Truckspank the priest going shadow while leveling. After reading a couple of the WoW novels, I really like the lore of the dark portal and wanted to just hang out there for awhile.

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Sadly, this was the only turkey I was able to eat on Thanksgiving. You miss a lot of major holidays while living in Japan.

This past Sunday morning (6 p.m. server time) I joined up once again with the people from the Raiding 101 group and we headed in to Naxx 10 man. Even though it was only Naxx, I did my best throughout the week to gear up as much as I could via the new LFG system to get just a little more healing coming through. I also made a point to be sure that all my gear was gemmed and enchanted out. So far I’m really enjoying the vibe of the group. Although many of the people are different from week to week, I think it’s a pretty nice and valuable thing that the raid leaders are doing.

The group had already taken down a couple of the bosses earlier in the week, so we were able to get a little deeper into Naxx than last week. We began on Maexxnna and I think we had one wipe, but we were off to the Plague Quarter soon enough. Noth went down far easier than the week before. It was actually pretty shocking considering how hard it was to heal him before. Of course after that we headed off to Heigan the Unclean and the infamous “dance” of his. Everyone knew this is where the trouble would start, but then again it was called Raid 101 for a reason.

Up to this point I had only done Heigan as a DPS once and needless to say I died pretty early on. After about 3 wipes we were about to call the raid as it was nearing towards our three hour time limit for the raid. But, we decided to try one more time and that’s when I finally got the hang of the dance. My strategy, although a little flawed, was to just run straight through without stopping. This got me clipped a couple times, but with a preemptive shield and some HOTs I was able to make it through, although it was pretty close.

Luckily, as a holy priest I have a ton of instant cast spells which really saved the day. While running I was able to get off some Prayers of Mending and a few Circles of Healing. Not too bad. I think it took about three dances or so before downing him, but it was quite the thrill with people screaming into vent again. It was definitely a good feeling. My main thought while running was pretty much just “I’m doing it! I’m doing it!”

With spirits high, we decided to give Loatheb a try. Despite being past our three hour limit, everyone was still game for it. The main thing he does, from a healer’s perspective, is to only allow healing for three seconds at a time, every 20 seconds. I had the Deadly Boss Mobs add-on installed, but it was really confusing. One alert would pop up on the screen and then stay there, while another alert would pop up somewhere else. I pretty much had no idea when the window was so I just kept casting normally and hoped for the best. This strategy almost made me run out of mana, but we had a druid who stepped up to heal as well so we were ok.

I gave it my all and got an invite to join the group’s progressive raiding team which is pretty cool. Again, because of the crazy time difference I won’t be able to make it to too many raids, but it’s a pretty cool feeling to get recognized. It kinda make me feel like a “real” healer, although I still haven’t gotten used to that title 100%. So I’m gonna try and make the schedules match up as best I can and see what happens.

Considering that I played WoW as a mage for about a year and a half, I still question my abilities as a healer from time to time despite getting frequent compliments. In all fairness, I think I’m actually not too bad at healing and have taken to it quite well. Most heroics are incredibly smooth with little to no “Oh shit!” moments as I like to call them. However, I still find myself getting very nervous when trying out new content for the first time. A large part of this nervousness is probably due to the fact other players don’t want to, or don’t have time to explain strategies, especially in PUGs.

If I remember correctly, this is how the conversation went during my first time in heroic TOC:

Me: “I haven’t healed this yet so please let me know any tips, etc to heal better here”

Tank:
“easy”


To make matters worse, the first time I tried healing TOC it was on regular and it wasn’t long before I was kicked from the group for the usual “L2p n00b!” style stuff. That was a pretty crushing moment. For whatever reason, I become a far more sensitive player while healing. I should point out here that it’s not the offense of being called a “n00b” by some kid, but more so that it makes me question whether or not I’m a good healer. There seems to be a lot more personal responsibility on behalf of the healer as opposed to the kid only eeking out 700 DPS in the same instance.

So, needless to say I was damn near terrified to try out the heroic version when faced with it via the random dungeon finder. In fact, I was even a little afraid to hit the “Enter Dungeon” button each time for fear that I would end up healing H TOC. But I manned up and figured I had to learn it eventually so I put my game face on and did my best. This is where it gets pretty surprising to me.

Because I knew that TOC may be a problem for me I read up on the strategies a little bit so I would know what I was getting into. Basically what I took away from this was to turn your back when the one guy does the thing, some zombies blow up a lot, and that’s about it. As we dropped boss after boss I was astounded at just how it easy it was. Perhaps the other people I was grouped with were well geared and experienced. I’m not sure why, but it was absolutely no trouble at all to heal. Sure there were a couple tight moments, but even during the black knight boss I just kind of stared at my computer amazed at how little damage people were taking.

Right after the run I wanted to do it about 10 more times because of the great drops and my new found confidence. Hopefully I don’t get too confident, but now I feel much better about my skills as a healer and ready to tackle some more difficult content. I’m looking forward to healing the hell out of heroics this coming weekend with the LFG tool so I’ll be sure to post anything interesting that happens.

Thanks for reading Thoughts Of Warcraft! @ https://thoughtsofwarcraft.wordpress.com

Brad

At this point I’m sure you’ve heard all of the arguments both for and against the relative easiness of getting geared in full tier 9 simply by doing heroics. From what I’ve read, I don’t think I really fall into either camp. Here are some of the main reasons that I’m going after a full tier 9 set.

It’s A Goal: This one is pretty important for me and it’s part of the reason that I stopped playing Chipdipson. With Chip, I was close to gaining exalted reputation with Ebon Blade. Coincidentally enough, that was the last faction I was grinding. With no other real rewards from heroics, I quickly became disinterested. Also, without being in a solid raid group, the carrot on a stick of the T9 gear will more than keep me interested in heroics.

It Looks Cool: Pretty self-explanatory. Since I started playing the game, I’ve never had a full set of tier anything so now I just want to see how it looks on my characters. There’s something pretty special to me about just seeing it all match. I came pretty close to getting a full PVP set on my priest, but later got bored of the grind considering that there was so many heroics to learn. Basically, I’m not overly concerned about what set of tier gear it is, I just want a full set of something.

Raiding: This reason probably falls in line with some of the typical arguments, but perhaps my way of thinking about it is a bit different. From what I know, most people seem to want to get geared up in T9 so that they can jump straight to Ice Crown Citadel. As a healer, I’d rather keep running Naxx until I can comfortably heal anyone through it, and then progress to Ulduar or whatever. I haven’t had a chance to raid much at all since I began playing WoW, so I would hate to skip entire swaths of content just to get more epic gear.

Thanks for reading. Leave a comment and I should be back with another post soon.

Brad

Anybody who has read a little bit of the blog before knows that running 5-man dungeons is one of my favorite parts of the game, so it’s no secret that I’ve been chomping at the bit to try out the LFG tool that came with 3.3. So much so in fact that I’ve just been leveling some alts and mindlessly grinding rep just to kill time on my mains.

During this time I was able to level fishing and cooking quite a bit on my priest and get almost all eight other characters on my account to around the level 20 range so that they can start hitting instances. With one character of every class leveled pretty good, I’d say that the most intriguing one is Partydoctor, my druid. He’s a boomkin in the making now, but I’ll probably go dual spec at 40 as tank/heals.

Ok…down to business.

DPS:

As Truckspank, my priest, gradually became my new main, my trusty old mage and first character ever, Chipdipson, has been doing nothing but collecting dust and making the occasional bag for a long time. With the ease of finding groups now, I decided to get him some tier 9 badge gear and so far it’s a (fire) blast. Considering that there is vastly more DPS in the game than tanks and heals, I was really surprised at just how fast I was able to get into a heroic group. Chipdipson currently has a couple pieces of gear from Naxx, but for the most part it’s all just rep rewards and heroic loot. It is however pretty well enchanted and gemmed which seems to make a pretty big difference.

Within the first couple minutes of joining up with a group, I instantly remembered just how fun it is to blow stuff up. With my current frostfire spec, almost all of my damage comes from three spells: Scorch, Fire Blast, and Frostfire Bolt. The big damage comes in when hot streak procs and I get a free Pyroblast. Rinse and repeat. While this may sound simple, it’s surprisingly fun as hell to play. When buffed up enough, I can get some enormous crits going which is so much more invigorating than healing.

Healing:

Even though I had a ton of fun bombing through heroics with Chipdipson, my priest is still new main and as such is my main concern in terms of getting some nice tier 9 badge gear as soon as possible.

Although I’m pretty confident with my healing abilities at this point, there are still a couple heroics that I’m just not comfortable healing yet. These would have to be Halls Of Lightning, the Trial of the Champion 5-man version, and of course Oculus. It doesn’t help the situation any more when I think back to almost getting booted from a HOL group last year as DPS and some bad TOC experiences. I suppose there’s no way around it and I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it one way or another if it comes up as the random dungeon.

The first four groups or so that I joined up with were simply amazing. They were quite possibly the smoothest heroics that I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing. The two that really stick out in my mind were Nexus and Violet Hold. Of course these were fairly easy even while undergeared, but it was absolutely astounding at how quickly the bosses went down. As a healer, I only had time to throw out a renew and a flash heal or two before the boss was down and we moved on to the next one. It was a pretty nice welcoming to the future of LFG.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned…the next post is about Easy Tier 9 Through Badges.

-Brad

Well, it’s been a little over a month or so since the last update so I figured it was about time. I’ve probably had the time to write new posts, but my interest in writing seems to ebb and flow every couple months and I really wasn’t interested in writing anything during the past couple weeks. But, now I am.

Although I’ve recently started an army of alts in the past few months, 9 of the allotted 10 per server, I found that leveling my hunter was not only the most fun but also quite relatively easy. As far as pets go, I’ve stuck with tanking pets almost the whole time. I kept the first bear that I tamed for quite sometime until I got bored and wanted to branch out a bit. From there, I tried a number of cats from Stranglethorn Vale but I very quickly came to hate the way that they always stayed in stealth mode. It didn’t seem to make any tactical sense at all to me. Obviously, I’m not stealthed so if I pull aggro it will only slow down the reaction time of my pet even further if he’s stealthed. So, I went right back to tanking pets and found a gorilla that has been working out pretty good.

From a rotation standpoint, it seems weird that I find myself using the same three attacks time and time again when there are so many others to choose from. I suppose that’s the only downside of playing a dps class. You find what works and stick with it…for 80 levels. In an unrelated area, I still find it odd however that both the bear and gorilla can’t tank multiple mobs. Maybe there are some talent points that I need to add later as the leveling process continues, but it would seem to me that that would be their main job right from the get go.

Despite now being what I would consider a seasoned WoW player, I found myself in yet another frustrating noob moment as I was leveling Leatherworking. While browsing around online recently I learned that at level 40 I think, Hunters can use mail armor, which pretty much makes Leatherworking useless. As a result of my frustration, I’ve since stopped playing him for a little while. I plan on coming back later on and will probably even get him up to 80 within the next 6 months or so, but for now I’ve had enough. He’s currently at level 38.

It may be a bit odd that I went from spending all of my time leveling him to dropping him like a bad habit, but whatever. It’s a game and I’m doing whatever is the most fun for me at the time. Perhaps with 3.3 here now I might bring him back out again and have some fun.


While killing some time on an alt as I waited for patch 3.3 to drop, I found someone spamming trade chat about running Naxx for something called Raid 101. I sent a tell out to him and was surprised at his politeness and general good demeanor. At this point I’m a little overgeared for Naxx as a result of heroic badge gear, but I still have yet to heal many raids. As it turns out this is precisely what Raid 101 was about so I confirmed the run.

As the week went on I was found myself really looking forward to running, and more importantly healing, Naxx. I had DPSed it in the past with my mage and was aware of some of the basic fight mechanics, but on the whole I don’t really have time to learn boss fights. The scheduling difficulty raids only gets worse considering that I’m living in Japan now and I’m a good 14 hours ahead of EST. So, the more I thought about it, this was beginning to seem like it would be a lot of fun.

I woke up Sunday morning after a long night and really wanted nothing more than to go back to sleep. I had stayed up really late calling family in the States, and was awake for about a day. But, a promise is a promise so I dutifully headed out to Naxx and the raid began right on time at 11am. On heals it was me, a holy spec priest on raid/tank heals, and the raid leader who was a disc priest on main tank heals. The rest of the group was a mix of the raid leader’s guild and other random people who came to learn.

Since I was mostly unaware of what the bosses do, I spent a little bit of time reading up on the fights which seemed to help me out quite a bit. I’m more of a hands-on learner so nothing really compares to actually doing it, but a few things stuck with me that helped out a little bit. We started taking on bosses and knocking them out in no time at all. In the end we ended up dropping Noth the Plaugebringer as the last boss and called it there after three hours. I could have used a couple gear upgrades considering that I’m still using PVP shoulders, but I was there for the experience and that’s what I got.

The Noth fight was by far the most intense. I think when someone reposted the timer in raid chat it came out to be about 10 minutes long. 10 very long and stressful minutes, but some of the most fun that I’ve ever had in WoW so far. Because I wasn’t really looking at the boss’s health at all, it was a huge relief when he finally dropped and people were screaming on vent. It really reminded why I play this game.

As for the details of the Noth fight, I’ll try to write what I remember from that crazy experience. We wiped once because of how we layed out the fight, so we switched strategies up on the second attempt. Basically, my mind just went into full-on panic mode and instinct. I frantically kept an eye on my Circle of Healing cooldown and threw it on the tank almost every time it was up. I just glyphed for Guardian Spirit which resets the cooldown to one minute which I kept up on the off tank. I’m very glad that I did because the extra healing bonus saved us from some near wipe moments.

In addition to my “real” healing spells, I also kept Gift of the Naaru on constant cooldown for some extra help. While I use it quite often on the tank during heroics, I’m not sure if it’s really worth using a GCD for it during raids unless I cast it on myself. Aside from that, I kept my re-usable alchemist potions on CD for extra mana, as well as Lifebloom, and Shadowfiend. I think I had time to get a Hymn of Hope in for mana help, and I definitely popped an “Oh Shit!” moment Divine Hymn.

I’m running Naxx again with the same group of people this coming Sunday as well so it should be a nice break from all the 3.3 heroics I’ll be getting in provided that the servers remain stable.


What I learned:

Managing cooldowns: Pretty early on in the boss fights I learned that I should be casting something on somebody on almost every single global cool down. This is something that I’m not really used to since most of my experience comes from 5-man heroics. The closest thing that I think raid healing comes close to is battleground healing, just with a lot more pressure. Sure, there was a tiny bit of downtime here and there, but if nobody needs a heal I should probably do something else like cast Hymn of Hope.

Dealing with pressure: Even though there was another healer there to get my back, it was still very hectic and stressful knowing that 9 other people there counted on me not to suck. Even though I was on raid heals, I’d say the majority of my heals were spent trying to keep the tank up. Maybe it was because I was really tired, but eventually I was able to settle in a good groove and I stopped thinking and worrying and just kind of went off of instinct. In fact, it reminds of some Bruce Lee clips that I was watching last night.

Play nice: I’ve yet to run Naxx PUGs very often because even though the idea of 5-man PUGs is ok with me, somehow raid PUGs are bit scary. The reason for this is because I don’t know all of the fights that well and I wouldn’t want to waste someone else’s time with me trying to figure out what to do. The second reason is because I’m assuming that most other people don’t think like this and would probably waste my time without thinking twice about it. What made this Naxx run great I think is that from the get go we all agreed that we would be patient and polite in the case of a wipe.

uk

I have a quick story about a super noob moment that I’d figured I would share. So I’ve been playing WoW for maybe about a year and a half or so, with some downtime in between and I would like to think that I’m no slouch when it comes to knowing how to play the game now. Since this was my first MMORPG I had a very tough time figuring out what the hell was going on around me, but I stuck with it and figured out the intricacies of the game.

I was on my new main, a dual spec Shadow/Holy priest, and got an invite to heal for regular Utgarde Keep. I had done this instance countless times as dps and I had also healed it once before so I was pretty confident in my ability to heal this particular instance. We get in and start clearing trash and I notice that I have to use several greater heals just to keep the tank alive, which didn’t seem normal at all. To make matters worse, as a result of having to use the big heals I’m also running through mana after every pull. However, I’m still a little new to healing I’d say, and I’m certainly new to healing the Wrath content so I assumed this was normal.

We get to the first boss and I’m having to pull out all the stops fairly soon: Guardian Spirit, Gift of the Naruu, and even the healing buff given to herbalists. Something was really wrong. Luckily there was a shadow priest who was able to pull some solid back-up heals otherwise we wouldn’t have made it through the fight. The rest of the instance continues like this and I’m starting to really doubt my abilities as a healer…and so is the tank. To move the story along, we ended up finishing the instance with the shadow priest on heals most of the time and me constantly out of mana.

A day or so later I was reading something on the Plus Heal forums where the topic of spell rank came up so I figured I would check it out. As it turns out, every time I had trained new spells the updated ranks were only updated on the spec I was currently in, which was usually shadow. So, essentially I was attempting to heal UK with spells that had been outranked ages ago. Needless to say I felt really dumb after figuring this out, but also pretty damn good in that I was able to do a semi-passable job using low ranks spells.

So the moral of the story is: Always check the ranks of your spells.

Brad

For the faction my character is associated with!

ab

So patch 3.2 is here and I’m pretty excited about the whole thing. One of the things that I’m most excited about is that I can now earn experience just by doing battlegrounds. For me this is a win-win-win situation. First and foremost, I really need a lot of time to learn how to raid heal and get used to the VuhDo add-on so BGs are perfect for doing so. Also, it’s not a total waste of time if I can level at the same time. And I also really like the immediacy of the it all. With one click I’m in queue and healing away in no time.

But, as I figured out today (I’m writing this on August 4th) things aren’t really what I was expecting. Being able to get a ton of mounts for cheap was great and nothing to scoff at, but what I was looking forward to the most, battleground experience, just wasn’t cutting it for me. I’m really getting tired of questing again and probably won’t quest on my priest for a long time, so aside from healing 5-man instances, I was really counting on this to get me through to level 80.

I figured out that at the end of a 20 minute Arathi Basin match that I had earned about 23,000 exp. Then, I calculated how much exp I needed to ding level 75, with about a quarter of the experience already there. That was about 1242000. So, it turns out that I would have to win Arathi Basin about 54 times, at about 20 minutes per game, just to level once.

I’m not sure if other people are gaining more or less experience that I am, but to me that seems like a hell of a lot less than what Blizz initially promised. I believe the official quote was something along the lines of: “Leveling in battlegrounds will be a little slower than questing.” Now judging by my above calculations, it would take about 18 hours to level. That’s way more than a little slower than questing.

On a side note, I’ve also been confused for a very long time now as to what exactly I’m supposed to do with some of these badges I keep earning. Some, like AV, AB, and WG have turn-ins for gear and mounts, but yet there is nothing to do with the Eye of the Storm badges, Isle of Conquest, and Strand of the Ancients. I’m semi-aware that I can turn in badges for more honor, but after amassing  a huge pile of badges more honor is the last thing that I need.

As for now, I suppose my plan is to keep running the BGs anyway while I sit in queue for 5-man groups. We’ll see how it goes.

Brad

For the faction my character is associated with!

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