tank healing since GHW drains your mana really rather fast) and Totemic Recall. Totemic Recall can grant you a lot of mana back, however, you have time your totems and pay a lot of attention to the timers or else you risk cutting 2-3 ticks, and when you use e.g. Primal Elementalist and use HST you may end up removing both while still having half the time on the Fire Elemental which gives you mana back, but also reduces your throughput. I am not a fan of it, however, on some fights it is good, but it requires a fair amount of focus and is not something I would suggest starting out with when learning a fight.

Heart of Fear:
If you are starting to progress in Heart of Fear I will encourage you to get the extra tick on HTT and HST. 

Imperial Vizier Zor'lok: Dance dance dance revolution - You will want Stone Bulwark Totem and Primal Elementalist and Call of the Elements.
Glyphs: Glyph of Fire Elemental, Telluric Currents and the last is up to you since Spiritwalker's Grace can be quite nice for healing people while dodging balls.
There is only a few "tricks" to this fight and one being: Align your CDs with an Elemental e.g. HTT with Fire Elemental - Ascendance with SLT and Earth Elemental (Quite powerful combo when reaching the last phase) 
And there is no secret trick to the dance, and aside from Blizzard being nitwits in regards to animations and the actual hitbox do not be filled with despair when you are being hit by orbs which is clearly nowhere near you - That is how they managed to do it.
However, as a shaman you do not have too many "oh shit" buttons to hit when that happens, or you have to eat a ball in order to get into the "proper" path. The only thing you can do is to pop Stone Bulwark Totem when he casts Attenuation so if you have to eat a ball you will absorb 50-70k, and pop your HST when you start to run since it is all about focusing on running yourself or else you might eat a couple of balls and require a ress because you tried to heal another person. You can also place a HR in such a manner that you can stand in it, and thereby ensuring that you got some extra HP from Vigor thereby giving you a larger "fuck up" margin, put a Riptide on yourself and be ready with a Nature's Swiftness CH (from yourself, since it is the easiest not the most optimal but the easiest) and be ready to eat a Health Stone. 

Blade Lord: If you managed to kill Imperial Vizier then he shouldn't be a problem, save your SLT for Unseen Strike, spread out and remember to have HTT and Spiritwalker's Grace ready for when he reaches 20%. When you have to start running pop your HTT (use your Fire Elemental if you feel confident with it), Riptide yourself (You should have a roar at this time) and then use Spiritwalker's Grace and CH from yourself until it drops of and then you use Nature's Swiftness, pop Stone Bulwark Totem and HST, switch to Ghost Wolf and run to the other end, and you only stop if someone is close to dying. When reaching the other side UE - HR, SLT, Ascendance and get your raid topped. When the boss reaches 11% get ready to move in advance use Stone Bulwark Totem if it is ready and keep HST on CD while running, and use Call of the Elements if none of them is ready. After that you loot the boss.

Garalon: There isn't many tricks except placing your HR where the raid will be, and remember when you have to use your HTT remember to pop it before the stop thereby reducing the chance that someone will die quite significantly. Beside that utilize Primal Elementalist. 

I will update when I got some more time with Wind Lord Mel'jark, Amber-Shaper Un'sok and Grand Empress Shek'zeer. 

Feel free to mail me if you got any questions. 

fredag den 19. oktober 2012

Restoration shaman - What is better crit or mastery ?

Restoration shaman - What is better crit or mastery ?

One of the more frequent questions regarding restoration shamans on forums is "What secondary stat should I go for - crit or mastery?", so let us take a look at the question.

I rely on my experience from the current content and since that is a 25man view I will refrain from stating anything in regards to 10man, or almost.

Now, there is two types of raiding 10man and 25man, but even when we separate these there is also the factor of how "hardcore" you play. By hardcore I mean are you e.g. atm. progressing on 2nd or 3rd hardmode or are you progressing on Elegon or Will of the Emperor on normal ? This may perhaps not appear to be that big of a difference, but they are since with the current gear levels you are forced by the dps requirements to push the number of healers as low as possible e.g. we had 5 on Gara, 3 on Spirit Kings and 4 on Elegon ("prefix" of the Energies not dealing dmg. when killed).
So an assumption would be "Since we are running as few healers as possible, then mastery will be the best stat since it in the previous expansion was thought of as the best stat during progression due to mana efficiency?", and with several theory crafters have calculated that it is around 70-65% that mastery overtakes crit in terms of throughput, and with progress people will end up there often, so therefore I should go mastery, no ?
I disagree. Mastery is a good stat and that there is no discussion about, but we have to look at mastery as a stat the in order to become effective will decrease its own effective value as soon as it becomes more potent. This might not look like an issue, but let us take e.g. Feng on HM during the fire where the raid is taking quite a bit of dmg., and you rotate your CDs in order to cope with it. The raid is on 50% and a CD is popped and ppl. are back at 75%, your heals until ppl. reached 70% was as strong as they could be, but now that ppl. are at 75-80% you healing decreases. You might say "But they are out of the "dangerous" zone now", well not really since they still require healing and since you currently no longer is healing as much as you could be your fellow healers has to pick up the pace thereby blowing more of their mana. 
My issue with stacking mastery is that you gear for 10-20% of an encounter, I am aware that people will be smashed below 70% more often, but with the passive smart healing from disc priests, WG and HST it will not be consistently "good".

Whereas crit. might "loose" to mastery when people are below 70-65%, but what you have to remember is that your raid will stay above that marker longer since your throughput from 100-65% is higher, and furthermore with you healing more for what will be the larger part of the fight your fellow healers should enter the "hard phases" with more mana thereby increasing your overall throughput.
That is the HPs side of it, but there is also the additional gain from Resurgence whenever you crit. which will grant you some more mana and while it might only be 2 or 4 more casts it will matter for when you are progressing.

Furthermore, on fights as Gara where DPS is tight, and even the healers have to push it then you will gain more from crit. since it does also slightly buff your DPS. 

Therefore I strongly suggest that you aim for crit as your secondary stat instead of mastery, and feel free to disagree and keep stacking mastery, and that will also make it easier for you to jump into elemental off spec and do dailies and whatnot.