Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Alliance vs. Horde?

The age old question. We've all heard the arguments: 'Alliance are all 9 year olds who don't take the game seriously.', 'Horde are 40 year old assholes who have nothing better to do.'. Personally, I've given up on this particular debacle. I have, however, noticed a trend in the individuals who persist with the bashing of the opposite faction.

Generally, players of a lower level, or who have less experience in the game are far more impassioned with their faction. There are a few reasons for this, at least in my opinion. The first being a lack of exposure to the opposing faction. At level 70, I find I have far too much free time, time spent trolling our realm forums. By reading the different posts made by both horde and alliance, one begins to realize that there is a fact a person behind the undead rogue who just ganked you, cannabalized you, and hearthed in the time it took you to get on your main (Yes, I'm bitter. You know who you are!). Maybe they really are a remorseless jerk, but often times they are a logical human being, capable of organized thought and witty banter.

All the while leveling, and even now, there are random level ones in major cities, spamming trade chat in the form of claiming allies should all quit and kill themselves because they're terrible, and horde is so obviously better. I have to wonder if they really think this is a good idea. Suppose that everyone who played alliance suddenly quit and rerolled horde. PvP would be virtually eliminated. There would be no battlegrounds, only arena, and PvP servers would be an oxymoron. Without variety, the game would fail. Blizzard caters to all types of players, both hardcore and casual, both alliance and horde.

Assumptions made about both factions also don't do a thing to help the animosity. Honestly, all of the assumptions made about one faction can be turned around and made about the accuser. I play alliance, and yet, *GASP* I am actually not a nine year old child with a mental deficiency! At 18, I am considered a baby in my guild, most of whom are in their early to mid twenties. Sure, people have moments of immaturity. You'll find that in any player. But it's not recurring, and it's not constant. On the flip side, I've only met one horde with whom I had a serious conflict, and it had nothing to do with the fact that they played horde. The assumption here is that they are all 40 year old virgins, when in fact, I've never met a horde over the age of 30. Of the people I have met, they are reasonable people. Sure, being on a PvP server, I am ganked all the freaking time, but it's the risk I take for having rolled on one. In fact, many of the players that I have met, on both factions, are either my age, or within 5 years of it.

The reason I bring this subject up is because of something that transpired between a real life friend and myself. Upon discovering that she played WoW as well, I asked her what characters she played. At this pont, she had become aware that I played alliance. She told me that her main was an undead hunter (...), and promptly scolded my choice of playing alliance, claiming that in order to take the game seriously, you must play horde. The irony was almost palpable. I responded, halfheartedly, that when I started playing I didn't want to play a skeleton or a cow, so I played alliance. I then changed the subject, so as to avoid further conflict, but there was a nagging in my mind.

My cousin, the paladin with whom I leveled, after playing alliance for a number of months, rolled a tauren shaman to play with my brother, who had recently started playing. I decided to ask him about the differences, of which he said was a moot point. There is immaturity where ever you go. There will always be a Chuck Norris joke, a 'your mom' joke, or the newly instated 'ANAL: [link of an ability or item]'. It doesn't matter what faction you play on, it's going to be there.

The point being that we're all gamers. We all have a level of immaturity, but there is reason and logic as well. Factions don't really make a difference.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Itemization; Stats for Priests

Two weeks ago, while clearing the trash in Sunwell Plateau to reach Kalecgos, a tailoring pattern dropped that I had been waiting for since patch 2.4 was released. Pattern: Robe of Eternal Light dropped, and if you ask my guild members what they heard next, they would answer with high pitched squealing and, 'did she just have a heart attack?'. For whatever reason, the other priest in the raid didn't want to roll on them, so they were looted to me. Over the next 24 hours I farmed out the mats for the primal mooncloth, and had the robes the next day. There are, however, a few issues I have with the robes.

1. There is a very significant lack of Spirit on them. Spirit, as I am sure I have mentioned before, is key for both +healing, and mana regen for priests. I'll take Spirit where ever I can get it, so obviously I was a little uncertain.

2. I would be losing my Tier 6 four piece set bonus, and while the two set bonus is almost laughable, the number of times that I use greater heal rank 1 (they're taking away downranking, *sob*) during raids is absurd, and losing the extra 5% is taking an unnecessary hit.

So, after gemming it with two 11healing/5spirit gems and a 10spirit gem, and enchanting it with 15spirit, I set it aside, keeping the set bonus.

The next week, the Bracers of the Fallen Conqueror dropped, and I was allowed to roll. Winning the roll, I promptly gemmed, enchanted, and equipped. I compared the robes again, this time keeping the set bonus.

However, I was still torn. While I was gaining +healing and mp5, the bonus was minimal, and I was losing significant spirit, and some stamina.

On the other hand, there is 40 spell haste rating on the robes, which is very tempting.

Unsure of what to do, I posted on the priest forums. There was an overwhelming response in the direction of wearing the new robes, and I began to realize what the real idea of Sunwell gear is about.

With the addition of Tier 6 belt, boots, and bracers, people are better to swap in other gear to replace tier 6, without losing set bonuses. Granted, a lot of people have already discovered this, but I was pretty excited about it! Because honestly, the tier 6 bracers for holy priests aren't godly. Bracers of Martyrdom , with the extra spirit are actually better, in my opinion. But in comparison to having the new robes/bracer combination, they are not better.

This could just be ramblings from someone who's behind on realization, but I thought it was interesting all the same. Here: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=10538135128&postId=104136086816&sid=1#0 is the link to the post where I pleaded for help from my fellow priests. There were some interesting responses, from some knowledgeable people.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Priest Races

When you roll a priest, you've chosen one of the most unique classes in the game. When you choose a priest, you are the only class that gets a race specific spell, in addition to the racial benefits of the class. So which race is best for the faction you're sided with? I can't make that decision for you, but I can explain the mechanics of them.


The draenei racials, to begin with, are rather enticing if you are looking to heal, or dps, as a priest. The most notable spell being Gift of the Naaru, which is an extra HOT that you can put on the tank, mana free; it even scales with your plus healing. All draenei also have the Inspiring/Heroic presence, which increases your party members' chance to hit with either spells (if you're a caster class, or an enhancement shaman), or melee/ranged physical abilities. They also have increased shadow resistance, which is very helpful in Black Temple, and increased gemcutting skill.

Priest racials for the draenei class include some interesting spells.
  • Symbol of Hope: Greatly increases the morale of your party members, restoring 33 mana every five seconds, for 15 seconds, on a 5 minute cooldown. At level 70, this effect scales to 333 mana every five seconds. This can be a life saving ability in some situations; definitely something to think about when rolling a priest.
  • Chastise: Chastise the target, causing 47-53 holy damage, and incapacitates them for up to 2 seconds. Any damage will cause the effect to cease. It only works on Humanoids, and causes low threat. Eh, this is alright, but honestly, in a raid situation this is useless. Even in PvP, two seconds is not a very long time, and it can be trinketed out of.

What used to be the main pull of rolling a Dwarf priest was the fact that they were the only race that had the spell Fear Ward. Now, however, all priests can train the ability, so the dwarfly allure is gone. However, they still have the unique Stoneform, which removes all bleed, poison, and disease effects, as well as making the Dwarf immune to these effects for 8 seconds. Also increases armor by 10%, on a 3 minute cooldown. Good for PvP, but I've yet to encounter a situation in a raid where it is necessary for a priest to utilize this specific ability. Especially since Paladins are usually in a tournament amongst themselves to see who can cleanse the fastest. Dwarves also have their frost resistance increased by 10. While not particularly useful in BC, icy Northrend seems a viable area to make use of this. They also have the ability to find treasure on the minimap. This is more of a vanity ability; not inclusively beneficial to priests.

  • Desperate Prayer: Instantly heals the priest for 134-170, on a 10 minute cooldown. At level 70, it scales to 1637-1924. While this may have been a worthwhile trait in a dwarf or human before, it is being added as a priest talent in Wrath. Therefore, I wouldn't use this as a basis for rolling a dwarf priest. Also being on a ten minute cooldown makes it a little tricksy. I myself know that in waiting for the right moment to hit this spell, I would probably miss it, and die.
  • Chastise: Chastise the target, causing 47-53 holy damage, and incapacitates them for up to 2 seconds. Any damage will cause the effect to cease. It only works on Humanoids, and causes low threat. Exactly the same as the Draenei spell.

The first to note if you plan to roll a human priest is the extra 10% bonus spirit. This, straight up, is a reason to roll the race as a priest. The benefit that priests receive from spirit has been increased exponentially as of patch 2.4. Granted, the 10% is being reduced to 5% in the expansion, but any bonus is key in my book. This 5% will stack with stat increases buffs/elixirs/flasks, making it even more beneficial. The second most important racial ability, in my book, is the Diplomacy factor. Humans receive 10% extra reputation in all situations that involve reputation gain. This may not seem important at lower levels, but when you're stuck in Zangarmarsh, repeating the same quests over and over, all for the love of a sporebat non-combat pet, you'll be glad you picked a human. Humans also receive increased mace and sword skill, but unless you plan on being a melee priest, this isn't important in the least. The last racial I'll mention is the Perception spell. As of right now, activating this spell will greatly increase your stealth detection for 20 seconds, on a 3 minute cooldown. This is an incredible PvP ability, however, come Wrath they are removing it, instead granting humans a passive increase in stealth detection.
  • Desperate Prayer: Instantly heals the priest for 134-170, on a 10 minute cooldown. At level 70, it scales to 1637-1924. Same as dwarves.
  • Feedback: This spell surrounds the priest with anti-magic energy, causing any succesful spellcast against the priest to burn 18 of the attacker's mana, 165 at level 70, and cause 1 shadow damage per mana burned over 25 seconds. While this sounds like an exciting PvP ability, it is virtually useless in a PvE situation.
Night Elf

Ah, the Night Elf priest. Often mocked for it's racials, it is the only priest race in the game that, according to lore, doesn't follow the path of the Light. Rather, Night Elven priests worship the moon goddess Elune, calling upon her blessings to aid themselves and allies. Yes, I'm a lore freak. And I had to justify myself for rolling a Night Elf priest by saying something other than, 'but they're pretty!'. Anyway, onto the racials! Night Elves receive an additional 1% chance to dodge. I know this seems silly, but I do oftentimes dodge attacks from major bosses, sometimes even enemy players, giving me an extra chance to get off a heal, or for a Paladin to be nice and DI me. The second is the ability to shadowmeld. While right now this ability is practically useless, in the expansion, it will enable the Night Elf to become invisible, even while in combat, reduces their threat. I have a feeling it will become very important for most dps classes that are Night Elves, and even healers in some situations. Upon death, Night Elves become a wisp spirit, able to travel 50% faster than their slowpoke allies running in their normal body. This is kind of useless, and, in my opinion, should be a widespread ability, but meh. It's still fun :B Night Elves also have 10 extra resistance to Nature damage. At this point, I can't really think of where this is useful... unless of course you're the nature resist tank for Hydross the Unstable.

  • Starshards: Rains starshards down on the enemy target's head, causing 60 (785 at 70) arcane damage over 15 seconds, on a 30 second cooldown. I have mixed feelings about starshards. On the upside, it costs absolutely zero mana. For a shadow priest, any extra damage is helpful, I'm sure, but as a holy priest, I rarely use this. Usually if I'm bored, or soloing, or both. Or in the second phase of Reliquary of Souls and everyone is OOM. I love the animation, too. So pretty. But really, not very useful in a raid situation. PvP it can be useful, but is easily dispelled and doesn't do much damage.
  • Elune's Grace: Reduces the chance that you'll be hit by melee and ranged attacks by 20% for 15 seconds. This is a situational thing. In PvE, it is rarely useful, because honestly, if you're being directly attacked by a mob there is a very small chance that, as a priest, you will live through the first hit. I like to use it when targetted for the Fel Enrage on Gurtogg Bloodboil, as it works the same, only less effectively, as a rogue's evasion. In PvP I would imagine that if you remember to activate it, it could be quite useful.


Blood Elf

The Blood Elf racials, because their race is based around the use and consumption of mana, generally revolve around mana. Their first racial is called mana tap. When activated, the Blood Elf reduces their target's mana by (50, +level) and charge you with arcane energy for ten minutes, and stacks up to 3 times. This is one of the only racials that depends on another, separate racial ability to be fully operational. It's counterpart is called Arcane Torrent. This ability silences all of your enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds, and, depending on how many mana tap charges are currently affecting you, you gain mana back, on a 2 minute cooldown. While immensely useful in PvP (I can't tell you how many times I've been silenced mid-heal...), the only use that I can possibly think of in a PvE situation would be to load up a boss with three of the debuffs, and try to get some mana back throughout the fight. Blood Elves also have 10 extra enchanting skill points (often a profession chosen by priests), and all resistances increased by 5.

  • Touch of Weakness: The next melee attack against the caster will cause 8 (80) shadow damage and reduce damage done by the attacker by 2 (35) for 2 minutes. Um. Okay. I guess this can be kind of useful in PvP, but 35 really isn't a considerable number to reduce damage by. And if you're in a raid or heroic situation, you'll be dead on the first swing.
  • Consume Magic: Dispels one beneficial Magic effect from themself and grants them 120 to 154 mana. The dispelled effect must be a priest spell. 2 minutes cooldown. This is an interesting spell. I suppose if you're extremely hard pressed for mana it can be useful, but in arena, if you're against another priest, or a lock or shaman, you rarely have any buffs left by the time you're out of mana. If you're in a raid situation this might be interesting, but you have to be careful; if you dispel fortitude, or shadow protection in certain situations, it could mean your death.

The first Undead racial is Will of the Forsaken. This is a very good overall racial. In PvP, if you're sheeped and a team mate is being obliterated, you can use this, and then trinket out of the next one. Plus, it's only on a two minute cooldown. In a PvE situation, it can be useful in the Archimonde fight, or even Nightbane in Karazhan. The second ability is Cannibalize. First off, ew >.<> Undead also have a 300% increase to their underwater breathing, which is kind of like the Night Elf wisp racial; situationally useful, but not really beneficial to any specific class.

  • Touch of Weakness: The next melee attack against the caster will cause 8 (80) shadow damage and reduce damage done by the attacker by 2 (35) for 2 minutes. Same as Blood Elves.
  • Devouring Plague: Afflicts the target with a disease that causes 152 (1216) Shadow damage over 24 seconds. Damage caused by the Devouring Plague heals the caster. This could be a very useful spell in both PvE and PvP situations. Especially if you're a shadow priest, and can't afford to shift out of Shadowform, but still need a heal.

Beserking is the first racial granted to trolls. When activated, it increases your attack speed/casting speed by 10%, or more if you are lower on health. It's on a 3 minute cooldown. This is a really cool racial, in my opinion, but for priests, more useful in PvP than PvE. The reason being that if you are on low health in a raid situation, you're probably not going to be able to pop this racial and heal up before you're facedown on the floor. This could be an incredibly racial for other classes, and even shadowpriests if timed correctly. Their second racial is Regeneration, allowing Trolls to regenerate 10% more health inside and outside of combat. This is a pretty good racial, depending on your class. I suppose it doesn't hurt, though. Trolls also cause 5% extra damage when fighting against beasts. As a holy priest, meh, but as any other class/spec this could be very nice, especially in the days of ZG and other animal based bosses. In addition to these, Trolls have extra critical chance when using a thrown weapon, or a bow. Useless for a priest, but nice for a warrior, rogue, or hunter.

  • Hex of Weakness: Weakens the target enemy, reducing damage caused by 2 and reduces effectiveness of healing spells by 20% for 2 minutes. Really, really nice for PvP. Or so I would imagine. To be honest, I don't think I've ever encounted a Troll priest >.> But I would imagine this would be very useful. With a DPS warrior in a raid who is MS specced, I doubt this would be very useful in a raid, especially if you're spamming heals, but it could be interesting to play around with.
  • Shadowguard: The caster is surrounded by shadows. When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, the attacker will be struck for 20 (130) Shadow damage. Attackers can only be damaged once every few seconds. This damage causes no threat. 3 charges. Lasts 10 min. This reminds me quite vividly of the shaman spell, Lightning Shield. It could be useful for soloing, maybe a little PvP, but it doesn't seem terribly important. Perhaps it's situational.

A lot of things to think about, I know, but remember that priests are the only class that have specific racials! Exciting! If you are planning to play Alliance, my recommendation would be to roll a Human, even if they are getting the teensiest of nerfs in the expansion. The extra 5% spirit is too delicious to resist. The main reason I didn't roll a Human is because I play a Human... I mean... am... a Human in real life; I didn't want to play one in a game too. I was disappointed with my choice in a Night Elf after learning the other racials, but have come to love the lore aspects.

As for Horde, after really looking through the racials, I would say Forsaken as the first choice, then Blood Elf. Forsaken mostly because of the all-over racials. Even if they look a bit... off. And Blood Elves have the mana regen, sort of, ability, which could be fun.

Hope this has been helpful. Have fun with your priests! :D

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oh, hello.

So I suppose a good introduction to a blog starts with an introduction to the author, huh? I'll give it a try.

You can call me Belle, and my character is a level 70, holy, Night Elf priest, who answers to the name of Bellezza. Having been holy since being able to choose talent points at level 10, it's been an interesting road.

Let me start by saying that my beloved priest was not, in fact, my first character. The first character I ever rolled was a Night Elf hunter, named Nalie. However, if you weren't already aware, hunters are incredibly difficult to figure out, especially if you're totally new to the game. Unless of course it's just me, which is completely possible >.>

Anyway, my computer broke a few weeks after I rolled my hunter, and I didn't bother getting it fixed for a few months. At this point I was in no way addicted to the game.

This all changed in the summer of 2007.

I did a little research on the game, read the guides, looked at different blogs, and decided that what I really wanted to do was heal. I thought it would be exciting, and unlike anything I had previously experienced in an RPG. Granted, my only other RPG experience was about a week of addiction to Diablo 2, but still!

After some consideration, I picked a priest as the class I was going to play. I also picked a Night Elf. Why? One might ask. They are the least priest-friendly. Well, they are pretty. I am a human in real life! Why would I want to play one in a game!? And dwarves... eh... and, at the time, I wasn't digging the whole tails 'n hooves deal. And, no offense, I totally didn't want to run around with a bunch of cows and skeletons. So Night Elf it was!

I leveled... slowly. My cousin rolled a paladin and decided to spec protection to level, so our basic strategy was for him to run in the middle of all the quest mobs, wrangle them all up, and slowly, ever so slowly, tank them all down while I healed him. Anyway, I finally hit 70 in December, and was immediately thrust into my first raiding guild: Snakes on a Raid.

After a good few months of raiding Kara, I was ready for more. I transferred to the Dark Iron server and was accepted until to the guild Varsity Cheerleaders. However, at this point, the memorable patch 2.4 had already been released, and after hoarding my badges, I carefully spent them on worthy upgrades. Therefore, I was, apparently, tier 6 viable.

I saw in trade chat that the guild Kind of a Big Deal had a spot open for a holy priest, so I decided to put an application in. After two very stressful trial runs, I was accepted, and have been with them ever since :D

Now, you may have noticed that this kind little tale did not detail any pvp experiences, even though I've always been on a pvp server. This is because, well, flat out, I'm terrible at pvp. Usually, I would just stand there while some angry horde beat on me, and let him kill me, giving him a /wave while he danced underneath my Spirit of Redemption. I didn't do my first BG until level 66, and I have less than 2000 Honorable Kills, and I am a veritable faliure at anything pertaining to Arena/Battlegrounds. However, I will do my research as I see fit for information relating to priest pvp, simply for the sake of this blog.

Something interesting to note about this particular blog post is that the bulk of it is being written while my guild (and I) is in Black Temple. We've just downed Teron Gorefiend, and are lining up to pull the trash to Reliquary of Souls.

Here's something to think about: I'm vaguely considering posting basic priest healing strategies for various endgame boss fights, but the impending expansion is making it a difficult aspect to approach.

Anyway! I don't want to bore everyone to death on the first post ^_^. Thanks for reading! I'll try to make helpful and interesting posts as often as I can.