Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Little Bit of Everything?

Well then, have you forgotten about me yet? Because with everything that's been going on in the past few months, I'm afraid I'd certainly forgotten about this blog. I was waiting on an Arathi Basin queue with a few guildies when I received a tell from Ashbrielle, a hunter, asking whether I was going to update my blog anytime soon. So now, a few days later, I'm back (?) and I come with updates!

My priest, Bellezza, made it to 80 within the first few days of the expansion. Bellerina the drudru followed, with shaman Bellzilla bringing up the rear. They are all specced for healing, and I had a blast learning the different classes.

After Wrath hit, I was recruited into Vigilant, the top Alliance side guild on my server (Dark Iron if you'd forgotten). We rushed through all the content, even getting the server first Sartharion kill along with the Obsidian Slayer title. While we farmed content and worked on raid achievements, I worked on professions, leveling jewelcrafting, cooking, and fishing. I started reading up a lot more on priests and healing, theorycrafting and UI modifications for the most efficient output. All to prepare for what?


Yes folks, Ulduar hit us like a brick in the face. The first two days of Ulduar were exceedingly painful. Glitches galore, ranging from bugged boss mechanics to server crashes, blue bar of death and constant disconnects. We were able, however, to brute force most of it, getting the first Alliance side Yogg-Saron kill in both 25 man and 10 man. Three weeks have passed and we remain the lone slayers of this decidedly disgusting, yet really fun boss.

After downing 'ole Yoggy, we immediately went to work on some of the hard-mode encounters. So far we've downed 'medium' mode Iron Council with some considerable attempts on Thorim, Hodir, and Freya. The Keepers, however, were impossible to kill on hard-mode for about a week, so hopefully we'll be able to make some better progress this week.

Boss encounters aside, there have been some really cool changes to the priest class that I'd like to talk about.

This spec is what I would recommend for a holy priest: http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#bVcbuZfxx0f0qih0euAo:0NfzV0

Some things to think about:

Normally I wouldn't pick up Healing Focus, mostly because this and Concentration aura no longer stack. However, something to keep in mind is that Ulduar is HUGE. You're going to be spreading out a lot, and oftentimes you won't be in range of a holy paladin. (My guild also doesn't have one at the moment, so it's near crucial for me. Damn you for leaving, Bosque!)

It's all cookie cutter, until we get to the new Holy Concentration, which, despite previous gripes, I actually rather enjoy. Granted, it's made holy priests just like all of the other healing classes in the sense that without the old clearcasting mechanic, there is no need to work in the five second rule, and you can just keep casting. The new mechanic works just as improved mana regeneration. Also, it procs off of EVERY crit. Not just a select few. This coupled with my spirit greatness deck results in around 1600 MP5, which is super useful. If this procs while you are running a tad short on mana, I would recommend not casting for the duration if you can, to get some mana back, only healing with SoL procs and at the direst of need.

Serendipity is probably my favorite reworked spell. Three flash heals/binding heals will reduce the cast time of your next greater heal OR PRAYER OF HEALING (!!!) by 12%. This is HUGE for raid healing. HUGE. With considerable haste, this can drop the cast time to around a second and a half. With the tier 8 two set bonus, which increases the crit chance of Prayer of Healing by 10%, you're guaranteed at least a 30k+ heal, especially now that Prayer of Healing can be cast on other parties. I've found this useful in fights like Ignis, XT, and especially Mimiron. Be cautious, however. Even though the cast time is shorter, the mana dump is not. It's definitely costly, so use at your disgression.

Empowered Renew is another really cool talent. It works roughly like a shaman's riptide, with an initial heal followed by a hot. The initial heal, for me, hits for around 1k with 2k+ ticks. It can also crit, which procs the new Holy Concentration, which definitely works for me!

However, with buffs to certain talents also comes nerfs to other aspects of the class. For example, spirit as a stat for priests took a fairly massive nerf. The amount of OOC regen that you used to gain from spirit for a hit, making intellect a more useful mana regen stat to aim for. This doesn't mean spirit is useful. For Ulduar raiding I would recommend around 900 of each stat, not forgetting haste of course.

To compensate for this, I'm using Flasks of Pure Mojo, which is pure mana regen, and sometimes even Flasks of Distilled Wisdom, the old-school intellect flask.


I hope this has been helpful, and I hope to update my blog as I find more time with summer on it's way ^_^