Monday, July 23, 2007

Fuck This Shit

Maaan...seriously...FUCK. THIS. SHIT.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Acid Test, Passed

A couple of night's ago, I got an invite to a heroic underbog run. The inviter was a mage from , one of the more progressed guilds on our server, and I figured that the group would be a strong one. I acquiesced, not entirely sure if my hybrid spec would be enough. I was most fearful about losing Light's Grace for the 2-second Holy Lights, mainly because the bog lords can pack quite a punch as they keep growing.

Turns out my fears were unwarranted. Of course, the tank's gear also helped. As did the dps capabilities of the entire group. First time I saw a survival hunter outdps a mage.

Just the 3 wipes. First one was the 2 bog lord pull before the first boss. I had Righteous Fury up (90% increased threat on holy spells) for some retarded reasons, so my heals pulled aggro, and I got critted into oblivion. The rest of the group followed, but not before taking one of them down, so then it became a standard bog lord pull. Then, the second boss got a thrash (extra hits, like a windfury effect) on the tank at the wrong time. The final wipe was due to the tank pulling 6-7 insects at once just before the third boss. We stayed up for a long time nonetheless, before they overwhelmed us.

This was the first time I healed for the 2 bog lords before the final boss. Tanks are often required to use Shield Wall just to get past these, and not without reason. I saw our warrior get hit for 8000 after only a couple of growths. The tank actually went down on the second one, but the group managed to finish off the bog lord.

Just about an hour and a half later, we all left the instance 4 badges richer. I also got myself a Cossack of the Loyal (finally able to discard the leather legs from Kara), a dps ring (meh) as well as the Argussian Compass, which makes AoE farming a lot easier. Very successful run.

I am regularly AoE tanking non-heroic 5-mans and breezing through them as a result. The healing stints categorically proved (if only to myself) that my hybrid spec is definitely where I want it to be. Not being shafted into a healbot role makes playing a paladin that much more enjoyable.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Fickle Friend

Let me first clarify that the eponymous friend is not a person.

The oft-mentioned warrior friend of mine (Narot's the name) came online last night, and we decided to get some 2v2 action going. We had ended the week before at 1607, down from 1625 as we tried to accomodate another not-as-geared player and get him his share of points.

We started off against lower ranked teams, and promptly decimated them. Had it not been for a slight misunderstanding where Narot thought he was about to disconnect and I left queue, we would have gone 5-0. 1650 plus for the first time led to a few passing comments about our uberness.

Alas, it was not to last.

If there is one thing that is my bane in arenas, it is elemental shamans in DPS-heavy teams. They have such amazing burst (especially with bloodlust), and since 800 bonus spell damage is also 800 bonus healing, their heals are very potent as well. With nature's swiftness, they can potentially do upto 12000 damage at the space of one global cooldown, which is only 1.05 seconds with bloodlust. And this is not considering any help from their partner. And it especially didn't help that all the elemental shamans we faced were wearing multiple pieces of arena gear.

Faced with such overwhelming brutality, our win:loss ratio dropped to a clumsy 5:5. Because of the arena rating reset last month, these teams were all lower rated than us, so we lost more points by losing to them, than we could have gained winning against them. We came back under the 1600 mark, finishing at 1576.

One of the highlights though, was when I almost took a warrior down from 50% after our partners died. I never got a chance to change into my tanking gear, or I am confident that I could have emerged victorius.

On a more positive note, I recently started a 5v5 team that has been doing very well. We went up 1520 in our first 5 games before we went up against a 3 warlock team 4 times in a row, and got decimated. This week, I am yet to play any of the games, but we are already above 1550. I have also got offers of 3v3s coming my way, and should see some action in that bracket this weekend.

Let's just hope the elemental shamans stay away.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Exalted with Skyguard

I have finally finished my Sha'tari Skyguard rep grind, slowing down substantially as I neared the Exalted mark. Now my Holy damage set boasts a Airman's Ribbon of Gallantry, while my Retribution set can say the same about a Skyguard Silver Cross.

And I just had to have a Nether Ray mount, so I handed out the 180g and picked the silver one.

Ain't it a beaut? My only complaint is that (not surprisingly) the rays don't have a 'on ground' animation, so they just fly, albeit slower. Still, this has taken over as my primary mount.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

On Crits and Crushes

The outcomes on the attack table used in WoW (refer to my earlier post about Blizzard's table-based combat system here) are, in order of dominance: miss, dodge, parry, block, critical hit, crushing blow, and lastly, normal hit.

The order of dominance is at the center of the table-based combat system. Simply put, the chance of any outcome in the table occuring depends on the cumulative chance of the more-dominant outcomes (those listed earlier in the attack table).

A couple of examples should clear things up. Being the least dominant outcome, the chance of a normal hit is dependent on the cumulative chance of everything else. If these chances add up to a 100% (which is not unreasonable), the chance for a normal hit will drop to 0%. If a very undergeared tank (with dodge, parry and block chances of only 5% each) is fighting a raid boss (~5% chance to miss and crit, 15% chance to crush), he will be receiving normal hits 60% of the time. The hits are not bad, per se, but the crits and crushes will make short work of him.

Now, let's say we have a tank with incredible amounts of defense, affording him a tank a 40% chance to be missed, and to dodge, parry and block. Miss, being the most dominant outcome, will happen 40% of the time. Dodge, the next dominant, will 40% of the time. That only leaves 20% of attacks that are parried. The rest of the parry chance is wasted. No attacks will get blocked either. Of course, with this kind of mitigation, the tank will have a very hard getting rage (mana, if its a paladin), and not be able to hold aggro. This time, the mob will make short work of the rest of the group. But such a scenario is too hypothetical to even consider.

Critical hits and crushing blows are very bad. Nuff said. The mob's weapon skill, which is always 5 times the mob's level, and the player's defense skill, which can be up to 5 times the player's level before bonuses from gear, affect the chances for these outcomes.

All mobs have a 5% base chance to score a critical hit (2x damage) on a player with the same defense skill as the mob's weapon skill. Each point of difference increases or reduces the chance by 0.04%, depending on which is higher. Raid bosses, considered level 73, have a 5.6% chance to crit a level 70 player with 350 defense skill. However, by increasing their defense skill by a further 140 (5.6/0.04), the player can effectively become immune to being crit. This 490 defense is generally considered the magic number that tanks aim to get. It also increases the chance to dodge, block and parry by 5.6% each. Note: The boss has its miss chance lowered from the base 5% to 4.4% by virtue of being level 73, and 490 defense increases it by a further 5.6% to give a total miss chance of 10%.

Ok, so crits are out of the way, rather easily, granting us a whole lot of extra avoidance in the process. Now for crushing blows.

A mob can only score a crushing blow (1.5x damage) on a player if it there is a difference of 15 between their weapon skill and the player's defense skill. A weaker form of crits, you say? The difference is that the chance to receive a crushing blow is always 15% as long as your defense is at the base cap (player level x 5), and increasing defense past this cap with talents or gear has no effect on this chance.

To eliminate crushing blows from the attack table, the player has to increase their combined chance to miss, dodge, parry and block to more than 100% (102.4% to be specific, to account for the level difference of a raid boss), literally pushing crushing blows (along with crits and normal hits) off the table, as the other outcomes are more dominant. The warrior ability Shield Block and the paladin ability Holy Shield help in this regard by substantially increasing their respective chances to block by 75% and 30(or 35)%. In fact, the huge boost from Shield Block almost trivializes the need for avoidance stats on gear, allowing warriors to focus on stamina instead.

Then why bother getting 490 defense to eliminate crits when it can be pushed off with high enough mitigation anyway? Primarily because Shield Block and Holy Shield have charges that might get used up before the skill has cooled down. This is especially likely when fighting more than one mob. Of course, the increased defense also has the secondary benefit of helping you get that much closer to the 102.4% mark by increasing your other avoidance stats.

Contrary to the example I used above of having 100% avoidance and having difficutly getting rage (or mana), the main outcome occuring here is block. Block is more of a mitigation stat, than an avoidance stat. Given the amount most mobs hit for, and the amount that gets blocked, there is still plenty of damage being taken, preventing said problem.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Table-based Combat

Much of the information in this post can be found here. I will present it in a (hopefully) more intuitive manner. This information only applies to white (auto-attack, not special attacks like Mortal Strike, Arcing Smash, Hateful Strike) damage taken.

Anyone who has paid attention to the combat log (or SCT) will know that incoming attacks can miss, or be dodged, parried or blocked (although not all classes can do the later two). At the other end, it can also be a critical hit (for 2x damage) or a crushing blow (for 1.5x damage). And then there's of course the normal hit.

Blizzard has confirmed that World of Warcraft uses a table-based combat system. Instead of going down the list, checking for one, and moving on to the next only if that check fails, there is only one roll to determine the outcome of an attack, depending on the respective chances for miss, dodge, parry, block, et cetera.

Because of the nature of the table-based combat system, percentages are absolutely true. A 10% chance to dodge means that you will dodge 10% of all attacks, not 10% of attacks that do not miss. The difference is clear. With the former (not used) system, assuming a 10% chance to miss for simplicity, 10 attacks out of every 100 would miss, and only 9 of the 90 going through would be dodged. This leads to diminishing returns on the stats that are checked later in the roll system. With the table-based system, 10 attacks would miss, and a further 10 attacks will be dodged. All stats give returns exactly as advertised.

This allows players to stack avoidance stats up to 100% and effectively eliminate getting hit, ever.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tryst with Protection

After finishing up this week's worth of arenas, I decided to give protection another shot. I am very comfortable with where my healing is (was) at, so I figured it was time to bring up my tanking set. This was influenced, in no small manner, by the facts that finding tanks is a major pain on my server, and that tanking is a lot more fun to do than heal.

I went with a hybrid holy/protection build that I used when I first hit 70, because I still want to retain potency at healing. This spec is particuarly special to me, in that it is my own spec. I could not find a true hybrid spec for the life of me, and came up with this all by myself. I realize that I would could be a better tank by delving deeper into protection with 12 points in retribution instead, but Holy Power, Sanctified Light, Healing Light and Spiritual Focus are too much to give up just yet. In September, when I have more time on my hands, I will start my own Kara group (by then, the guild would have hopefully stopped doing scheduled Kara runs) that I hope to tank, and this is the goal towards which I will be working. =)

So far, I am at 86% 'avoidance' (including Holy Shield with the heroic libram), meaning that I am not immune to crushing blows, yet. I'm not planning to start tanking in raids anytime soon, so I'm not too worried. I'll get there. I'll post a pic of my tanking gear (mostly 5-man blues and quest rewards) once I get my UI sorted out.

More on this protection respec, and the experiences it brings me as the week progresses.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Real Bubble

An old adage among paladins is to never use Blessing of Protection on oneself if one can use Divine Shield instead. It is divine wisdom indeed, and I paid the price for ignoring it.

Scenario: Warrior and I, against a rogue and a paladin in the Circle of Blood. Rogue on me, warrior on their paladin, handing out the pain. For some strange reason, I decide to use Blessing of Protection instead of Divine Shield, a retarded response probably triggered by the huge barrage of melee hits.

Result: Rogue instantly blinds me. Good rogue, I must say. I use my PvP trinket to get out of it, but by then, I have lost valuable time to heal myself. Not to mention that the wound poison stack stayed on me. I fell, followed soon after by the warrior, as the paladin pumps out heal after another while the rogue does his stunlocking.

15 rating down the drain. I could've kicked myself.

Still, overall, we did quite well, going 7-3 again, to reach a rating of 1622.

Friday, July 6, 2007


Disclaimer: This post contains theorycrafting. Chances are, I am completely wrong but bear with me anyway. If numbers scare you, turn away now.

To simplify my analysis, I have considered the first case of paladin healing as mentioned in an earlier post (here) In each case, the player has a latency of 0 ms, and the fight lasts five minutes, the latter of which is entirely plausible.

The player spams max rank Flash of Light throughout the duration of the fight. In five minutes, he would cast 200 FoL's. With a 1% chance to crit, he would crit 2 times, and gain 216 mana from Illumination. 1 mp5 would only return 60 mana over the 5 minutes period. Before the Illumination nerf, the returns from crit would be even more: 360 mana returned.

Clearly, then, crit chance is a more useful stat, even after the illumination nerf. Question answered? Problem solved?

If only it was that simple. Now, I don't have official, or even unofficial, word on this, but it is glaringly obvious, that spell crit requires a bigger item budget than mp5. In fact, you'll rarely find an item with more than 2% chance to crit (at level 70), while even 10 mp5 is not that uncommon.

Quick reanalysis. A 2% chance to crit would only return 432 mana (on average) over 5 minutes, compared to 600 from 10 mp5. However, with the old Illumination, it'd have been 720 from crits compared to the 600 from mp5. Goes to show the harshness of the nerf.

All this is further complicated in that crits also increases your healing done, which can be significant against certain mobs (read: heroics). Add in a crit while you have Divine Illumination, and that tilts the scale again. Divine Favor does not count because it is not affected by crit chance, it is a guaranteed crit no matter what.

Ultimately, coming up with a metric to compare these 2 stats is nigh impossible. It all comes down to preference, and you much of each you have already got. If you are ending fights at 80% mana, maybe it is time to wear that Critmasters Amulet of Spell Crit, and rank up higher on the healing charts. And make sure you don't ignore Stamina or Intellect either. If you are getting one-shotted by Aran's pyroblast, you are useless no matter what.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Gold Sink

True to my expectations, I had enough arena points to buy my Merciless Gladiator's Ornamented Chestpiece today. I desperately needed a better plate chest for arenas, so needless to say, this has left me elated. Great stats, even greater look. It really accentuates my boobs.

Since I am already rocking 10k life, I decided to add some color into the sockets, and not just go with the stamina gems, which is what most people swear by for PvP, especially since it might also be my PvE chest (until I level my blacksmithing enough to make an Earthpiece Breastplate). I dished out most of my gold to get some Royal Nightseyes (9 healing and 2 mp5) and Luminous Noble Topazes (9 healing and 4 intellect) crafted. On a spree, I took the liberty of replacing the stamina gems I had in my Gladiator's Ornamented Spaulders with these as well, intending to replace the cloth shoulders I had been using for a while in PvE. In my overzealousness, I bought out a Sovereign Nightseye by mistake, which I then promptly put back on the auction house. Hopefully, no gold gets wasted there.

On top of all this, I also got the 81 healing to weapon and 35 healing to glove enchants yesterday, leaving me with a miserable 100g in my stash. Of course, a few days of daily quests, and I'll be in a respectable position again.

All this talk of gear means that it is time for a stat check. This screenshot was taken in my arena gear. You'll have to wait another day or so, until I do some theorycrafting on crit rating vs mp5 for a paladin before I finally decide on my PvE set.

Not bad, huh? 12.8k armor means that the rogues and warriors usually have a hard time getting me down before I can get off a few heals, to myself or my partner. And of course, there's always bubble to give me upto 12 seconds of unhindered healing, usually enough for my partner to wreck some serious havoc. The bonus to healing is very nice, because it allows me to keep my partner up through a mortal strike debuff, which is generally my worst nightmare.

10k life means those pesky mages have a hard time bursting me down too (my 104 resilience also helps a bit, and I'm working to increase that). The only problem I have at the moment, and I'm getting to work on it asap is a mana pool of under 10k. Sometimes when the battle becomes one of endurance, I find myself unable to sustain. Of course, this was before my latest spurt in gear, and I'm sure there will be noticeable changes.

Nice to see that gold being put to good use. =)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

OT: Transformers

Saw this yesterday. It is a very nice movie.

Sure, at times the acting is shabby (Megan Fox is particularly guilty of this). Sure, there are too many subplots, all just to lead, somewhat haphazardly, to the epic showdown between the Autobots and the Decepticons. And sure, the ending is pretty obvious right from the beginning.

But this is not why we went to watch it. That's like complaining that Scary Movie 3 did not have a plot. We went to see special effects, and that is where the movie delivers. Robots fighting each other would have been epic enough, top that off with US army technology in action (one particular scene of a dogfight involving an F-22 Raptor and other aircraft was downright orgasmic) and you have got a recipe for insta-win.

The movie also put to skilful use several popular internet memes, including 'what would Jesus do' and an implied 'get to the choppa' among others. Likewise, there is humor interspersed throughout the movie, often involving the Autobots, to add icing on top of an already delicious cake.

To put it succintly, if you are looking for a movie that will explore emotions, and take human-cyborg interaction to a whole new level, you have come to the wrong place. But for an evening of fun and nostalgia with friends, Transformers is one heckuva movie.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

On Enchants

Since the time I reached level 70, I have spent all my accumulated gold from quests (rather carelessly) on most notably, enchants and gems for my tanking gear, turn-ins for Aldor rep, and lots and lots of primal airs and waters for my Thunder.

Aside: Regarding my tanking gear, I had a bunch of guild members all hitting 70 at around the same time, and we decided to instance together and get all our heroic reputation keys covered. One of them was a priest, so I jumped at the opportunity to do something different. Tanking as a paladin (and amazing my group with feats that a warrior tank can't accomplish) was uber fun, so I quickly acquired some better gear, and got it all enchanted promptly. More on this at a later date.

The time has now come (thanks to all the daily quests netting me in excess of 120g per day) to spend some of this time to get the rest of my gear enchanted. I'm already a tremendous asset to the guild (it has been said that we could down Terestian Illhoof only because of my 2 second heals critting for more than 6k). But this is no place to stop. My goal is to have at least 1500 +healing while maintaining a 15% base crit chance with spells and around 150 mp5 while casting in my healing gear.

To that end, these are the enchants that I am aiming for by the end of this week.
- 81 healing to weapon. Spellsurge is arguably better in full caster (ideally, healer) groups on long fights, but I wanted to retain some versatility in 5 mans and PvP.
- 35 healing to glove. Finally, after months of using my Gauntlets of Renewed Hope with stamina gems and a stamina enchant (for PvP), I put Royal Nightseyes (9 healing and 2 mp5) in my other one. Time to go all the way, and get the enchant as well.
- 30 healing to bracer. Frankly, I'm not sure I want this over the 12 intellect that I already have, because I am afraid to gimp my mana pool. I'll have to check for precise numbers on this.
- 15 resilience to chest. Not a healing enchant, but I should be having the season 2 chest piece today (Merciless Gladiator's Ornamented Chestpiece) and no piece of arena gear is complete without an enchant.

That's all I can think of now. Seeing as they are primarily healing enchants, I'll be needing a lot of primal lifes. Let's just hope no one on my server decides to manipulate the economy for primal lifes just yet.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Return to Arenas

Last weekend, as most weekends are, was pretty eventful.

- Remember the 1000g I owed my warrior friend? Paid that off (took slightly longer than I'd have liked), and farmed up 500g of my own.

- Spent some of that on some Fel Armaments and Marks of Sargeras to finish up my Aldor rep grind. There really was nothing I could use at Exalted, except the improved shoulder enchants. Probably should have gone Scryer for the epic ring, but too late now.

- It took 5 stacks of adamantite bars, but my blacksmithing is now at 360. From here on, I need 6 stacks of felsteel bars to max it out. That comes to 24 stacks of eternium ore, and 36 stacks of fel iron ore. Big expenses coming up ahead.

Now for the big news!

Said warrior friend and I have joined forces in a 2v2 arena team: Death to Smoochy. We pwned a lot of faces last night, albeit with my 500 ms latency, and would probably have gone 9-1 had it not been the lag. Both of us are purely PvP specced (me 41/20, and him Deathwish/Mortal Strike) and that definitely helped too.

My last team did moderately well, but it was frustrating to partner someone who did not log on often, and consequently did not spend much time gearing himself for arenas. We were also experimenting with specs at that point, which could have also contributed to the mediocrity.

Parting words: If you are on the Vindication battlegroup, watch out for us.

Friday, June 29, 2007

On Heroics

This is a total revamp of the series of posts I made on heroics. I had started the posts with the intention of giving each heroic a rating, but by considering all the heroics one-by-one led to copious amounts of repitition, which I hated.

The basic premise is still the same. You want Badges of Justice and Primal Nethers, but you have no idea what heroic you should run. After all, there's 15 of them, and they all offer varying numbers of badges (always one nether) and take varying amounts of time to complete.

This time around, I'm going straight to the point. I will tell you which heroics offer the best returns (read: badges, nethers come at a rate of one-per heroic, from the final boss) per time spent, and the necessity to have certain classes, and you can make the decision based on the composition of the group you have at hand.

5: Auchenai Crypts

Have a priest around, and this instance becomes cake. Two, and its cake with delicious chocolate frosting. It is relatively short, and the trash mobs do not hit for obscene amounts of anything of the sort. The first boss is the only real challenge. Expect to spend about an hour for 2 badges, and some rather phat loot (warrior and paladin tanks love the shoulders).

4: Blood Furnace

This instance really deserves a higher rating, because it is a lot of fun, but the second boss event is a bit of a wet blanket, requiring precise coordination and no one with Down's Syndrome. Renewable crowd control (fear, freeze trap, polymorph) is key here. And even if you can't overcome the event, you can bug it out and fight the second boss anyway, but nothing further. For a good group (must have a warlock) you can clear this in just above an hour, getting 3 badges in the process, having a great deal of fun.

3: The Underbog

Another instance relying heavily on crowd control, this time from hunters and warlocks (on elemental-type mobs). With a good tank, and minimal melee dps (sigh, seems to be the trend these days), this becomes a very easy instance to beat. Ranged dps is never hard to find for this because the epic wand from the final boss is made of pure win. Slightly long, can take over an hour and a half to finish, but you'll be no less than 4 badges richer.

2: Slave Pens

A perennial favourite of mine because it is very short, and allows you to skip a lot of pulls. As melee friendly as it gets. The only requirement, per se, is that you have a warrior tanking to spell reflect the final boss's Acid Geyser back at him (you can even have all your dps afk, and the boss will kill himself if the spell reflect is properly executed). Very easy, can be completed in as little as 45 minutes. With 3 badges up for grabs, that amounts to 15 minutes per badge!

1: The Mechanar

This instance was Blizzard's gift to us. Why else would a heroic instance be so easy that you can complete it within an hour, with a potential of 5 badges, and some really phat warrior/priest epics. Not only that, some of the bosses are actually easier on heroic than on normal. Just make sure you bring along a warlock for the plethora of demon pulls, and have 2 AoE fears for the final boss, and you are all set to win. Big time.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Paladin Healing

I realized that while my posts on heroics have been informative to some degree, a lot of the verditcts can be generalized to don't, unless you want to. Rest assured, I will be addressing this issue shortly, probably by going straight into 'Top Five Heroics' or something to that effect.

Now, however, I want to take some time and explain paladin healing in layman's terms. I have seen a plethora of posts on forums everywhere asking for advice in this regard, but not much of said advice. Same applies to questions regarding the retribution (dps) and protection (tanking) trees. Lots of theorycrafting, no genuine advice. But one thing at a time.

Paladin healing consists of only three healing spells (by contrast, priests have at least six without talents), one of which is rather situational, and consequently seldom used.
- Flash of Light is, by far, the paladin's best heal. For a measly 180 mana at max rank, with a decent amount of plus-healing gear, you can easily pump out 2000 crits every 1.5 seconds.
- Holy Light is a potent heal, but a little expensive with its 840 mana cost at max rank. 2.5 seconds means it gets a larger coefficient from your plus-healing.
- Holy Shock is generally too expensive for the amount it heals, but it is instant which lends it limited usefulness at times when you are on the move (among others).

Now lets look at some of the healing talents that are unique to paladins. Unique in the sense that increased healing or increased crit chance is not.
- Illumination returns 60% of the base cost of the heal when it crits. With a moderatly high crit rate, and a decent amount of gear with mana-per-five-seconds, this is the talent that makes paladins such effective endurance healers.
- Light's Grace lower's the cast time of the next Holy Light after casting one. Anyone can see the win-factor in 7000 Holy Light crits every 2 seconds, when druids need 3.5 seconds for their crits of the same magnitude (roughly speaking).
- Divine Favor guarantees a crit on the next healing spell, and is generally used on Holy Light for the biggest benefit. Note that it can also be used offensively with Holy Shock.
- Divine Illumination is one of the best 41-point talents in the game (second only to earth shield, perhaps, healing-wise) lowering mana cost of all spells by 50% for 15 seconds every 3 minutes (if you spam it, as you should). If a heal cast during this time crits, you actually gain mana, because Illumination takes into account base cost.

With the skills and talents covered, let's get into the healing. From my experience, there are three kinds of healadins.
- Those that heal with their face. These paladins have every button on their keyboard binded to Flash of Light, and spam their heals by smashing their face on their keyboard. Does not sound like much, but it is surprisingly effective. Such is the nature of a paladin's heals. With the right (crit and mana-per-five) gear, you'll probably never run out of mana either.
- Those that heal like a priest. These paladins wait for the tank (or whoever requires the heal) to get adequately low on life, before firing off a large heal, much like priests. This gives the paladin some time to melee the mob which helps in keeping judgements up (judgement of wisdom can help to counter the relatively-expensive mana cost of Holy Light). However, paladin gear does not consisit of much spirit, and this priest-esque healing requires a lot of spirit. You can wear cloth, but going into melee range of a mob in cloth is generally not recommended, neither is this method of healing. You are not a priest.
- Those that heal like a paladin. Spam flash of light, but remember your other spells as well. Use Holy Light rank 4 occassionally to get the Light's Grace buff (at a much lower mana cost than your max rank Holy Light) which is always handy in case someone receives a damage spike that requires a large 2-second heal. If you mob does not have any nasty cleaves, by all means, stay in melee range and keep those judgements up. If you ever have to move, Holy Shock can be your friend. And try to spam Divine Favor and Divine Illumination whenever they're up to stay on top of your mana pool.

If done well, healadins can easily heal through heroics and the like. We can also be mainhealers in raids in the absence of priests, but the utility priests provide (shackle, PW: shield, prayer of mending et al) is hard to ignore. In raids, ultimately, we exist to make a priest's job easier, a lot easier. Never feel inferior to a priest, though. Chances are, he's probably jealous of you: your mana-efficiency, plate armor, and not to mention a Godlike 41-point talent, when all they have is Circle of Healing.

Friday, June 22, 2007

On Flying Mounts

Mounts are a necessity in WoW. The boost in speed afforded by mounts not only enables you to level faster (reduced travel times), it also makes your character that much more fun to play. And this has been true for all levels of mounts, from the first skeletal horse I had at level 40, to the epic flying windrider I recently bought.

The main issue at hand, then, is the cost of riding these beasts. Even the most extravagant spender should be able to save enough money by level 70 (from quest rewards, if not anything else) to buy up to the non-epic flying mount). Thus, today's post will focus on the cost and value of the next 'level' mount - the epic flying windrider.

First off, the flying mount makes certain quests where you have to bomb targets while being chased by birds and/or enemy bombs very easy as you can easily outfly the dangers. However, with a latency of around 16000 ms (strange things were happening yesterday), by the time the bomb is launched 16 seconds later after you issued the command, you can be too far away from the target resulting in 'too far away' messages. But then again, who plays with 16000 latency?!! I too had to stop after 20 minutes of madness.

Second, having the 300 riding skill (mastering the ways of flying) opens up an entire series of daily quests with the Netherwing faction offering the possibility of a lot of gold (over time, enough to compensate for the cost of the mount) and a Netherdrake mount once you reach exalted. We're talking freaking ethereal dragons, man.

Third, it looks badass. And being faster than the flight paths has its own charm, and over time, saves more gold than you'd imagine.

However, all this comes with a price tag of 5000g. To someone who has not played WoW since the advent of BC, this might seem like an exorbitant amount, and indeed it is, but nothing quite like what it meant pre-BC. Just by completing quests after hitting 70, I easily accumulated around 2500g, and the rest took 2 months of not-so-dedicated farming. Hardcore farmers in my guild got their epic mounts within a week, and by the next, started loaning out gold to help others get their mounts.

Ok, so you are a good farmer, or you were just fortuitous with rare Bind of Equip drops that you then sold to other players for heaps of gold. Here's the bottom line on why you should then spend all that gold on the epic flier, instead of better gear and/or enchants. Because once you have the epic flier, you will make gold at an even faster rate, that you can then spend on those luxuries without having a slightest nagging feeling at the back of your mind that you should save up for a mount instead.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Morglue Is Still Retarded

Last night, I ventured out to Terokkar forest, and noticed that Gorefiend horde actually managed to have the pvp buff that allows one to collect spirit shards from the bosses in Auchindoun. Consequently, I put my name down in the Looking For Group channel for Shadow Labyrinth, and went about doing my daily quests.

Then I noticed that a group was looking for just one more (and a healer at that) for Heroic Mana Tombs. Not one to miss an opportunity to collect Badges of Justice and spirit shards, I decided to join despite the warning bells that were sounding in my head seeing the warrior's name: Morglue.

I had grouped with this guy back when my rogue was in the early 30s, and he was hated by mostly everyone of a similar level, in that he'd just randomly invite you to groups without asking. To top that off, he was a bad tank too.

Still, I am all for second chances, especially if it benefits me in some way too, so I just confirmed if he had shadow resist gear (the first boss's melee hits do shadow damage, so shadow resist is absolutely essential) and he mumbled some affirmative reply. Later, we discovered he had none, and was counting on my Shadow Resist Aura for the meagre resist it provides. We even tried to have a warlock with Shadow Resist tank the boss (what with Shadow Ward and all) but that did not work out because the Morglue would pull aggro still, and then run around the whole room, go out of line of sight for heals, and lots of other retarded crap.

Bottom line, Morglue is still retarded.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

An Eventful Weekend

First, a list of all that happened last weekend. You'll notice a lot of finallys in this section as I had been pursuing these goals for a very long time. I'll go into more detail into each of these points as the week progresses.

- After weeks of hardcore farming, followed by months of not-so-hardcore farming, I finally have an epic flying mount. The final 1000g was courtesy of a friend, and prompted another round of hardcore farming so I can pay him back asap. Needless to say, I instantly fell in love with my Swift Purple Windrider.

- The same friend (warrior) and I finally got to Exalted reputation with the Sha'tar in a heroic Mechanar run. He got his shield, and I got my Gavel of Pure Light. In the same run, the final boss, Panthaleaon the Calculator finally dropped my retribution DPS leggings: Vanquisher's Legplates. It had always been Boots of the Pious before this (the Calculator is supposed to be a great boss to kill in that I can use every epic he drops, but it defeats the point when only one keeps dropping over and over again).

- The same friend, and another warrior friend (it's awesome to have warrior friends when you are a healer), and 2 others finally finished some backlogged 5-man group quests in Shadowmoon Valley. No sweet rewards or anything, but the 1000 rep per quest (with Sha'tar and Aldor respectively) was nice.

- I have now come within one Shadow Labyrinth run from getting the 50 spirit shards for a Seal of the Exorcist. Just need Gorefiend Horde to get the buff sometime now.

Due to all these exciting things happening, I could not get the daily quests done daily, and thus lost some gold I could have potentially earned. But can't win them all, I guess.

That's all for now. Coming up tomorrow: why flying mounts are worth the gold. And durability issues in the late/end game.

Friday, June 15, 2007

In Ogre Heaven

My second post will set the tone for all posts to come in this blog. There will be no more intellectual, one-word titles (usually) and no fancy quotes to begin with. Most importantly, this blog will be about my escapades in WoW, and occasionally, DotA, two of my favorite games among the plethora that I play. From time to time, I will include tales from real life, mine and others, and excerpts from articles that strike me as significant, potentially life-changing, or (in most cases) just funny. So, without further ado...

Last night, my paladin finally (I'd been stuck for three weeks at a point in the chain) completed the group quests required to start gaining reputation with Ogri'la - a new faction of wizened ogres who have given up their brutalistic nature. Very high up in western Blade's Edge Mountains, it requires a flying mount to access, and the other (still warlike) ogres call it Ogre Heaven. I can now start grinding my way towards being Exalted with Ogri'la for some pretty sweet epic rewards, and the new daily quests offered by these enlightened ogres (and certain Sha'tari Skyguard quests as well) will allow me to quickly accumulate (I'm estimating another three weeks) the further 1100 or so gold I still need for my epic flying mount.

As a thanks for reading my blog today, let me offer you this piece of advice. Do not watch Ocean's Thirteen. Even if you are the most hardcore George Clooney fan, it is simply not worth it. Good Night and Good Luck for the sixteenth time is still better. Even Matt Damon's legendary Chinese skills, way better than Alec Baldwin's 'wo shu yee ge mei guo ren' (this is not Pinyin, this is how he pronounced it) still does not go far enough to save the movie. Besides, just wait a day or two, and you'll find it on YouTube anyway.



"Let's start at the very beginning,
A very good place to start."
-Maria, Sound of Music

I am currently working a full time job (internship, really), which has left me pretty busy in terms of hours. The job itself does not entail too much on my part, and at times, it can be a real drag. Last week, I acquired access to a computer, which has alleviated the boredom somewhat, but most of the sites I usually 'entertain' myself with are blocked by company policy, understandably.

In all my Google searches to find something that appeals to me, yet is not blocked, I found myself reading a WoW blog (I was pretty impressed by the level of eloquence from a group of people whom I had only associated with 'LOL I PWN JOO NOOB' so far), and I thought to myself, 'Why not?' And here we are.

I will probably be updating this pretty regularly, whenever I'm getting bored out of my socks here at work. Weekends and holidays will be a whole new story, what with all the catching up I'll have to do. Saving those weekend anectodes for the forthcoming week will also provide more hours of less boredom.

This concludes my first update on my first real blog.