Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Attempt at PvP

So, while I initially expressed my extreme dislike at anything at all related to PvP, I have to say... I have changed my mind. Let me explain.

What started this whole bit was my (horde) friend telling me that his guild, has a 'if it's red, it's dead' policy for anyone they spot in world PvP, and that they are going to strictly implement this while leveling in Wrath. My first reaction? GREAT. Not only do I level slowly to begin with, but if I'm getting ganked every other step I take, I'm never going to hit 80!

The solution? I decided that I needed some practice in the field, and maybe get some gear with resilience to level with. Some friends of mine; Iliana, Aegus, and Marilyn, all of whom are infinitely better at this whole PvP thing than I am, were doing some BGs already, and offered to let me come.

At first, I tried to heal in BGs as holy. This, my friends, was not fun. At all. Not only was I being torn apart based on gear (I have 34 resil! That isn't enough?), but I had no defense; i.e. pain suppression, reflective shield, lessened mass dispel cast times, etc. After one BG, I went to the priest trainer and respecced. I was kind of making it up as I went, but this is what I came up with. Please note that this is strictly a Battleground spec, and I wouldn't use it for arenas.

After respeccing and trying again, I noticed a significant difference in survivability. In fact, after gaining a little confidence, I was able to 1v1 other players of decent pvp gear and somewhat equal skill (which isn't saying much).

Some things I recommend:

1. Keep Power Word: Shield up on (especially) you, and your friends as often as possible. If you don't have a shield on yourself, at least, you're going to be ripped apart rather quickly. Having the shield and prayer of mending up on yourself gives you a second to start casting a big heal in the time that it takes for whoever is attacking you (mostly melee more than anyone else, I noticed) to break the shield down. Hopefully someone is working to defend you (<3 Aegus), and you can manage to stay up while you're being beat on.

2. Stay mobile. Don't be a sitting duck! You'll piss off more melee this way, and you can trigger the 'Target must be in front of you' for casters. This is the glory of a priest's versatility. Shield, PoM, renew, and started movin'. If you have a rogue, warrior, shaman, or all three with you, there's an excellent chance whomever is attacking you will be poisoned, hamstrung, or earthbound, but if you're just standing there, you're going to be eaten alive.

3. Note: This ONLY applies if you're a Night Elf! (rawr). If you're being targeted by a pet of any kind, whether it be hunter, warlock, or even a shadowfiend, you can now use SHADOWMELD (!) and it will automatically remove you from combat, and, therefore, drop you as a target. Why is this important? When you are removed as a target, the pet in question will run back to it's owner and leave you alone. What I've been noticing is that many warlocks and hunters will sic their pet on a healer and start nuking someone else. Therefore, it will generally take them a second to realize their pet is either a. doing nothing, or b. attacking whomever they are attacking, and not the intended target. This may only grant you a bit of time, but it's definitely helpful if you're being silenced/poisoned/annoyed.

4. If you're doing Battlegrounds with some friends, convert to a raid before you queue up, and give each other raid marks. As a healer this is really helpful, because you can see where the people who matter are through buildings/hills. It's also helpful if you're hesitant about running into help one or two allies against a group of horde. If you know your friend is in there, you're gonna want to go in and help.

5. Try to remember to equip your PvP trinket, and if you don't have one, I seriously recommend getting one. Try to get the two minute one, as well, as it only costs about 8k honor. The trinket is highly useful in PvP situations, but also in PvE situations, so it's definitely a worthwhile investment.

Some spells to focus:

Prayer of mending, and flash heal are going to be your main direct healing spells, with power word: shield as a primary spell always. I've also found binding heal to be invaluable as well, and greater heal if you are specced into Divine Fury, and especially if you have some haste going on. Renew is semi useful, but your GCD is generally better used on a flash heal, as renew doesn't tick for as high as a PvE priest, and if your target needs fast heals, renew probably won't tick before they die.

Anyway, I've been having a surprisingly fun time learning this stuff. If you have any suggestions/comments/questions on anything I've posted, please leave a comment, or e-mail me at

Thanks for reading ^_^

Thursday, October 23, 2008

3.0 and Achievement Madness

First off, I'd like to apologize for the significant lack of updates in the past few weeks. Midterms have really been kicking my butt lately, not to mention the overwhelming new achievement system. So where to begin?


In a previous post, I explained some of the talent specs I was throwing around. The spec I ultimately decided upon was this one. I sacrificed Guardian Spirit for Meditation. I was reluctant at first, but it was a very good decision in the long run. More on this later.

Some things I've noticed:

Critical chance seems to be just as important as I'd previously assumed. Almost everytime I crit off of a heal, something procs. Whether it be Surge of Light (my favorite new talent, hands down), Holy Concentration, or Improved Holy Concentration, it's almost guaranteed that some sort of red text will pop up on my screen dictating what my next spell should be.

Surge of Light: This talent used to only apply to mana free, instant cast smite bombs, but as of patch 3.0, it now also applies to instant cast, mana free FLASH HEAL. Yes, you read that correctly. This is a wonderful change, especially if you're trying to pad the healing meters ;) You're able to get that quick heal on someone who took a bunch of damage, before another healer can even finish their cast. It's also great for regenerating some mana, although I'm not sure if the 5 second rule is still in effect because of the changes to mana regeneration. I'll be sure to get some research done on that and perhaps have a post dedicated to it.

Holy Concentration/Improved Holy Concentration: If you spec into both, you have a 45% chance to proc both a mana free cast, and two 30% faster casting spells. This helps with mana regen, and quicker heals on tanks. A win/win situation. There's really no reason for you NOT to spec into this.

Mana regeneration as of 3.0, is, to put it quite plainly, painful. Granted, my guild doesn't run with either a shadow priest or a ret paladin, or even a survival hunter for goodness sake (/sigh), but even so, I could still potentially see myself having mana problems. What with the loss of downranking, and with the addition of the 'potion sickness' debuff, it's really difficult to keep mana, and raid members, up. Some things I suggest: don't wait until the last minute to use a mana potion. I know it's worrying to use a mana potion at the beginning of a fight, but really, using one when you're out of mana is almost useless. Try to start off with using a shadowfiend, too, because if you use it early in the fight, there's a better chance that the cooldown will complete before the fight is over, giving you some extra mana towards the end of the fight, when you could potentially be out of mana.

Also, do your best to practice canceling spells mid-cast if someone heals your target before you do. Granted, if you are specced into Serendipity you gain some mana back, but it's only 25% of the spells cost, and any time you can avoid spending mana is preferable.

Another thing to consider: Circle of Healing is obscenely overpowered now that it has a 'smart' heal effect. What this means is that instead of only healing your target's party, some of whom may or may not need a heal, it heals your target, and four other people near your target who DO need a heal. So, if you're targeting a tank and hit circle of healing, it's going to heal the tank and then perhaps hit four melee who may have been taking some AOE damage. Basically, Circle of Healing is going to search for the people who need the healing the most in it's radius, and heal them over someone who doesn't need the heal. This is GLORIOUS. Every time I hit Circle of Healing, it heals for about 6000, and all to people who need it. This results in not ONLY a more effective and worthwhile spell, but also owns the healing meters. Three of our top four healers in Sunwell were Circle of Healing priests, the other being a Wild Growth spamming druid.

Now, enough of silly talents, lets talk achievements.

What a way to bring people back to the game. I have seen more people on consistently in the past week than I have in, well, forever. Exploring, doing quests, finishing dungeons, raiding classic instances, searching for pets, grinding rep, leveling skills and professions; you name it, chances are someone is doing it. Some achievements I've been focusing on have been the exploration and reputation specific achievements. In fact I am now Bellezza, Guardian of Cenarius. If you are looking to get this title, you need to be exalted with the Cenarion Circle and the Cenarion Expedition. I was already exalted with the Expedition, so Circle was the only one left. Not too bad, I thought. I looked at my current reputation: Neutral. Lovely.

Off to Silithus!

This is how I spent my Sunday: Grinding Twilight Cultists. All day. Literally. Getting Cowls, Robes, Shoulders, summoning elementals, killing ?? bosses that you needed twenty people to kill at level 60, and turning in texts. And bugs. Oh, lots of bugs. However, it paid off in the end. Special thanks to my friends Iliana and Aegus for helping me :)

For those of you reading this, thank you. If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at

Also, /cry for the loss of Starshards and other priest racials. You will be sorely missed. This is a travesty for priests everywhere.

Monday, October 6, 2008

3.0 Priest Talents

I'm not one of those people who spends all of their waking hours on the Player Test Realm, tinkering with specs, working out mechanics, reporting bugs, owning Sunwell. I do, however, enjoy going to WoWhead and messing around with the talent trees they've posted. Some of my more recent discoveries have been cause for extended thought.

When the Wrath talent trees were initially released, there were some talents in the priest tree that were easily overlooked in favor of more beneficial talents. "Serendipity", for example. If your spell healed the target for less than half of it's intended effect, you were refunded 25% of the mana spent. The situational factor of this spell made it basically null and void unless you were doing a fight like Anetheron. Even then, in my opinion, it's not worth the talent points. So, I skipped over it and happily spent my valuable points elsewhere.

A few days ago, I decided to check up on things with regards to the talent trees. 2/2 Healing Focus, 3/3 Improved Renew, okay, things are looking good. Then I skip down to where Serendipity had been, only to find it had been changed. If you spell heals the target past their maximum health, you are refunded 25% of the mana it cost. Hold on. Wait a second.

Really? That's amazing! Everytime I overheal, I get mana back?


However excited I was about this, I was initially a little torn between the new and improved Serendipity, and the talent called Test of Faith. Test of Faith increases healing and spell critical chance by 6% on targets at or below 50% health.

When 3.0 comes out, and I'm still at level 70, I'm well aware that I won't be able to spec into Guardian Spirit immediately. The 30% of mana regeneration while casting that comes from the discipline talent Meditation is too valuable to lose. I will be able to go down far enough into the holy tree to get either Serendipity or Test of Faith.

With the newfound importance of crit chance, Test of Faith seems like something interesting to toy around with. However, I think that Serendipity will be altogether more beneficial for mana conservation.

It's a tough decision though. As it's looking now, priests don't seem capable of quickly running out of mana. With improved Holy concentration, after ANY critical heal, your next spell cast has a 45% to be mana free. If your next spell is cast outside the five second rule, AND overheals your target, not only do you gain the mana back from 'While Not Casting' regeneration, but you GAIN 25% of your spell's cost BACK. Also, if you spec into the Surge of Light talent, your spell criticals also have a 50% chance to proc your next flash heal into costing 0 mana, and INSTANT CAST, but incapable of a crit.

What does this mean? It seems to me that Blizzard is wanting priests to maybe start gemming or enchanting for crit chance. Here's a sum up of why:

-A spell crit has a 50% chance of giving you an instant, mana free flash heal.
-A spell crit has a 45% chance to have your next heal be mana free, and give you 30% spell haste for your next two heals, or 20 seconds.
-Spell crits also give your target inspiration, increases armor by 25% for 15 seconds.
-If your spell crits, there is a good chance that it will overheal your target, giving you mana back.

I don't think that critical chance will replace say, spirit or bulk healing with regards to what priests will stack in the expansion, but it's certainly something to think about.

Here's a link to the spec I will be most likely using at 70:

And the one I'm planning on using, at this point, at level 80:

Let me know if you have any thoughts about it, I'm really interested in the new stats.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Priest Healing Encounter: Illidan Stormrage

Let me preface this by saying the reason I have chosen the illustrious Illidan Stormrage for this particular explanation is because many guilds, at this point, have either stopped raiding, trying to finish BT, or trying to progress/farm as much of Sunwell as they can before the expansion rears it's beautiful, exciting head. I thought this might be a helpful guide to you priests who are in guilds who have gotten past RoS, Teron, and Council, and are ready to face the Betrayer himself. Hopefully this guide will prepare you for the encounter. /giggle.

How to Prepare
(I'm sorry, I'll stop. Heehee)

Bring all of the basic consumables. Personally I'm more drawn to the extra Intellent (and find it's cheaper) of the Flask of Distilled Wisdom over the regen of the Flask of Mighty Restoration. Bring fishsticks, some spirit scrolls if you only have CoH priests, and anything else as you see fit. Use elixirs at your own disgression, though I tend to lean towards the Draenic Wisdom and Elixir of Mastery combo.

Phase One

Phase one healing is the easiest phase by far. The way my guild does it is to have all casters and healers stand in the middle of the grate, while the tank and melee dps move Illidan away from the fire around the edge of the grate.

As long as the tank doesn't miss a shield block (Illidan's tank must be a warrior) for a shear, he will not be taking an obscenely ridiculous amount of damage. However, when the tank does take a shear, which significantly reduces his health (our tank drops to around 8k max HP) for a short period of time, be ready with Power Word: Shield, prayer of mending, and be spamming greater heal 7. If healers aren't on top of their game, the tank will die almost immediately. It is also helpful for the warrior to hit last stand, which increases his health, but sometimes it can be difficult to remember. His shear ability is the one he is casting when he jumps in the air and comes down on the tank with swords out.

The only other thing to worry about in phase one: Illidan will randomly target a person in the raid (it can even be the tank) and put a debuff on them, causing 3000 damage every 2 seconds, for 10 seconds. Once the 10 seconds is complete, two shadowfiends will spawn on top of the person. The MOST important thing here is to kill the shadowfiends as quickly as possibly. They will randomly target another player who is highest on the global threatlist, and if they get close enough to the player to melee attack them, the player will receive the debuff causing damage, and the shadowfiends to spawn on them as well. This ability is called Parasitic Shadowfiend.

If you are targetted for this, a message from either Deadly Boss Mods, Big Wigs, or an anxious guild mate will pop up on your screen, telling you that you have it. At this point, you need to move outside of the grate, away from the raid, and stay there until the shadowfiends spawn. Once they spawn, it is safe to move back to the center of the grate. If the tank receives the debuff, the melee must move out.

That's phase one in a nutshell. Pretty easy, unless the tank takes a shear.

Phase Two

Phase two of Illidan Stormrage is arguably the most difficult phase of the encounter. This, my friends, is where the Circle of Healing priest shines.

This is the way my guild does it: Each group stands closely clumped together on the different points on the grate. Group two stands on the north end, three to the west, four to the east, and five to the south. Melee dps's the flame that is the most safe, and healers/casters in the melee or tank group stand in various other groups. Our two fire tanks tank the flames on opposite (East/West) sides of the grate, keeping them far enough away from the grate. Because this is a healing guide, I'm not going to go into what exactly the tanks/melee are doing, because as long as they're not being dumb and running through fire, thus needing heals, they are no concern of mine.

Flame bursts will hit each group every few seconds, where Circle of Healing is key. We usually have 2-3 CoH priests in the raid, so keeping these people up is pretty easy, unless the flames decide to continually bash down on us without a break (Which has happened before.).

About every minute or so, someone in the raid (again, it could be anyone), will be afflicted by a debuff called Dark Barrage. This is a KILLER debuff. And I mean that quite literally. This debuff will cause 3000 damage every second for ten seconds. Paladins can bubble out of it, mages ice block, hunters feign death, rogues cloak, but for priests, warlocks, warriors, druids, shamans, but most importantly priests, the only thing to do is heal through it. The heals have to be quick, and well chosen. Generally, the first thing I do is throw a shield on the person, absorbing at least one tick, giving the rest of the healers time to get off a heal. What will happen is the person will go from about 3% health to full, once everybody's heal ticks, so use Prayer of Mending for instant health and start using flash heal.

During the rest of the phase, Binding heal could potentially be your best friend. Binding heal is my favorite spell, hands down, and it is especially useful for this encounter. So if, like me, you hadn't used it before, consider putting it on a hotkey for both this fight, Kalec, and even Council. When you're not spamming CoH, it's really quite nice!

Something to worry about, but not really for your sake, is a fire tank being hit by an Eye Blast. If any player comes in contact with one of these (which spawn from the swords in the ground and move towards one of the elementals), hits the person for 20,000 damage, which, almost instantaneously, kills them. This is what wipes raid the most, only closely followed by raid deaths due to fire blasts. If you can get past this phase, you're almost in the clear.

Phase Three

First thing, ahem, SPREAD OUT. Don't be within 5 yards of another player. If you have DBM or Big Wigs, it should have a little box pop up to tell you if you're too close to someone, and do your best to move away.

This phase is almost identical to phase one. He will spawn shadowfiends, use shear, and trail fire that the tank must move away from.

The main goal of DPS is to get the shadowfiends down ASAP. The person targeted by the debuff needs to move away from the raid, preferably to the back, so that the shadowfiends don't reach other players once they spawn. Remember to heal these people, the debuff does cause damage. You may have to adjust yourself position-wise, because these people tend to move out of range, and quickly. Even while you're moving to help them, stay as far away from other players as you can, because of another ability called...

Agonizing flames. Again, Illidan will target someone, a big blue flame will fall down on their head, and if ANYONE (including hunter/warlock pets) are within 5 yards of the targeted person, they will receive the debuff as well. This debuff causes an initial 4000 damage, and 3000 damage every 5 seconds for 1 minute. The kicker to this one is that the DoT will increase as the debuff remains. This person will need intense and constant attention from healers. The key to avoiding it is to just stay spread out; don't hug your best friend. When you are afflicted by it, try to keep a bubble on yourself as often as you can, and a renew ticking, PoM whenever the cooldown is up. Binding heal can also be useful here, on a tank.

That's phase three. It's not too difficult, people just have to be on top of things.

Phase Four

Phase four is hard. Hands down. During this phase, a warlock will be tanking Illidan off the to the side, and he'll need at least four healers. Trick is, you still have to be spread out. If anyone is standing near the warlock tank (who is in shadow resist gear) they will be hit for around 11k shadow damage and (most likely) die.

Illidan will also send out a flame burst every ten seconds, which deals around 4k damage to everyone in the raid. Additionally, if you are standing near someone else in the raid, there will be splash damage, and you will take more. Again emphasizing the need to keep spread out. Also another key instance in which Binding Heal is life saving. Circle of healing is virtually useless here because no one is grouped up. Flash/binding heal will be your primary spells, not excluding PoM and renew in the least. Everyone needs to be at full health, because remember that another one will come in 10 seconds.

The most difficult aspect of phase four is when Illidan spawns shadow demons. Four will appear under his feet, targetting a player. This player will have a purple line connecting them to the demon, and they will be incapacitated. The demons slowly move towards the player, and it is helpful for a mage to frostbolt, or hunter to ice trap them to slow them down further. If the shadow demon reaches it's target, the player will die, and the demon will target another player, incapacitating them, and killing them if they reach as well. The demons are the priority of this phase, and a reason to stay as far away from Illidan as possible. During the shadow demons, there will still be flame bursts, so be ready to heal the raid up even though there is chaos.

Another reason not to stand too close to Illidan is because he has an aura that deals 1000 shadow damage to anyone in range, and stacks a debuff, increasing shadow damage taken.

Illidan will alternate between phases three and four until he reaches 30% health.

Phase 5

Phase Five will begin when he reaches 30%, at which point he will imprison everyone in the raid in a 'Shadow Prison'. You are immune to damage, and can't move, but Illidan is a little preoccupied with Maiev Shadowsong, who has come to help you finish him off. (A great time for mana regen, phew!)

The prisons will remain intact for 30 seconds, and after they break, your warrior tank will need very fast healing. PoM, bubble, renew, and then the basic GH1 and/or flash heal. This point in the fight will be exactly like phase 3, except Maiev will scuttle about, placing traps. Don't let your raid be fooled into thinking that just because Maiev has placed a trap that you should automatically drag Illidan over. Sometimes it is just plain unsafe to do so. She will place traps when he has a soft enrage, increasing his damage output and speed for a period of time. This is generally when you would drag him to a trap, which incapacitates him and makes him vulnerable to damage.

However, as a healer, you really need to be aware of your surroundings at this point in the fight. Once again, I implore you, SPREAD OUT. It is imperative that you don't take the splash damage from Agonizing Flames, and remember to run to the back of the raid if you are targeted for shadowfiends. Keep raid healing up, and yourself up. This phase is very frantic and is often grounds for a wipe because people get excited and sloppy.

Illidan will also switch to demon form, and have all of his abilities from phase 4 available.

Rinse and repeat until he's dead. Then you get a nice little conversation in while Maiev realizes that a hunter is nothing without her prey, blah blah, where's my loot.

So remember:

- Key spells are Binding Heal and Renew, and Circle of Healing during phase 2.
- Remember to SPREAD OUT. And let your raid know if you have the Agonizing Flames debuff, and especially shadowfiends.
- Don't panic, relax. Remember, even though this is fun and you're getting into it, if you panic, chances are that you will goof up.
- Stay away from tanks at all times, whether it be the warlock tank, or warrior tank. Getting close to Illidan is a no-no.

If you have any questions, or this was in any way unclear, please leave a comment and I'll do my best to help out :) Good luck, and get the Memento for me!