Category Archives: Shaman

New Shaman changes…

I know I haven’t been talking much about coming Cataclysm changes and all, mostly because I jumped the bandwagon too late and everything worth of importance was already said in other places, but after two or three Beta builds Shamans finally got some love. And I am saying love as the changes don’t sound all that bad actually – you know I am the type that prefers Shaman to go to Cataclysm untouched rather than damaged by some eager class designer wishing to show us how they understand what this class needs.

Oh and don’t hold your breath – no Spirit Link.

Elemental goodies

Let’s see what is in the pot of Elemental goodies relevant to Restoration Shaman. Oh and no, I am not really going to say how good the changes are for Elemental :) There are people far more competent to do that. Actually I guess pretty much anyone is more competent for that matter than I am…

We have Hex lasting 1 minute (up from 30 seconds) – sweet change – I often felt crippled on fights like Faction Champs or Blood Queen HM when my CC was needed to save the day *cue Superman theme song* and the thirty seconds compared to the cooldown just wasn’t cutting it.

Obviously, Searing Totem  now prefers to target enemies that are afflicted by our Flame Shock or Stormstrike effects. About time I say. It actually makes it a worthy totem for us if we fancy pretending we do some direct damage contribution on those pre-enrage pushes. Guess our dps specced comrades are really happy about this change.

Last change I will mention, probably the most relevant to us is that Ancestral Knowledge (mana up) is now named Acuity and increases our critical strike chance with all spells and attacks by 1/2/3% (I think this is low value). Well, hm. At first I thought – yay, compensation for our low crit rate early on and bonus crit later. Then I started pondering whether the larger mana pool wouldn’t actually be better in the announced Cataclysm healing. I guess we will see. Right now we can only hope that all the crit dependant mana returns and the crit heals will somewhat compensate for replenishment loss.

That’s about it from Elemental, let’s go see what is in Santa’s bag for the freaks like me who throw around green leaves of good and slice through raid with golden lazorz.

Restoration changes

Okay. Here we are getting quite some interesting things that might actually spice up the talent trees a bit (and yes I thought they were boring. Solid, but boring).

Totemic Focus is now a 2-Ranks talent, down from 3-Ranks. Now also increases the duration of your totems by 20/40%. I seriously can’t see the benefits of this. Unless they make totems pop cost like 50% of your maximum mana, what’s the point here? Is there any totem duration decrease coming, or should we spec this just to make Searing, Earthbind totems last longer? On second thought – I guess some 25 Shamans might be forced into this spec for longer Mana Tide. Hm…

We even got new talent – Cleansing Waters. When our Cleanse Spirit successfully removes a harmful effect, we also heal the target for [ 1093 to 1164 ]/[ 2187 to 2330 ]. This talent sounds excellent – basically saving  a global cooldown every time we dispel and don’t have to whack another heal on the person right away. Especially if Cataclysm will be full of debuffs that hurt. Not totally sure it’s worth 2 points, I guess time will tell. It’s interesting mechanic at least.

Enhancement tree

Well this got me worried a bit in addition to other new talents. We were more or less speccing into Enhancement yet again, to pick up Weapons and Shields and try to reach the increased run speed (dropping Tuskarr’s for some sort of directly improving enchant) or investing the points in mana pool enhancement (intended) in elemental tree; now the choice is even harder. You can go pick up crit in elemental tree not leaving you enough points to pick up the new talent in enhancement tier 2 - Totemic Reach that increases the radius of your totems’ effects by 15/30%.

Again, we might not see enough fights where you’d need your Healing Stream to cover area worth of Orgrimmar, but in case this indeed is needed, it might get tricky on the points. Aaaanyways might be useful in five-man instances so you don’t have to re-drop totems all the time.

To conclude

In my opinion, these changes look interesting. They don’t add anything to be considered overpowered so we don’t have to tremble in fear we will get QQ-omg-nerfed to the ground and yet these abilities smooth some of the sharp edges this class still has in preparation for the new era.

Let’s stay positive and actually welcome it with open arms, trusting the developers they might have a clue as to what are they doing. Heh. What is your take on new spells? Especially cleansing water?


CH@ICC10(N)

A 10M restoration BiS popped up on PlusHeal recently and it surprised me it didn’t mention getting 4T10, it has been even implied 4T10 is not worth it for all the crap stats on it (mp5). Let’s see what fights we Chain Heal in 10M.

As you probably don’t remember, I was actually not that big fan of 4T10 for 10M raiding back when the bonuses were announced and I was fairly skeptical as to what use will Chain Heal actually have.

It turned out that I was right and Chain Heal is not really the spam-all spell for 10M healing by default.

However, if you have capable people in raid, Chain Heal gets more and more use over time as people tend to pay attention to maxing out it’s use and well, overgearing and overbuffing content makes you worry less about some mechanics. As well, the more you fall into routine on your kills, the better you can estimate how it will be effective to Chain Heal.

(following also asumes you are stuck on raid heal or heal all duty)

Lord Marrrowgar

At first, I didn’t see any use for Chain Heal on Marrowgar (being often raid healing with paladin on tanks) and I was right. Marrowgar is not really a Chain Heal friendly boss if people are properly spread and all. It’s as well tricky on Bonestorm phase where it’s very tempting to mend the raid with beam, but people are constantly moving so they will most likely be out of range before you finish casting. So there.

Riptide and both healing waves will dominate this fight, even in the high movement phase you can dish out better healing with 2 fast paced LHWs and take few steps between them.

PS: If you happen to be single healing it, Chain heal actually rocks. It saved tanks countless times yesterday.

4T10 feel: worthless

Lady Deatwhisper

Definitely a Chain Heal friendly fight. People may start out spread wide all over the room, but the constant running from left to right through boss will clutter them all in middle over time, spreading only on Death and Decay hits – which for example Grid with debuffs will show before it lands so you have split second to precast and land it on all caught in it while they move away. As for phase two and Frostbolt volleys – it rocks.

Riptide, pre-casted Chain Heals and Cleanse spirit rock this fight.

4T10 feel: relieves a bit of stress after volley, but nothing much

Gunship Battle

Uhm. Well… yeah. Aha. For normal mode? No way you will need that. For hardmode? It might be useful I guess, but I believe the long cast is major drawback to Chain Healing there. Besides, a single paladin can heal this fight alone.

4T10 feel: go dps.

Saurfang

Not a Chain Heal fight. People aren’t standing that far apart, but there is really no need to heal more than one person at a time. So just leave Chain Heal resting there and regaining strength. If you are solo healing it, then the odd Chain Heal through tanks actually does wonders. By default though it’s not really the best Chain Heal fight out there.

Riptides and LHWs all the way here, sorry to burst your bubble. Chain Healing here is waste of resources from mana to casting time.

4T10 feel: worthless, unless you heal solo or tanks.

Stinky and Precious

Pulsing AoE, Decimates. Do I really need to say more? Just make sure you make your raid to clump up for these dogs to make most use of your Chain Heal. Precast. Dominate.

4T10 feel: priceless

Festergut

Chain Heal use yes and no. It’s priceless for melee healing and keeping up with the damage over time, 4T10 rocks in there. Healing ranged people with Chain Heal is quite waste, as they are standing well apart.

As usual for Chain Heal it’s untamed situational beast half time and worhtless piece of crap rest of the time. Use it wisely and judge your spells properly. The mix will be more biased towards single target healing.

4T10 feel: very solid bonus early into the fight, gives you some breathing room

Rotface

Before buff and gear I would not say Chain Heal has a use there. You know, the tactic where people actually had to dodge the spit as quickly as possible. I was proven wrong, Chain Heal landing after people got back into positions was great tool and managed me to smooth out the edges.

4T10 feel: gets only better with gear and buff

Professor Putricide

This is very frustrating fight from CH perspective. The only moment you really NEED the spell is when dps slacks on the slime and you need to heal back the shared explosion damage. Yes. When everyone gets tossed all over the room. D’oh. Phase 3 is more CH friendly, as people will have to stack as the slime poodles will push them to it. But still, vast majority of the fight requires high mobility so you don’t really have time – a comparison to FireFighter comes to mind.

4T10 feel: not really a CH friendly fight, so worthless most of the time

Blood Prince Council

On this fight, I usually end up healing both Fire and Shock tank so I go in full LHW mode (glyph and totum) and therefore can’t really say anything for CH use, however I’d estimate it’s use to very situational and good only if you have great raid awareness, know your co-raiders and can predict their movement or lack thereof so it’s not wasted cast.

4T10 feel: can’t really say, but I guess slim use and benefit.

Blood Queen Lanathel

I have to admit, I ignored CH on this fight most of the time as I thought people are too spread for it. And I couldn’t been more wrong. Even people in range are perfectly positioned for Chaining the golden links of awesome and early in the fight is the HoT component priceless. If you for any reason hesitated about CH on Blood Queen, go ahead and try it.

4T10 feel: godsend bonus on CH tailored fight. Gotta love it.

Valithiria Dreamwalker

Well, of course not if you are healing Vali and taking portals. If you are outside though, you will be CHing quite a lot. Sure, you will need some spot-on single target healing too, but with the amount of raid damage coming in left and right and the raid being clumped up in middle around you, CH has it’s place.

As a sidenote – cleansing totem beats healing stream hands down

4T10 feel: I don’t think it is crucial. Sure it does help, but it’s manageable without just fine

Sindragosa

Let’s get the facts right. Raid bunched up. Periodical damage on 3 targets and then everyone. Do I have to say more? It¨’s almost a prototype of CH fight. Just look around for other healers getting debuff so you know when to cover on tank. Other than that, CH like you mean it!

4T10 feel: solid bonus. You will be casting CH here a lot and the extra healing it can do through the HoT comes in handy when rushing for cleanest kill possible.

The Lich King

Due to our strategy (spread out in semi-circle) I wasn’t really considering Chain Heal as valid spell, but the truth is you can max out it’s use. You just need to know where is who standing so you don’t kill the bounces on second target and you should do your best to precast for Infest. Throughout the fight the usefulness of Chain Heal declines a bit as you need to heal more mobile, still stays the Infest-precast awesomeness though.

4T10 feel: Not bad thing. I will most likely not help you heal up Infest direct damage, should slow down the Infest DoT damage if you fail to top others on first go.


So, how do you (Chain) heal ICC10N?


Shaman Q&A and preview update.

Just reposting Shaman Q&A from yesterday in order to provide all information available, as well as try and finally win the battle with formating quotes. It if ends up in same mess as the two posts before, I won’t ever quote a blue again. Damnit.

There are as well few more posts on the subject by Flow who provides overview for all specs and digs a bit deeper into the Restoration and is very excited about Deep Healing (aren’t we all?). Another post to go to is this one by The ‘mental shaman for general Shaman changes with focus on Elemental as well as another post with Q&A. And of course, the exhausting post by Charles from World of Hats who digs deeply into elemental. There is as well post by our beloved Windsoar who refuses to join the party till the information is in beta at least. And yes kids, go read Windsoar’s post so you don’t come crying when Cataclysm comes live. Windsoar does have valid concerns (as we all do).

There was as well some clarification / update to the Shaman preview, so shortly to that before we move on to Q&A:

Meditation – the amount of mana you regenerate in combat as a function of your Spirit.

I was right! Shalalala! A mastery that will keep Shamans where we should be. A endless mana healer. Nah, it won’t and probably many healing classes will get this. But still, I was right!

Also of note, you only get one set of passive talent tree bonuses: the tree in which you’ve spent the most points. Sub-speccing in another tree will not net you those bonuses in addition.

I will admit I am still unsure how this will work? I get masteries from the tree I spent most points in. So far so clear. But is there any minimal amount of points to reach Tier 3 Mastery? And if so, will spending more talents provide stronger mastery (and I mean directly per talent spent, not by spending them on Mastery enhancing talents)?

Last but not least, it’s the intention of Primal Strike to let shaman play as an Enhancement at low levels. Currently when leveling in this spec, you end up just using Lightning Bolt a lot so you feel like an Elemental shaman instead. At a higher level, Primal Strike gets replaced by Storm Strike. They share a cooldown so Enhancement just won’t ever use Primal Strike after that, in the same way that Prot warriors don’t use Sunder Armor once they have Devastate or Feral druids don’t use Claw once they get Mangle.

I said this too, remember? Bragging aside, really really great change. Nice to see Blizzard listens. A question – what are the odds of getting DW as Enhancement at level 20 in Cataclysm?

Shaman Questions and Answers

We know there are a lot of additional questions and we’ll do our best to answer what we can. Keep in mind, this is merely a preview of things to come.

Q: Will Maelstrom Weapon include Lava Burst?

A: That’s the plan currently.

Aha. Okay. Wait what? Someone please point me to reliable Enhancement bloggers. The only thing I know about Enhancement is that playing it produces about 5K dps my side and spams my screen with crits.

Oh right – you mean that Maelstrom Weapon cast time reduction will apply to LvB. Oh yeah. Nice one. I think.

Q: How can Elemental Overload proc Lava Burst when Lava Burst already hits so hard in PvP?

A: We’re going to change almost every number in Cataclysm to adjust for everything from single ranks of spells to larger health pools to new combat ratings. With much higher health pools, hopefully burst damage will go back to being a tool and not the only way to win matches.

Please see any of the awesome Elemental bloggers, I haven’t played Elemental since I dinged 80. Or few days after that shortly.

Q: What happens to the Lightning Overload talent?

A: It provides a bonus to Elemental Overload.

Elemental overload is gonna be final mastery of Elemental tree, working as Lightning Overload is but including LvB. New Lightning Overload will provide a bonus to it. I think I understand that.

Q: Elemental doesn’t want to drop Searing Totem at range. We want to drop Magma Totem.

A: Searing Totem needs to so more single-target damage than Magma. That said, if we’re happy with the ability to occasionally place totems at range there is no reason it couldn’t apply to any totem. Imagine, “After using this spell, the next totem you drop will appear at the feet of your target.”

Aha. Okay.

Q: Will Elemental have to spend talent points just to get the Spirit to hit conversion?

A: It will be bundled with another attractive talent, such as Elemental Precision.

Yo dawg, I heard you like hit so we added more hit to your hit so you can have hit. Ahem. Yeah.

Q: Will Unleash Weapon work with Frostbrand?

A: Yes. We just provided some examples.

It will spawn a Snowman companion that will throw snowballs on your opponents, lowering their movement and casting speed. Lasts 20 seconds. Or something.

Q: Is Healing Rain channeled?

A: No, it’s not a channeled spell.

Short cooldown, AoE heal and not channeled spell? Okay seriously guys, what’s the catch? That sounds too good to be true!

Q: Is Earthquake channeled?

A: Probably, but we’ll see.

Channeled AoE does make some sense, as would a non-channeled one. But yeah, guess it has closer to Blizzard (the spell) and Hurricane. Thinking of it, popping Hurricane and Earthquake on the same spot, that’s a bit too cruel, isn’t it?

Q: Will Unleashed Weapon consume your enchants?

A: No.

Thank god. I hope Blizzard learned this is wrong concept with TBC retadins.

Q: Does the 10% spell power buff from Elemental scale with the shaman or the target’s spell power?

A: It will scale with the target the same as Demonic Pact and other buffs that bring the same benefit.

Aha. I will belive that this works when I see  it live and survive at least one patch and still be working.

Q: Are you supporting two-handed weapons for Enhancement?

A: Once you start to get into the dual-wield talents, then Enhancement is a dual-wield tree.

Booh!

Q: You didn’t address Enhancement survivability or mobility or X and Y!

A: This was just a preview and is not a comprehensive list of every change. Much more will be revealed in beta and much will change during beta.

You gotta admit there wasn’t much in the preview for Enhancement, Blizzard. So cut them some slack!

Q: You didn’t answer the most important shaman question! What about Sentry Totem?

A: The Cataclysm is a time of great upheaval. Deathwing’s return to Azeroth tore a hole in the fabric of the universe that tragically resulted in the ultimate and irrevocable destruction of all Sentry Totems. Level designers are contemplating a shrine for the Sentry Totem near that of Uther the Lightbringer. We know shaman players will greet this news with grief, but as with all class changes we’ll have to get into beta before anything is final.

This is too much. Stop fucking with us. First you take my Fred from me. Now Sentry totem. How can you remove Sentry totem? What’s the point? We need the totem. It has been here all along! The best possible thing for making kill screenshots, granting raid spots to all Shamans around the world. Please, don’t. Take my Healing Stream Totem, my left eye or Heroism (Bloodlust for Hordies). Take it all! Just don’t take away my Sentry Totem!

Okay, that’s pretty much it for the moment folks, so far so good. For restoration anyways. Let’s hope it will indeed be as awesome as it looks!


Cataclysm and me. And you. Us.

Cataclysm Shaman changes are out, at least the first batch. Enjoy the read, sit back and sip your tea. It’s definitely not final but it’s interesting enough to speculate!

In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, we’ll be making lots of changes and additions to class talents and abilities across the board. In this preview, you’ll get an early look at some of the changes in store for the shaman class, including a rundown of some of the new spells, abilities, and talents, and an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with the different talent specs.

New Shaman Spells

Primal Strike (available at level 3): Primal Strike is a new weapon-based attack that every shaman will learn very early in the game. Our goal with this ability is to make leveling as Enhancement rather than as Elemental more viable, since many key Enhancement talents become available at fairly high levels.

Healing Wave (level 4): While the shaman already has an ability called Healing Wave, we’re adding another spell to the class’s direct-healing arsenal and giving it a familiar name. The current Healing Wave will be renamed Greater Healing Wave, and the intent is for the ‘new” Healing Wave to be the shaman’s go-to heal. Lesser Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave will be used on a more situational basis.

Unleash Weapon (level 81): Unleashes the power of your weapon enchants for additional effects (see below). A dual-wielding Enhancement shaman will activate the effects of both of their weapon enchants. Instant cast. 30-yard range. 15-second cooldown. Undispellable.

Here are a few examples of effects we’re considering for this ability:

  • Windfury Weapon – Hurls a spectral version of your weapon at a target, dealing 50% weapon damage and increasing the shaman’s Haste for the next five swings.
  • Flametongue Weapon – Deals instant Fire damage and buffs the shaman’s next Fire attack by 20%.
  • Earthliving Weapon – Heals the target slightly and buffs the shaman’s next healing spell by 20%.


Healing Rain (level 83): An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown.

Spiritwalker’s Grace (level 85): When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possibly even by your own attacks. This will give shaman of all three specs another way to heal or do damage when it’s necessary to move in both PvE and PvP. Instant cast. 10-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to adding new spells, we’re planning to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics you’re familiar with. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.

  • Restoration shaman and other healing classes will need to pay attention to mana more than they’ve had to during Wrath of the Lich King. Spirit will be the Restoration shaman’s primary mana-regeneration stat.
  • We’re making changes to which classes and specs are able to dispel magic, diseases, curses, and poison, largely for PvP purposes. Shaman will have Cleanse Spirit as a baseline ability, but it will only remove curses. Restoration shaman will have a talent that will improve Cleanse Spirit so that it also removes magic. Shaman will no longer be able to remove poison.
  • Cleansing Totem will be removed from the game, as we want dispels to be a decision for players, not something done mindlessly. To that end, all dispels will cost slightly more mana, and you will waste the spell if you cast it when there is nothing to remove. (Currently, the dispel is only cast when there is something to remove, which encourages spamming ‘just in case.”) We will balance PvE dispelling with this new model in mind.
  • Totem of Wrath now will replace Flametongue Totem for all shaman, and dropping this totem will buff the group’s spell power by 4%. Elemental shaman will have a talent that lets all Fire totems provide +10% spell power, allowing them to drop Searing, Magma, or Fire Elemental Totems without losing their spell-damage buff. The 4% and 10% buffs will be exclusive with each other and with the warlock’s Demonic Pact, so you can’t benefit from all of them at once. We’re also considering letting Elemental drop Searing Totem at range.
  • We want to free up Enhancement global cooldowns to make the spec more dynamic to play. We’re considering, for example, increasing the cooldown of Lava Lash so shaman have time to work other interesting abilities into their rotation.

New Talents and Talent Changes

  • Elemental Reach will be simplified so shaman have a more consistent spell range.
  • We plan to add Earthquake as a deep Elemental talent for targeted and persistent AoE.
  • Spirit Link will likely be worked back into deep Restoration in some form. The idea is that you will be able to link targets together so they share damage. When we had previously tried to implement Spirit Link, it was hard to balance and a little confusing. However, we really liked the concept — and so did players — so we are trying to bring it back.
  • Elemental will have a deep talent that allows Spirit (which will appear on the gear they share with Restoration shaman) to boost their Hit rating.
  • Ancestral Knowledge will boost mana pool size, not Intellect.
  • Enhancing Totems will be replaced with Focused Strikes, which will improve the damage of the new spell Primal Strike and Stormstrike.
  • With the Mastery system, we’re also considering removing a number of talents that grant passive bonuses, such as Mental Quickness, Improved Windfury Totem, Mental Dexterity, Call of Thunder, Tidal Mastery, Purification, Nature’s Blessing, and others, to allow players more freedom to choose more interesting talents.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Restoration

  • Healing
  • Meditation
  • Deep Healing


Deep Healing: Your direct heals will do more healing when the target’s health is lower. This will scale to damage (e.g. someone at 29% health would receive more healing than someone at 30%) rather than have arbitrary break points.

We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.

General changes

Primal strike is awesome. Seriously, after two expansions someone finally noticed that leveling as “melee” spec of our class is pretty much autoattack, earthshocking and the odd lighting bolt here and there. Great way to finally make enhancement a more fun spec. It’s only one button to push, but it’s great button. Especially if it’s strike as it will give you something to add to ES cooldown on finishing a mob before it runs to the hills and pulls the rest of his very deadly level 20 naga / bristleback / gnoll / skeleton buddies.

Fire totem changes – we are all getting a totem that scales with gear. Yay go us! Let’s hope it will increase it by % of the target’s spellpower, not % of the casters. Then we are pretty much in the same situation as retadins were at the start of Wrath of the Lich King when we retadins in big raids had to compare our attack power values and take major buffs with highest uptime into consideration when deciding who will do Judgement of Light. Great point for Elemental shamans in providing 10% spell power on any fire totem – I know how much our elemental shammy whines not being able to pop any other totem just to secure group buff. In Cataclysm, he will be!

Enhancement shaman global cooldown cleanup. Don’t you say. That is totally welcome change, especially if you won’t be punished by not sticking countless spells in the created gaps and it will give you more time to actually lead the raid.

*random daily full of retards took place here. Swearing and a little note to Crushridge players will be place at the bottom

Healing related changes

Okay, we get once again the meme about dispel mechanics changes and that healing itself will change in Cataclysm. Healing change is definitely something we are all as healers looking for, dispel mechanics change is no world breaker, especially if they will make magic the only (mainly) used spell mechanic of Cataclysm boss fights.

Healing Wave (the new one) – a healing spell we are supposed to go to? So are they removing Chain Heal or something? Okay, seriously though, spell I go to nowadays is overhasted LHW. I guess with the new healing changes and healthpool shifts, this new Healing Wave will supply the % healing of current LHW, whereas LHW will be just short snipe heal to streamline and top raid in leisure time.

Unleash Weapon - another short time boost cooldown. So far it looks to me like what Riptide with 2T10 does now, well sort of. Once in 15 seconds we are able to waster our global cooldown for heal of unknown amount (my guess is that the direct portion will be equivalent to what Riptide can do on direct heal in T10 content). Fancy stuff that will most likely be worked into our rotations in order to make it more interesting!

Healing Rain – Ahem. Short cooldown for rather awesome spell. Wonder where the catch is. Presuming it will cost not load, but truckload of mana. Something like your mana bar plus all your mana you took into the fight on the cart you drag behind you. Or it will heal for some ridiculously amount. Or both. But sure, tranquility looks cool enough to pop such spell just for sheer fun.

Spiritwalker’s Grace – Oh my god yes! Yes yes yes! We got a mobility healing. Cooldown only, a longer cooldown only spell, but definitely a huuuuge improvement. I’d kill for having that on Firefighter progress when last phase just got wildly out of hands. This is something I am looking forward to really really much and I think we will soon get spoiled by this spell to the point when we will demand it to move out of cooldown, out of global cooldown and to cost no mana. You katanow, a reasonable demands.

Spirit Link - the very old timer and classic shaman healing spell is having a come back. Not sure what form and how useful it will be in the end, but it’s definitely something that brings the “shaman” back to shamaning. Or something. I gotta admit I never played with Spirit Link, Rahana is quite fresh and new Shaman when it comes to that, but I’ve heard the tales. I would love to see it and try it out.

Ancestral Knowledge - not increasing Intellect but mana pool size is quite logical and the only possible change that could come with the rework of stats for Cataclysm. So it’s no big surprise. Or is it? Is it? No, it isn’t. Muhai.

Talent masteries

So, the three masteries were revealed and we can look at those:

  • Healing
  • Meditation
  • Deep Healing

Healing: A passive increase of healing. This will pretty much be the base mastery of all healing classes and specs in my opinion, nothing to see here, move along.

Meditation: Hm. Strange name. I guess it will have something to do with mana returns or interrupt prevention, what do you think?

Deep Healing: Our direct healing will do more healing to targets low on health, which is kinda nice. Will make us for great tank healers pulling off saves when targets are on low health. As well, imagine the outburst of Chain Heal on low health targets. For example, you know you’d love this on Stinky. However, it would have to be imba boosting to healing as final tier of masteries.

Well kids, that’s it at first glance. Wonder how many of these things will get a total revamp for Cataclysm, what will get boosted and nerfed and what will end up. So, how do you like these changes? Excited? Bored? Pissed off?

Random dungeon shout outs!

Seriously, I don’t know what is up with EU-Crushridge realm and I am sorry to any people who are actualy normal and play there, but every single moron I met in PUG on my Deathknight came from Crushridge. Tanks dropping group mid  first pull with “lolnoob”, healers absolutely not capable of anything, one or two of the fail hunters, all from there. And well, fuck the fact they were failing their play. But they were acting like absolute and total jackasses. Seriously, I am scared anytime I see a Crushridger in my group now. Once again sorry to those who play there and know what they are doing, or are at least polite and intelligent beings.

Second shout out goes to Löládin from Dunemaul who tanked Old Kingdom for me. It was the very first tank that cleared full instance, not even thinking about skipping anything. So kudos, it’s rare thing to see in PUG!


Cataclysm dispel mechanics, being carried and guest posters?

Hello there. In case you live in a cave or under a rock somewhere, there has been quite some blue activity over the easter weekend. We got announcement about some Cataclysm shaman revelations (tomorrow) – don’t be too excited though, there are three specs to be covered in that release, so I don’t think we will get anything more than “we were thinking” and “we might implement” but whatever! It’s shaman news for god’s sake! Rejoice!

Cataclysm change of dispels

Second news that popped up was about change of dispel mechanics in Cataclysm. And yes, we are getting huge overhaul there and although it brings one good thing, as a whole it’s shit. Yes. My OCD hates it. Hate hate hate. With passion. Anyways, here’s the blue:

We wanted to introduce some of the changes to dispel mechanics coming in Cataclysm. Our goals were to make dispelling a little less trivial to do in PvP, and to make sure there is more equity in dispel capabilities among healers in both PvP and PvE.

Within the system, there are currently five types of dispellable (or curable) buffs and debuffs: curse, disease, poison, defensive magic, and offensive magic. An example of defensive magic dispelling would be using a dispel to free a polymorphed ally, while offensive magic dispelling would be utilizing a dispel ability to strip away an enemy’s buff or heal-over-time (HoT) spell. The main distinction between these two types is in whether or not you can target an enemy with your dispel.

In Cataclysm each healing class will be getting three out of the five types of dispels, with one of these always being a defensive dispel magic. This design makes sure that finding a healer with the ability to remove magic isn’t restrictive in building teams for Arenas or rated Battlegrounds. It also allows the encounter designers to assume, when designing dungeon or raid fights, that every group can dispel magic.

In addition, we’re making the opportunity cost (what the player could have accomplished with different actions) for dispelling a bit steeper. We think the cost is too low for three reasons: 1) The actual mana cost is low. 2) You never waste a dispel. If you try to dispel a debuff that isn’t there then the dispel just won’t go off. 3) We have spells that remove debuffs with minimal input on the part of the player. In Cataclysm we are raising the mana costs, making it possible to waste mana by casting a dispel when there is nothing to dispel, and removing Cleansing Totem, Abolish Disease, and Abolish Poison from the game. With these changes in mind, we are working to plan dungeon and raid encounters where dispels aren’t in constant demand or spammed in order to be successful, though some need for dispels will still be a part of the design.

As previously mentioned, we are providing three dispel capabilities to all healing classes as follows:

  • Druids will be able to dispel defensive magic, curses, and poison.
  • Paladins will be able to dispel defensive magic, diseases, and poison.
  • Priests will be able to dispel defensive magic, offensive magic, and disease.
  • Shaman will be able to dispel defensive magic, offensive magic, and curses.


There is some trade-off that is being made in making these changes and we wanted to expand on this further.

  • Protection and Retribution paladins will lose their current ability to dispel magic.
  • All shaman will lose dispel disease and dispel poison in exchange for Restoration gaining dispel magic.
  • Restoration shaman, Restoration druids, and Holy paladins will need to talent into their defensive magic dispels.
  • Shadow priests won’t be able to remove disease in Shadowform.
  • Mage, hunter, and warlock will retain their current dispel mechanics.
  • Body and Soul remains the same, and basically any dispel mechanic not mentioned above is currently planned to remain as it is.
  • When possible, we’d like to combine dispels into a single action. For example, the druid ability to dispel curses and poisons might be a single spell with a Restoration talent that also allows it to dispel magic. This part of the design isn’t finalized, however.


As with all of our Cataclysm previews, keep in mind that any of these decisions could change when we’re in beta.

Okay, where to start. Right… dispelling magic as a Shaman. Sure, why not. Loosing a poison and disease dispel as a trade off? That’s not a trade off, that’s rip off. Please stay the fuck away from my class. I mean, come on. We can stop playing World of Warcraft and start playing “Be a Triangle in Random Enviroment”. It’s World of Warcraft we are playing in. You know,  lore, history and all that jazz. How the hell can possibly a Shaman, entity close to elements be dispelling magic? Poison and disease as a nature-based class, sure. Remove curse as a healer? Well, fine. But magic? As a trade off for poison and disease? No. Just no. Not to mention most dps offspecs get shafted by all healers getting dispel magic.
Gimme all the “It also allows the encounter designers to assume, when designing dungeon or raid fights, that every group can dispel magic.” crap you want Blizzard, but this change is nothing but yet another PvP “balancing” fucked up nonsense that will, yet again, hurt PvE enjoyment and diversity of the classes. Everyone needs a magic dispel in arena for Cataclysm, every team has to have healer, so everyone is happy, amirite? No. There are still players who don’t step into arena ever and people who do it because they got really bored of sticking their fingers in their nostrils while doing fuck all standing in Dalaran.

And for the record, I am not even that much enraged about loosing the dispel capabilities but the obvious reasons it’s made for and that it really kills some aspect of PvE. So now what? There will be no poison / disease / curse debuffs in boss fights in order to ensure there are no comp restrictions? Bullshit.

But let’s not smacktalk – I like the point they are making about dispel mechanics and mana cost. It’s another small thing to distinguish good and bad healers by giving them one more thing to care about. So sure bring that change in, looking forward to it. It will definitely make it way more interesting. Too bad Cleansing Totem will get the boot for this change. I really love that bugger. I call him Fred and everytime I go to sleep I lock him in a closet in Exodar so no one steals him. R.I.P. Fred. In the light of this blue post, I am getting a bit scared about what will they come up tomorrow. Fred gone, dispel magic, spirit on gear…

*shivers*

Rahana’s PUG karma is BoA!

Before we move on any further I have this shout out to make. My Deathknight hit 80 over the weekend and is running wild through heroics to get her first piece of T9, her RP background and nature is getting a shape too and since there is no raiding planned on her, she is working her way to Explorer while waiting for heroic groups. Sorry, I derailed myself. Back on to the shout out:

People, don’t be bad.

And I bloody mean it. I met four hunters in heroics yesterday. Three of them were somewhere on the scale between bad and pathetic. 600ish, 870ish and 1250ish dps does not cut it in heroic. Especially if the tank is moron that can’t use TC and tanks through taunt and the best dps clocks at 2000-2200ish. Why do you even enter heroics with such play? Gear won’t help you! Go learn your class a bit. I don’t really want you to do more than 2000ish dps overall, but if you can’t, go do normals or quest or whatever.

On opposite note – being carried and knowing it feels lame. Even if the people carrying you are cool about it and cheer you up. I got into DTK heroic with these three folks from the same guild – a bear, a retadin and a fury warrior. I didn’t inspect the bear, in fact I didn’t inspect anyone, but from first glance those people were packed in 251+ items. Despite the Bear’s efforts to pull the instance at once, I got troubles to get anything else out than Icy Touch and Plague Strike. I didn’t even get to Pestilence because the mob was dead by then.  I was feeling this -><- small and halfway through the instance I offered to stop dps, strip down and break out pom-poms. I was feeling terrible. I managed to do 2.4K dps overal  a number I’d be fucking proud of in my average pugs but I got the awful feeling of fail compared to others. Kudos to those cheery folks who carried my ass through there, your not-bitching and sportsmanship should be long time remembered.

And I managed to get a helmet with metagem and activate it. Long live blacksmithing!

Guest posters?

And a little something I was thinking about for some time now – I hear it a lot around and often in SAN chat that people want to start blogging, just not being all sure about it and you name it. We were all there, some of us just jumped the deep waters and started swimming but I am as well sure the blogosphere is missing out on some awesome posts from people who give up at the sight of doing all the prep work before you even know you’ll get any readers or anything.

For that very reason, I am offering a guest post spots to those who would like to try it out. To go public and see what people say about it. I am no Tamarind or Larísa to get you thousands of views, but there is stable base of readers (love you all) and it’s a good place to start.

There are no rules – it does not have to be about Shamans or raiding, the only condition is that it probably should be something I’d post, not interfering with the general feel of the blog. If this blog has anything like that.

Feel free to send me your posts, drafts or just ideas to work out with me either at my profile mail, or for those who have troubles clicking through my username, you can e-mail me directly at probebu [at] gmail.com


Operation: Rahana’s blues

After this terrible Nexus PUG experience I got yesterday, I made up my mind to actually go and do the experiment I had in mind before. Being sick and tired of carrying people’s asses through content without them at least pretending to be trying (I don’t mind carrying undergeared people who perform up to their gear capabilities), people not bother to gem or enchant, I decided to undergo this undercover operation. Let’s call it for the sake of terminology:

Operation Rahana’s Blues

What is it about? Over the upcoming week, I will gather and gear myself in blue quality gear from end-game normal instances and heroics. If I am lucky enough, I will equip said gear by next weekend, and I mean full blue gear and I will PUG. I am thinking about the sample of 10-15 heroic instances as a healer to not only see if I can still make them in lower quality gear than I am used to and especially, how will people react to such “undergeared scrublol” healing their instances. I will do my part, but I will get carried. Okay. Before we break down the rules, let me share the bloody Nexus heroic I did as a daily yesterday.

Nexus heroic is srz bussiness

It is. So here I am, loading screen of Nexus, thinking to myself what a great place to be, getting some heirloom badges and my daily portion of Frosts. The party looked great too – paladin, warrior, death knight and a hunter. Add my shaman totems to the mix and here we go, faceroll party milling enemies into dust. I couldn’t be more wrong. By the looks of it, the random members were sporting T9 and epics all over which made them slightly less awesome than me flashing my T10 all over the place and well being the cool kid and all. And then the fun started. First off, aggro was all over the place. Which was kinda strange given that highest dps was 2.2K overall done by the warrior with the tank sporting 1.7K dps overall as second on meters. Have you now gotten the general idea of the group? Fine, moving on. Somehow we managed to pull additional group to Commander Kolurg group despite Tremor totem. Which actually happens sometimes and well, it startled me a bit. Pause on healing for 5 seconds and then pushing in macroed Chain Heal and healing like madman. The interesting thing was that the tank had obviously no intention to pick the loose mobs – healing that thing with two rangers darting me is quite some fun, but nothing I’d like to do with PUG. Kudos to the hunter who sent his dinosaur to roflstomp and tank the berserk bashing on me.  Moving on. I must admit, I wasn’t doing my best healing on the next mobs as I was engaged in guild and other chats. However, without any prior notice, the tank run past corner, took the group in front of Grand Mage Telestra and took her for good measure too. Yeah, that’s pretty much how you do it all the time, but well, usually with heads up and not so poorly performing party. She died, I popped trinket and MTT to replenish myself, moving on. We killed the first draconian group on platform, second with the rift too. We are ready to jump down to tickle the wraiths when all of a sudden, this pops in party chat:

[P] [Karno-Shattered Hand]: fucking retarded noobs go fuck urself hahahahah!

A player has left your… Wait what? And yes, this was the tank. I seriously have no idea what made him to call us retarded noobs. No one died, stuff although slowly still died and the party chat was silent. Now, I am absolutely against Naming and Shaming, but this guy deserves all of it. Out of curiosity, I armoried him later. This is his protection build. Reckoning maxed out and no JoJ or Touched by the Light. Go figure. Now before you go bash on me – I don’t mind anyone in wrong spec or gear as long as they can somehow fill their role and don’t act like utter douchebags. Which this paladin did. The douchebag part I mean. Well, so there we were, four players without a tank, four minutes on debuff. The arms warrior was a good sport though and after I told him to “just go ahead and pull” he bladestormed our way through trash. As we were killing last trash before Anomalus, a druid joined us. Sprinted in, buffed us with cheap buffs (d’oh) and started tanking the boss. I had to swallow the urge to ask him why he is in kitty gear (he had 30K bear hp) and went on to heal him. Truth be told, he ate quite some ES charges. And now the fun part – NO ONE, and by that I mean no one in caps and bold, bothered to kill the rifts. Or the spawned adds. Without saying anything or moving, they just proceeded bashing on to Anomalus when he was immune, obviously not paying attention to the amount of damage incoming on the whole party. And they died. I say they, because I managed to save the hunter who took advantage of FD and pet tanked the boss and the little myself. After we killed the boss, I was getting a bit pissed off, really. Come on. If you want to do it achievement style, say so we can work it out. The only thing that made me not to drop the group was that fact that no one dared to bitch about dying. That would probably made me shit nuclear mushroom clouds. Anyways, moving on after another set of small buffs. All went rather fine, although by reaching the ramp to Ormorok the Tree-Shaper I got kinda annoyed that I am tanking the small saplings without anyone bothering to kill them off. The greatest shock came on the last pull of the patrol going around Ormorok. I launched a heal five seconds into the fight. When I did, my screen flashed, the omen sound indicating you are failing your aggro management resonated in the room as two centaurslashtree things happily walking to hug me hoping for the some quality time together. Dino to the rescue, again. I am starting to like the hunter. Well, to close the story, I really stopped healing after Keristarza dropped dead and just watched people going low with the stacked debuff. I was just too tired to be nice. And the hunter needed on the mail boots that were, actually, an upgrade. In retrospective I had to admit the hunter rocked. Only T9 he had were shoulders, rest was blue stuff. He was BM with the big Dinosaur pet and that evil thing was constantly saving my ass gnawing on anything that as much as looked at me. So although he pulled “just” 2K dps in the end, he was one of the better players you meet in PUGs. Completely exhausted, I decided to do this social experiement.

Operation: Rahana’s blues

As I said, the aim of this operation is to test how are the PUG waters for newbie healers. In order to somehow compensate for my experience, I decided not to take any epic item for the set, limiting myself to original heroic drops maximum. I will however do my gearing properly, which means rare quality gems and solid enchantst, as would anyone who cares about gear but plans on quick replacement. I will hide all my fancy kill titles and make an opening macro line of being new healer and asking people to have patience.

And I can’t wait to see myself fail. I am horrified how I will do – because seriously, there is definitely a difference between the comfort level of my gear as it is to some bluish starter gear. But I hope it will be fun as well, to actually test how I’d do in the hostile world, beating not only mechanics, but the moronic GearScore as well.

If anyone feels like trying this out with me, you are most welcome. Go for it, try it, send me an email how it was. Let’s see if we can cheat the system with low GS!

The gear so far:

[Frozen Forest Kilt]

[Moragg's Chestguard]

I plan to get the trinket from heroic HoS, crafted Saronite shield and the Grizzly Hills PvP totem. If you can save me time looking through loot tables, do you still recall where the starter/blue gear drops? Quests are unfortunately, not an option.


Halls of Reflection

Okay kids, I told you the story of how to clear Forge of Souls and Pit of Saron. What I didn’t tell you is that the last dungeon of this trinity will cost you your sanity. You know, back in 2010, Halls of Reflection were pretty much THE shit to do if you were hardcore enough. And I should really drop my How I Met Your Mother marathons. Anyways, Halls of Reflection.

*just an insert – names used for this guide are Alliance related. So if you play Horde, please replace Jaina with Sylvanas. Thank you.

Halls of Reflection is pretty short and not large dungeon, all there worth it is the wipe ensuring first room with two bosses, a little “woo I am a giant and I will stomp you” intermezzo and then the hasty escape from Lich King himself aka we’re not retreating we are just advancing in opposite direction.

Generally, this instance is pain to heal. It’s a bit better as a shaman, but still probably the most fucked place to heal. I even recall arguing with my real life friend who said it was harder to tank it than heal it (bear) and then went on to try and heal it on his paladin. He said that he can tank it any day, but he’s never going to heal it again. Take that with grain of salt though, as I can’t imagine worse class to heal here with than holy paladin.

The first room encounter

As soon as you enter, you will stand in a hallway entering this round room with two alcoves to the left and right. In middle of the room is an altar. There is this sissy human mage Jaina Proudmoore too who will start the encounter. The encounter starts with Lich King coming in and retrieving his Frostmourne in order to kick ass and take names in Icecrown Citadel later on and is not part of the encounter. The ghosts and champions he makes to spawn however are. These ghosts spawned around the room will in waves attack you. There is a grand total of 10 waves, wave 5 and 10 being boss fights (Dark Portal, Violet Hold). There are three usual ways how to deal with the waves, the door tactic, the middle tactic and the alcove tactic. I will break these down in a second with their pros and cons. Now though, let’s look at the mobs we will be healing against:

  • Ghostly priest: Shadow Word: Pain: 2,500 shadow damage every 2 seconds for 8 sec. Circle of Destruction: : 3,194-3,806 shadow AoE + knockback. Cower in Fear: 4 second fear. Dark Mending: Heal for 51-59k; these chaps don’t pose direct threat, you have to consider the SW:P healing, but other than that they are rather paper dolls and burn quickly. Lower priority.
  • Phantom Mage: Human. Fireball: 6175-6825 fire. Flamestrike: 5625-5375 + 8000 over 8 seconds. Frostbolt: 5225-5775 frost. Chains of Ice: 6 sec root. Hallucination: Summons in a hallucination with same health as mage. Mages are quite annoying depending on tactics. They either are all over the place nuking everything, or spamming your space with Flamestrikes. Worth to be on the look out of them and Wind Shear them to tank. Medium priority.
  • Phantom Hallucination: Human. Summoned by the mage at ~50% with same health/abilities as mage. Explodes for 10k damage when killed. Annoying bastards these guys. If you are lucky, those tend to spawn when there is quite some control of the fight established. Medium priority.
  • Shadowy Mercenary: Human rogue. Deadly Poison: 1065 nature every 3 sec for 12 seconds. Shadowstep: 7,000 damage. Envenomed Dagger Throw: 1065 nature/3 sec, -15% movement speed for 12 sec. Kidney Shot – 3 sec stun. Probably the most annoying feckers in the packs. Shadowsteps, rolling poisons and debuffs those should die first. Cleansing totem pwns for those bastards!
  • Spectral Footman: Human warrior. Spectral Strike: 100% weapon damage, ignores armor. Shield Bash: 20% weapon damage, 4 second interrupt. Tortured Enrage: +100% melee attack speed for 8 sec. Those keep pretty much just bashing on the tank so they are not that much annoying. Two of those at the same time can give you hard time with tank healing though, so pay attention! Medium priority, they often die in the collateral dps.
  • Tortured Rifleman: Dwarf hunter. Shoot: 4163-4837 damage. Cursed Arrow: +50% incoming magical damage for 15 sec. Ice Shot: 5700-6300 damage, 2 sec stun. Frost Trap. Avoid the traps, and watch out for the debuffs – the cursed arrow makes the mages suddenly deadly. If people can move and don’t do stupid things, these aren’t as dangerous. Medium to Low priority.

Okay. That’s the first room mobs. Before we start on the three tactics, please bear in mind using Crowd Control on this fight does not make you a wuss, it makes you survive. Do not be shy to ask for CC, traps, shackles, repentances, ask the dps DK to yank strain casters. Most importantly, don’t panic. Especially waves 7-9 are hard as hell to heal through, you will fall behind on global cooldowns and people might die. It happens. Prioritize your heals, do your best. But don’t panic. Now, the tactics.

The Door Tactic:

The very early tactic. It’s quite simple as to the idea of it – everyone stands near the entrance to the room and with smart use of interrupts and CC the mobs come in. You nuke those that come and then run out after the CCed or not pulled in range are to be nuked. Collapse back and repeat. It works well for the first four pulls and if people get into the right pace and do okay with the CC and interrupts there is good chance you will manage through waves 6-9. The pros are having enough open space and room to manoeuvre, the cons are the need of CC and lack of any LoS breakers.

The Alcove Tactic

Probably the safest, bruteforce tactic. Everyone hides around the corner of the alcove. With people disciplined enough, you are able to pull everything in melee range (which almost never happens as people tend to break the LoS cover upon first contact with enemy). This is tactic that will make us shine as you can squeeze the maximum juice from your Chain Heal, everyone is in range of totems and there is way less CC or interrupting needed to get some control in. However, staying in such tight spot means not much room to move and that you will have to move often, as all the AoE will land and cover more than half of the alcove. Pros: easiest to bruteforce, natural LoS breakers, allows for easy force-control of encounter. Cons: Little room to move, lots of AoE flying down and damage at the same time. And it’s the most boring one, all you do  is spam heal without much thoughts, just to keep everyone topped off.

The Altar tactic

This is the most advanced and fun tactic that relies on everyone’s skill and ability to max out their performance. Usually prefered by warrior tanks due to their extreme mobility. As you probably guessed, the tactic is about keeping everyone in the middle and rounding up the mobs or killing them as they stand. Now, this needs great tank first and foremost. The tank must be able to pick up everything, there must not be any loose aggro. However, it’s really the most fun you can get out of the encounter and I suggest you try it in guild run or something if you already haven’t. A very important note – the little moronic altar serves as LoS breaker – which is great to pull mobs close but not so great when it cancels out your heals. Have that in mind. Pros: Lots of room to breathe and most fun. Cons: You really need good party to pull this off. If you’d compared this tactic to the alcove one, it’s like comparing heart surgery to wood chopping.

Frost resistance and Cleansing totems are great help here if you have no other means of Frost resistance. Nature resistance totem is optional.

Fine, that’s waves tactics. Let’s see the two champions we will fight there too. Repeating again, instead of Wave 5, Falric will come. That’s the one on the left side. Ending the encounter instead of Wave 10, Marwyn will come. That’s the one on the right side.

Falric

Falric is the annoying guy. You can’t counter any of his abilities so all you gotta do is to heal like mad to compensate. The main annoying mechanic of the fight is Hopelesness – a stacking spell that reduces damage and healing done by party members by 25%, stacking up to 75%. Which means your heals will be miserable at the end of the fight. He does an instant strike at tank reducing tank’s dodge chance by 20% (magical debuff), a stun that if not dispelled will make you cower in fear for another 6 seconds and the very annoying fear (Tremor does not work) that will spread people all over the place and make them almost dead. You have to heal that up as soon as possible. If you can’t, prioritize. You, tank, best dps. It’s okay if people die as long as it’s not a wipe. There will be time to ress and drink after fight. Heroism is quite a good idea here as you really want to max out the dps to counter the buff. Don’t forget Healing Stream totem.

Marwyn

This boss is quite fun really. Your party needs to be spot on about moving from void zones, as they quite hurt and there already is enough to heal in the fight. Again, he does Obliterate which is instant strike supposedly to hit for 30K on heroic (before armor I believe). As mentioned above, he will spawn small purple circles, just move away and throw a little heal on people who moved out. The fun abilities are Corrupted Flesh, which is a debuff lowering target’s hitpoints to 50% – can be cast on anyone. Second is Shared suffering, a shadow debuff dealing 10K damage every 3 seconds for 12 seconds. It’s healable through and can be dispelled, when dispelled all party members share the remaining damage. Use your own judgement on dispelling the thing – if tank has debuff and there is obliterate coming, you can’t nuke heal two targets at once, so just dispel, save tank and then save the party.  Again, put a Healing Stream totem for a good use here.

Gatekeeper intermezzo

So, after you killed Marwyn, ressed, buffed and refreshed, you are ready to head deeper into the instance. Up front you see Jaina fighting Lich King but before you reach them, you need to kill Frostsworn General. This is huge Vrykul giant that will A) throw a shield with stun at random party member sweeping everything on it’s way, so spread mmkay? and B) summon a mirrors of your party that explode when you kill them. So stay spread, mmkay?. Anyways, this is easy but rather long encounter – the twat has like 440K hitpoints plus the images. Quick spot on healing and some chain soothing when mirrors explode, what up?

Lich King gauntlet

When you arrive to room with Lich King, feel free to whack him for good measure, chances are you won’t be able to punch him in Icecrown Citadel for quite a while. After few seconds, Jaina will Iceblock him or whatever and nudge you to leave. She will then stand near the exit from the room and wait for you to talk to her to start the encounter. So take it easy, eat up, drink up, iron your kilt and polish your shield, this will be a bumpy ride. You will run on this ledge trying to escape Lich King who will pursue you and launch waves of his undead minions at you. While Jaina breaks the Ice walls that he will spawn to block your way, your task is to keep party alive while they sort our the adds. If at any point Lich King catches up, game over. Oh and for god’s sake, don’t try if there is “invisible wall” at the edge of the ledge. There isn’t. Trust me, saw it happen. The rogue missed his Frosts that run. Okay, let’s see the adds:

  • Raging Ghoul: is a ghoul. So it is very likely to come in large packs, hit like baby on steroids, leap and well serve mostly as rage / proc build up till some serious stuff comes.
  • Risen Witch Doctor: is a nnoying. Ranged caster, shadow bolts and shadow bolt volleys. Especially tha later ones hurt a lot and having two overlapping is almost end to the party. Pay attention to the volleys and lock on secondary Witch Doctor to Wind Shear the crap out of him. These have to be killed first, as there is the highest risk Arthas will catch up with you on them.
  • Lumbering Abomination: is a bomination. It does cleave so no one but tank should stand in front of them and they should be faced away from party. Moreover, they do this diseasy belch that hits enemies in their frontal cone. What was it? Oh yes. Keep those turned away. Cleansing totem helps if you don’t have better results with Healing Stream (ie if only tank is getting belches, HST wins. If dps is retarded, you need more cleansing).

If I recall correctly, there will be four walls coming up. Save heroism for third or fourth, as you should not have problems earlier. Yes, as anywhere else, the waves get stronger and stronger, and even if you pop heroism halfway through last wall, it will still be used to the fullest. Once the last wall is down, get the hell away and enjoy the cut scene.

Congratulations, you just completed the current hardest heroic out there. Be proud! Learn from your mistakes and stop shaking. You did it!

And can anyone explain to me how come a few boulders can stop Arthas from kicking our asses all over Icecrown? Seriously, what is he thinking there?

“Crap, boulders. Now I am fucked. Oh well, let’s get cup of warm cocoa.”

Man up for god’s sake.


Pit of Saron, mon!

Moving on! Yesterday a first instance guide for the Icecrown Citadel was posted here (omigod really???) and by now we reached then end of Forge of Souls and are ready to jump through the pink swirly thing called portal and voila, here you are. Or there.

Pit of Saron

Pit of Saron is open-air instance featuring Saronite mines and Saronite miners, drakes and bosses. The single most important thing about that fact is that you can mount up and stroll around on your pretty mounts. Which as well means that often your tank will be way ahead of you getting himself killed while you still look around and do “ooooh” sounds about the instance. Be prepared! Let’s go with some general tips for the instance:

  1. There is really no need to play any other Water totem than Cleansing. And even if you do, it’s highly advised to use it on the upward slope after Ick and Krick. The mobs do some heavy fire damage and put up diseases, so both counter-totems compete for a Water slot, however from my experience even with lack of other source of fire resistance, the disease hurts more and you want Cleansing there
  2. Speaking about the slope, it’s the part with the highest wipe percentage of the whole place – you start with heavy nuke adds spread around (half of them casters) and the dps usually goes all out and someone often pulls two groups. In such cases, be prepared to loose people or wipe. It’s not your fault. It’s just tough to heal.
  3. There isn’t really much of your non-healing spells to utilize, all dispelling will be done by totem and there really is no need for interrupts or purges, but at times the healing will be pretty intensive. This instance does not test your all-round shaman skills like Forge of Souls, it will test your spot-on healing and judgement. And cooldowns. Don’t forget cooldowns!
  4. Seriously, if you don’t have Nature’s Switftness and Tidal Force macroed together and keybound in convenient place, do so now. For real.

Okay. That’s pretty much it I guess. There are no significant mobs or situations to pay attention to. Well maybe the dragon riders who tend to throw their axes around make them spin and chop. But if you have eyes those shouldn’t pose a threat to your group at all.

Forgemaster Garfrost

Okay, this boss is pretty much retard check. You’d say that the concept of breaking line of sight to clear debuff is quite simple, yet people fail it. Rule of thumb – people with more than 12 stacks don’t deserve heals. Especially if healing them puts the tank in danger. On the other hand, if you let them die, you’ll be called names. Get used to it, it happens.

  • Forgemaster is a Deathknight that will run away to runeforge his weapon to deal more frost damage. It happens at 66% and 33% of his health. You won’t notice the difference on decently geared tank though. He will run away at that point, and two things happen – wise people hide behind boulder, braindead startle after him to dps!
  • The main mechanics of the fight is the Permafrost. A stacking DoT debuff (similar to Keristarzsa in Nexus) that does not break with moving, but by breaking line of sight with boss. You do that by hiding behind Saronite boulders.
  • Time to time, he will happily toss huge Saronite boulder at random party member. It doesn’t do much damage, but it has some AoE knock back effect upon landing, so clear the area or get bounced. When you hide behind the boulder, your Permafrost stacks reset. Mind you, breaking LOS to boss means breaking LOS to tank!
  • Frost resistance is crucial. Do not hesitate to sacrifice the Flametongue spell power to Frost resistance, unless you have another source of Frost resistance present in group. Everything from boss direct attacks to Permafrost ticks deals frost damage here.
  • Oh, using Heroism is advised on this boss, I usually pop it after he gets his first rune weapon. It will fall off before you reach last boss.

Krick and Ick

After clearing all the slime-thing dragging abominations in area, you are facing Krick and Ick. Or, in short, the Ugly thing. By now either your whole party knows how to move out of slime poodles, or you know who is slacker and needs more healing. Make that mental note, it will be needed. This fight is shorter than Garfrost, but the Ugly thing’s abilities make it rather eventful. Get ready for some death blame if people fuck up. Happens here too.

  • As expected, he will spawn poison poodles all over the place. Move out or die, simple as that. The “acceptable” slack time is like two seconds. By that everyone should have spells finished and free to move. That as well means  quick LHWs might be needed to cover this slack.
  • He does this funny Pursuit thing – he will target random party member and start pursuing them (who would’ve guessed), increasing his damage but decreasing his speed. Why is that important to you? I’ve seen tanks taunt him back and tank him through that damage increase.
  • Poison Nova aka “just blame the healer if you are melee” ability. He will stop moving, attacking and everything and start casting Poison Nova. Yeah, your reflex is right. It’s NOVA spell so you get the hell away! It’s pretty much one-shot spell. And if the person caught in it survives by any chance, the following DoT component is bound to kill them. PS: Rogue’s Cloak of Shadow does not cut  it here. Just so you know.
  • The biggest test of your spot healing comes with this ability – Explosive barrage. To illustrate how it looks – he will start spawning growing arcane bubbles under every party member. Those bubbles grow while dealing damage to anyone near them and their only goal in their short lives is to explode and deal some more damage. Yeah. Staying away from those means pretty much constant movement. Fun fact: 8/10 dps personnel is absolutely sure this is healable through just fine and they don’t have to move more than once per two or three bubbles. Remember, you can’t heal stupidity. And even if you do, you will just end up blamed and tired.

Scourgelord Tyrannus

Hooray. After the upward slope pain and rushing through tunnel (seriously, the most entertaining parts of the instance, innit?) you end up on the terrace with Scourgelord Tyrannus flying around on Rimefang (‘scuse me but wtf is dat name?). Again, this is general awareness fight and does not need you to heal like mad. Or it does. The base mechanic of this fight is Overlord’s brand. Link-like spell that either reflects all damage back at the linked person, or heals the boss for amplified amount of your healing. Be ready to save the dps before they realize they got the debuff, but if they keep on going, feel free to let them die.

Correction as submitted by Rades – I am wrong, he is right!

Hi Blueberry, I’m pretty sure that the Overlord’s Brand does not reflect damage back to the Brand target, but rather any damage done by the Branded character gets reflected to Tyrannus’ target (the tank). It’s like the opposite of the Devourer of Souls debuff, except worse I guess – instead of lazy DPS blowing up a random teammate by mistake (Devourer) they instead blow up the tank…which means wipe.

(Really, it’s the same principle though for DPS. Got debuff? STOP ATTACKING! /sigh)

This fight needs quick judgement and reaction from you. If you get the Overlord’s brand, you need to renew ES on tank as quickly as possible and toss a Riptide on them which should cover it for the most part. Resist the urge to top everyone and the tank off during brand, rather think about your spell and target priority once the brand is gone. Same goes for when you are in tomb – if you get targeted, stay clear od others, ES+RT on tank and get tombed. First heal after tomb must always land on you.

  • Forceful Smash – instant melee attack that deals quite a lot damage and knocks the tank back. Is often followed by:
  • Unholy Power a self-buff that increases his damage done by 100% (which can be very lethal). By reaching the boss, you should have rough idea what you and the tank can take. Should either one of you be rather squishy, kiting during this buff is highly advised. And just in case, extreme single target spam should commence.
  • Rimefang, flying above you, will make the fight even more interesting. He will rain down snowballs that will deal damage and snare people in them, so you want to avoid those. He will as well target people to encase them in Ice tomb – those will have a hunter’s mark like icon above them. As far as I know, Ice tomb can be chained, so stay away from people getting in. It’s not really dangerous, a single RT before the impact will most likely do the trick.
  • Go heroism at the start (when he actually jumps down) and kick in fire elemental. Frost resistance is nice to have here, but not crucial. And healing stream totem smooths out the edges.

Congratulations, you just cleared Pit of Saron. I really hope there were no rough bumps along the way and if there were, take them easy. This is probably the first or second instance on the “just blame  it on healer” instance of all times. And don’t worry about lewt – Jaina will just port you to the cave for a while. Get ready to enter the mayhem of Halls of Reflection. Seriously, the place has Lich King and Frostmourne, it’s awesome place to be. Till you try healing it.


Forge of Souls

Right, I decided that after the last rant on the topic, I might as well give it a go and supply fresh restokins with a little piece of advice on these dungeons. So for now, we will let the best advice (Do not go there unless you have good non braindead group) be and let’s focus on the somehow useful info for the three instances.

As a general rule – be prepared to bring your best game. Things can go very messy all of a sudden even for skilled and guilded group, and it may get even worse with PuGs. Be prepared for some quick totem twisting, be ready to interrupt, purge, pre-heal, quickly responsively snipe-heal, be ready for big fluffy pink rabbits to be shooting from cannons at you. Okay, I made the rabbits up. But it may happen! I guess.

As well, for the purpose of this guide, we will assume that at least 2 of 3 dps you run with are either morons or undergeared. Or, in worst case, undergeared morons. Wait, that’s not the worst case. Worst case are undergeared morons who act like they are the single most important thing on Azeroth. And hate pink fluffy bunnies.

Forge of Souls

Forge of Souls is the first of the three dungeons you will encounter.  It’s the one you will really, really need to bring the best out of your situational awareness and support role and abilities. Here are some very basic guidelines what to expect in the instance:

  1. Packs of just two mobs with big kick ass axes tend to cast bubbles on themselves. These bubbles don’t absorb damage, they reflect spells. Your i232 arcane mage is completely able to immediately kill themselves halfway through Arcane Missiles. Whenever you see the shield coming up, quickly pay attention to any spells flying back into the ranged cluster, identify type of spell on the go and bomb that person with RT+LHWs. There is no time to waste.
  2. Packs of 3 or more adds nicely spread around will need your best interrupting possible. Help your tank to round them up, ask which one to bring close if you want to. Tanks will totally appreciate that. And it helps you. Seriously, it’s better if everyone eats the tank than if there is loose mob attacked by and attacking everyone. PS: Those packs are often packed with AoE damage, so feel free to position yourselves to max out the Chain Heal use (I often stand in melee to get the melee lazor heal and spot heal ranged, or the other way round if the party is full of ranged of course).
  3. There are these flying skulls that will aggro random person, follow them, stop and explode. It hurts. You can somehow avoid it by waiting for it to stop and start the explosion while you get away, however not many other people will. It is especially nasty if you get the explosion coupled with some AoE (see point 2), that’s when it gets pretty lethal.
  4. The spirits in the end of the instance are really, really nasty. AoE that hits quite a lot, the damage on tank is heavy as well and there is some decursing to be done. Stand in CH range to at least two people, else you won’t have enough time when it hit the fan.

Now, let’s do the bosses. There is pretty much nothing you can do about those bosses, it all depends on how the rest of the party controls the fight. Be prepared that in average PuG you will loose a person or two on the last boss and it will rarely be your fault. Don’t be dickward if it was your fault, but don’t take the blame for deaths you couldn’t prevent by any means.

Bronjahm

First boss in Forge of Souls essentially has two phases. It’s quite easy boss to do especially for a shaman healer, but it can get quite lengthy if the spawn control is not good enough. As well, remember to kick off your fire elemental and heroism in phase two. It won’t be ready for second, final boss, but using it there is suicide anyways.

  • Phase one is quite easy on you – all you have to heal is the damage being inflicted and if you have the global spare then throw a spell at the add to nuke it before it reaches Bronjahm.
  • The add: player with debuff called Corrupt Soul or something like that has to move away from the boss as far as possible and everyone should nuke the Soul when it makes its way back to boss. It will heal him for something like 120K, which is not really nice.
  • For phase two, everyone needs to hug the boss. If there is anyone who doesn’t do it, they deserve to die (as they mostly will even if you healed them like mad). Important is to heal people feared away, because the further from boss into the vortex they will run, the more damage they will take. The phase starts with him at 30% and emoting something, that’s when you come close, pop fire elemental, tremor totem and heroism.
  • A totem twisting is advised here. Flametogue – Earthbind (slows adds) + Tremor (fear for P2) – Healing Stream – Wrath of Air / Windfury depending on party.

Devourer of Souls

This boss can easily wipe your party if your dps left their brain at the door. It does shitloads of damage per se and to add to it, it shares damage with targeted person upon casting. Lucky for you, all these abilities are emoted by Devourer so you have time to prepare and they are as well quite visible not to miss them.

  • Phantom blast is spell cast on tank, can be interrupted and deals some 18Kish damage, shadow damage.
  • Well of Souls is created when the Devourer jumps over at someone and creates a purple poodle under them. The tick of the poodle on heroic is something between 4-5K shadow damage and kills quickly. Often is put under melee without boss being moved, be vocal!
  • Unleashed souls – Devourer spawns heckload of adds that will start munching on party. The best advice is to move away from any purple poodles, refresh Water Shield often and spot-heal everyone else. The only dangerous thing about this ability is that you might start to panic. Don’t, it looks worse than it really is.
  • Wailing souls is nice spell very similar to barrage that Mimiron does. What does it do then? Well the Devourer fixates himself in spot and direction, and starts turning around spraying the area in front of him with heavy shadow damage and knockback spell. Almost impossible to heal through, possible to save someone who is late on moving out.
  • Last but not least, the most important spell – Mirrored Soul. As you might’ve guessed, this is the shared damage spell. And if people don’t stop dps as soon as they see it, the targeted person is in trouble. You have to be really quick in identifying the target and spamming them while keeping up the tank. Oh, pray it isn’t you on the first go. Chances are by the second time he casts it, there is one dps less. In all seriousness, this is the source of dying even with good group or as a geared healer. Be prepared for it, even various bleed effects and dots can give you hard time while ticking on boss with this debuff.

Anyways, hope you will have fun in the place. It’s the least stressful of the three and although it has only two bosses, it’s quite fun. And it’s short. As always, post your comments and stories below and stay tuned for Pit of Saron and Halls of Reflection.


The circle of healers (Original one)

So,  Chayah tagged me with revisiting the Circle of Healers questionnaire by Miss Medicina. There is just one tiny problem with it. I never submitted it. Never, ever. I was a starting blogger back then, or even maybe non-existant one and when I found out about the questionnaire, I was never tagged. But guess better late than never and since I was tagged with revisiting it, it is okay for me to visit it in the first place. Amirite?

  • What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?

    Rahana, Shaman, restoration

  • What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

    Almost exclusively 10M content, with the daily heroic here and there. I avoid any and all 25M raids, besides Vault of Archavon with guild.

  • What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?

    Definitely Riptide. I know that Chain Heal is the flagship and all that, but for me, being Shaman is about pouring buckets of water over people and watch the lovely hot numbers pop up on my screen. It’s as well fun to play „keep ‘em rolling“ game.

  • What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

    Healing Wave. Not that I don’t use it, au contraire I use it pretty often, but still less times than any other spell. Simply because with such long cast time and mana cost it has it’s perfect place and use in my arsenal, so I throw it only when it’s needed / appropriate.

  • What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?

    Definitely flexibility and versatility. With one spec, with single change of gear I can switch from full tank healing to full raid healing or stop anywhere between. I have few, but very specific and powerful tools in my healing arsenal and that is one of our strengths – there is hardly more than two spells competing for the best spell to use for any given situation.

  • What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?

    Movement healing. Seriously, we do have one instant spell and one cooldown to make another spell instant. In heavy mobility fights that does not quite cut it. The real saver spells have just under 2 second cast time (no procs taken into consideration) and that is quite some time spent standing in one spot healing.

  • In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?

    In 25M raiding? Hm, I will go with the obligatory raid healing, and if the raid is not stacked in some way, then melee group healing. That’s right, lazoring through piles of people really is our strongest forte and it’s quite some fun. I do that currently once a week only though for five minutes, but I can imagine it gets dull and boring in the long run.

  • What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?

    Shaman, obviously. Pretty much for being the jack of all trades. Reglyph here, reglyph there, change this and you can heal anything. Does your comp need more tank healing, sure, I’m game. More raid healing you say? Here I come! Do you want „hybrid“ healer for both tasks when needed? Bring it!

  • What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?

    I have healed only on Shaman and Paladin, so I can’t really say anything about other classes. However from all the hearsay, I would go with Paladin. It’s not that I don’t like it, it just comes across as plain boring to me. And I miss all my fancy spells. In essence all decisions you will be making is whether to throw a Holy Light or a Holy Light.

  • What is your worst habit as a healer?

    Spending too much time dpsing. It happens mainly in heroic dungeons, but it definitely is bad habit nonetheless. I just get too carried away killing boredom that I often find myself in oshi situations sending everything on cooldown just to pop the Bear back to some reasonable 30K hp from the 1K left. This panic attack is usually started with me thinking – „Wait, who was healing again? OSHI!“

  • What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?

    When people yell or otherwise demand heals. It’s my damn job to stare at your healthbar. I well know that you need the heal. If you are not getting it, the chances are you don’t deserve it (standing in bad stuff) or there are some other targets with priority (tanks, healers).

  • Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?

    Oh hell yeah. I think we do have our rightful place out there, what I see as a problem is that the community still sees Shamans as only Chain Heal spammers, while great performing Shaman healer has lot more to offer and can fulfill any task in raid (as I said many times before)

  • What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?

    For instant evaluation, body count. If there is more than one person dead in 10M (and not a wipe), then I look at my mana bar. If I have above 50% mana, I quickly replay the fight to the point where said people died and try to figure out whether I could do better. If I could, I apologise. If I couldn’t, I just take mental note for future reference. For chart-evaluation I often go to recount, mainly to check overhealing on fights where better heal placement would matter and then go in-deep through combatlog at WorldOfLogs.com

  • What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?

    That all we know is Chain Heal and that we can’t heal tanks. I was once advised by this clever raider to use Chain Heal, because it’s our best spell and I got laughed at few times for saying that I will heal the tank. We are not raid healing Chain Heal machines. In fact, Chain Heal is very specific tool that requires brain to be used to the max potential.

  • What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?

    To master Chain Heal. To actually learn your raid positioning and avatar looks so it’s not often wasted. This relates to aforesaid point with everyone pushing Shaman healers to over using Chain Heal. The second thing, on par with Chain Heal usage, is understanding the complementary utility spells like Purge or Wind Shear and how they can help you as healer.

  • If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?

    Hard to say. Depends on encounter, healer setup etc. I don’t really care about Recount evaluation, all I care about is doing my job. I don’t care about overhealing, output as long as people survive.

  • Haste or Crit and why?

    Haste all the way to the soft cap. Why? Because it’s hands down the strongest stat a Shaman can get. There is a lot of talented crit, but hastening Lesser Healing Wave to one second and Chain Heal to 1.5 seconds makes wonders.

  • What healing class do you feel you understand least?

    I would say Restoration Druids. I am currently levelling a druid to see how the tanking and healing is like on 80, but all the „stack-up-hots and then do what???“ I read about it is confusing for me.

  • What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?

    Grid and Clique, TotemTimers, ShieldsUp and PowerAurasClassic. That’s about those I really do use to aid me in healing. Of course, customized UI helps a lot with healing too.

  • Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

    Piling up haste above everything else – or to put it better way, selectively grabbing gear that has haste amongst its stats. Why? Because it is the most powerful stat. And the rest of the stats in reasonable measure comes with. So why not. It’s a WIN-WIN situation.

To keep the spirit of the Circle of Healers alive, I will tag Rul from Ancestral Knowledge with this questionnaire, so we can spread the circle a bit with Shaman bloggers!


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