Tidewalker down, and more Shamanisms

Two tries, one dead water bubble farting giant. It’s about damn time. All we had to do was get a prot specced pally to tank the murlocs and we were set!

[item]Pendant of the Lost Ages[/item]
[item]Pauldrons of the Argent Sentinel[/item]

Update: I made a section purely for Shamans where everything Shaman related will go. I’ve added two of my Restoration specs for both PvP and PvE use. I didn’t explain most of the abilities because I think they’re fairly self explanatory. I added notes on the different points you could off spec.

Shamans and You

Sorry guys, I had a 12 hour double shift on Saturday which reduced any thought of me writing. I’ll make up for it with a double header today. I’ve written virtually nothing about my Restoration Shaman. Let’s change that shall we?

As a Restoration Shaman, you are nothing but a support class. You’re not expected to DPS with Lightning Bolts or Shocks or what have you. Unlike a Priest where we can Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and PW: Shield players, Shamans are expected to assist offensively and defensively.

Offensive Arsenal

Purge: Similar to a Priest’s dispel, except it can only be used offensively against enemy targets. Unfortunately, it cannot be used against friendly targets to removed debuffs. At later levels, it can remove two at time.

Earth Shock: This is an interrupt spell. It’s pretty straight forward. If Aran starts casting a Frostbolt, press it. It also silences that school of magic for several seconds.

Frost Shock: This is a slowing magic effect. It’s like Frostbolt but without the massive damage and it’s instantaneous (like all shocks).

Flame Shock: Deals initial damage, with subsequent DoT Damage applied afterwards (Mind Blast followed up with SW: Pain).

Nike Shock: Makes a target run faster (Boy don’t I wish that was real).

Lightning Spells: Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning are the two mainstays in terms of pure damage dealing. Chain Lightning affects three targets within relatively close proximity of each other but contains a cooldown. Lightning Bolt just hits one target but has no cooldown.

Heroism: Alliance Shamans get the 40 seconds of increased haste to spells and attacks. Good finisher.

Defensive and Healing Spells

Earth Shield: The giant brownie floating around players is a must get talent for any Restoration Shaman. Unlike Power Word: Shield which absorbs and prevents damage being applied to a player, Earth Shield will automatically heal at random whenever a player is hit. The threat is redirected to the player who has Earth Shield on. It’s perfect for tanks who need extra aggro. Think of the spell as a 10 charge Prayer of Mending without the bouncing effect to other players. The only downside? At level 70, it costs a whopping 900 mana.

Healing Waves: Nothing special here. It’s the two direct healing spells that shamans have (Lesser Healing Wave and it’s bigger brother Healing Wave).

Nature’s Swiftness: This spell rocks. It’s on a two minute cooldown but it allows the next nature spell cast to be instantaneous. Is your tank just hundreds of health away from doing? Blow Nature’s Swiftness and Greater Healing Wave and make your other healers look bad. Can also be combined with offensive spells like Chain Lightning to finish off a player swiftly.

Chain Heal: In my opinion, this is where Shaman’s make their worth. It’s similar in nature to Chain Lightning except it heals your raidmates. I’d say Shamans are ideal for healing Melee DPS groups. When Chain Heal is cast, it will jump two additional times after your first target. You have no control over who gets the subsequent two heals and the amount healed for is less each time. For about 500 mana, its some insane healing efficiency. It’s three targets healed for the time it takes to cast off a Greater Heal on a Priest on only one target.

Play Overview

It’s a little more difficult to play a Shaman then a Priest in PvE encounters. You need to maintain your totems, make sure certain spells are interrupted, and heal in between. Obviously there’s no way you will ever match up to the amount that a Holy Priest can do nor the endurance of a Paladin. Chain Healing is the big key here. It’s the ability to heal multiple targets within a short amount of time at a decent mana cost which is significant.

Toteming Techniques (for the PvP Player)

With totems, you have the flexibility to increase the damage done by casters, melee characters, or hunters (but not all three at once). They provide additional buffs like increased mana regeneration or health and the ability to automatically remove totems. Earthbind can slowdown opposing enemies within the totem radius. Fire totems can provide additional damage from another source or increase resistance against certain schools of magic (like frost).

Understand that you can drop four totems at any one time: Air, Water, Earth & Fire.

I have several default setups depending on what classes I am playing against.

Air Totems: My threes and fives team both have Warriors and another melee class. Just before we are about to engage the other team, I will drop my windfury totem for a few seconds so that the effect is applied on the melee guys. Then I will drop a grounding totem to absorb that incoming frost bolt or shadowbolt that I can feel coming my way (XPerl lets me know when I’m targeted). I’d never use wrath of air or grace of air since it’s primarily windfury and grounding totem’s as soon as it’s available.

Fire Totems: There’s not a whole lot of selection. I could drop a searing totem to annoy the other team, but if it starts hitting the Warrior he ends up getting extra rage. If there’s a frost mage, I will drop the frost resist to help with that. It’s unfortunate we’re unable to use fire elementals in arena. But I suppose having a 5 shaman team with 5 fire elementals and nearly 200 seconds of Heroism would tear through most teams.

Water Totems: By default, I would leave a mana spring totem. If there’s a rogue or a hunter on the opposing team, poison cleansing gets dropped. Mana Tide comes down if healers need the mana (frequently myself and the paladin who gets mana burned).

Earth Totems: I have three choices here: Earthbind, Tremor, or Strength of Earth. Usually I’ll drop the Strength totem to help increase DPS a little bit. Tremor goes down if there’s a Warlock or if a team member gets hit with fear close to me. Earthbind’s a last resort that I keep open if there’s any kiting that needs to be done.

Within the first 10 seconds of the Arena gates opening, you should be able to figure out what classes are arrayed against you and what totems you need to drop. It’s especially important to position them in areas where it’s difficult to target. For example, if you get the bridge arena, place your totems under the bridge if you plan to engage up top. If you get pillars, you can even leave a few in the corner behind the pillars. For Lordaeron, consider placing them up close against the tomb in the middle of the map forcing the other team to run around and shoot it.

There is a lot of back and forth switching of players. You need to ensure that the opposing Paladin’s Greater Heal does not get cast or the Shadow Priest’s mana burn is interrupted with E. Shocks (I’d prioritize the shadow priest over healers). If Earthbind is on cooldown and you need to keep moving, jump, do a 180° mouse look, frost shock, and mouselook back to the original direction so you can keep running away.

Shamans do have a lot of potential in both raids and PvP. But there isn’t one specific area that they excel in. Except raid healing. Did I mention that already?

Priest Efficiency vs Overall Success

There appear to be two schools of thought when it comes to Priests and raiding.

Old School: Mana efficiency, conservation, rhythms.
New School: Doing whatever it takes to keep the damn tank alive even if it means going OOM (Out of mana).

Back during the Pre-BC raids where there 40 people (25 skilled players and 15 afk players), Priests could get away with following the five second rule. With the decrease in raid sizes, I’m going to make the ultimate no duh statement and say that each player has a far greater and more noticeable impact then before.

A lot of Priests seem to discourage the use of Power Word Shield until they absolutely need to citing that it takes up far too much mana for a not-so-great return. I am one of the few priests who did not spec reduced threat (Silent Resolve) or Martyrdom. I placed my 2nd tier points into Improved Fortitude and Improve Shields. Shields are improved by 15% along with an additional 20% of your +healing attached to it. I will explain my thoughts on Silent Resolve in one of my Priest sections later on.

The damage prevention to mana cost ratio sucks: True.
This leads to an impracticality of spamming Power Word Shield: True.

But listen to my next point. Even though the damage prevention scaling is not the greatest, it is important to remember that as your gear is getting better, your mana regeneration increases. You’re gaining more mana back and you can afford to cast it more often. You don’t need to spam it every time the Weakened Soul debuff is active on the tank. But you can spam it on other members of the raid who need it. Good priests don’t have tunnel vision. Even if you cannot afford to expend the time or the mana to heal another raid member, you can blow a global cooldown and shield him and let another healer do it for you while you return to your healing assignment on the main tank.

I can understand in parties why you would be hesitant to do something like that unless it was a dire emergency. But raiding is not quite the same as partying and some players have difficulty grasping that. You have access to a lot more utilities with 25 players then you would with only 5.

Ways to regenerate your mana:

By yourself
Super Mana Potions
Food: Blackened Sporefish
Flasks: Mighty Restoration, Shattrath Flask of Restoration, or Unstable Flasks of the Physician (Gruul’s Lair only)
Oils: Superior Mana Oil, Brilliant Mana Oil (If you have the time to grab Large Brilliant Shards)
Elixirs: Major Mageblood and another elixir combination of your choice

By others
Shadow Priest: Vampiric Touch
Druids: Innervate
Shamans: Mana Spring Totem, Mana Tide Totem
Paladins: Blessing of Wisdom, Judgment of Wisdom
Other: Spellsurge Enchants

With all of those effects, there is a lot of mana being returned and Priests can last for a long time.

The stinginess amazes me. I’ve witnessed tanks or other important impact players go down because a priest wanted to let their heal cast finish. If your tank absorbs a huge hit which drops them from 100% to 15%, you better take a step forward and backward to cancel your heal and light up your Power Word Shield, Renew, and Prayer of Mending. Otherwise, that extra half a second that you wait to let your heal finish could mean the end of your raid. Don’t even think about it. Just react! It’s okay. I don’t think I’ve ever met a raid leader who would get pissed off at a Priest for allowing the tank to live. So what if he’s inefficient? So what if he doesn’t end up with full mana? What kind of Priest ends up with full mana at the end of a raid? A lazy one, that’s who. I would take an alive tank paired with an “oom” Priest over a dead tank and a topped off Priest any day.

This has been one of the few things that have constantly frustrated me. When I raid with another holy priest in Karazhan and we have separate healing assignments and his assignment dies, I ask him: Did you shield him?

His response: No, I don’t like PW:S. It’s inefficient.

Who cares if it’s inefficient? The end result justifies the means.

I remember during Blackwing Lair on the insane 30 minute Chromagus fights, Priests would take turn taking breaks from healing to spirit their way back to full mana. I consistently blew Major Mana Potions, Dark Runes, and Tubers to prevent players from collapsing. I don’t think many new players know what they were, but they’re just consumables which returned mana on different cooldown timers.

If you need to Shield spam your tank, then Shield spam your tank.
If you need to max rank Flash Heal spam your tank, then you do it.
If you need to pull aggro on other ads to keep your tank alive, then macro an unequip on your weapons and bite the bullet.
If you need to heal without mana, keep a stack of bandages handy (No joke, I’ve healed ranged DPS with bandages but it paid off with the guild first boss kill).

At the end of the day, if one person in your raid is left standing and that big bad beast of a boss is not moving, then you can relax knowing that you have succeeded. No matter what happens, your duty as a Holy Priest is to the health of your raid and your tanks. Everything else is secondary only to that primary goal.

Hydross of SSC has an approximately 9-10 minute enraged timer in which he goes berserk and starts going all Tie Domi on the raid. Innervate has a 6 minute cooldown. I know that I am able to last for a long time without an innervate until the 8-9 minute marks. I made a deal with my druid where I would blow as much mana as I could within the first minute or so of the fight. My 600 damage smites or 800 damage mind blasts aren’t going to pull aggro off our tanks. If they are, something is definitely wrong with the tanks and I should just gquit. After I finish spamming Shields, Smites, Renews, or whatever will get me down to about 60% mana, I whisper him to light up his innervate on me. Voila, I’m back to full mana, Hydross is down to 80% instead of 83% and I’m back to heal mode.

Be creative, guys. Think of ways you can help the raid even when there’s nobody to heal. Improvise and think on your feet. I will stress this one more time, do what you need to do to win (short of cheating or exploiting… those are big no no’s).

Fear Wards confirmed, and why you should never swear in trade chat

You are a Horde Warlock being beaten upon by three Alliance players. Out of the corner of your eye, you notice Howl of Terror is now available for use. Your eyes narrow and you slowly grin. You activate it and watch your attackers flee befor- Oh wait, that Rogue is unaffected. You die and curse the Alliance a thousand times over.

Fear Ward.

The spell itself is an annoyance to Horde. It is the ability to 100% resist the next Fear effect from affecting a player. The Psychic Scream of Priests are one of the most powerful spells in their arsenal. Used properly, it can provide you with precious seconds to heal you and your allies. Improperly, and it will wipe the most battle hardened players.

Tremor Totem was the Horde response to Fear Ward. I suppose it did it’s job, but not as efficiently as Dwarves (and now Dranei). That particular totem wipes off fear every couple of seconds. Unlike a Priest’s Fear Ward which automatically mitigates and prevents the fear effect from taking place, the Tremor Totem continually pulses and removes the fear effect if you have it on you. Believe me, I’ve dropped my totems within 30 yards of tanks on Nightbane. I would gladly take Fear Ward over Tremor Totem in a heart beat. The damn totem only has 30 yards, but most players get feared out of range before the effect is removed! But bear in mind, I’m speaking strictly in the PvE sense. In addition to fear removals, it also removes sleep effects, Mind Control and the Seductions of a Succubus (As stated by WoWWiki). It’s best to drop the totem immediately when your mates are hit with fear and you still retain control of your character.

But fear not Hordelings, it’s been confirmed by the blue that Fear Ward will be given to all Priests. Of course, I can’t read French to confirm that, but the folks over at MMO-Champion have been able to translate it (Scroll down a post). It may not have as much of an impact on the PvE side of things because I’m positive that Horde players have been able to adapt to the absence of Fear Ward. I can only imagine what kind of an effect this will have in competitive play. All I can think of now is Alliance are screwed. There’s too much possible theorycrafting that it’s impossible to map it all. I predict more Horde teams will be dominating in the upper echelons of Arena play. If you think I’m wrong (I know there’s someone), please do tell me. I’ve played Alliance my entire WoW career and I know next to nothing about what the Horde can do (Besides what’s been done to me of course).

On another side note, here is the worldofmatticus.com misplay of the week.

There’s this Warrior on my server who decided to start some trouble in trade chat. He began swearing a couple of times and I guess some players made good on their threats to screenshot his in game chat and report it to the Blizzard GM’s. Several hours later, his Guild is busy in SSC tackling Leotheras. He’s one of their primary tanks. I’m sure by now you know where this is going. Leotheras is dropped down to 1%, and that Warrior all of a sudden stops moving and appears to be disconnected. The raid wipes without the tank maintaining control.

He got suspended.

So, if you ever get the urge to start swearing or cussing out other players on trade chat, bite the urge and leave town or move on. It’s not worth it at all.

EDIT 23:39: Anonymous comments enabled. Discuss, praise, and flame away. Too much of the latter and consider that removed. With great power comes great responsibility after all.

Never Allow Loot to be Wasted

Last night in Magtheridon’s Lair, the [item]Crystalheart Pulse-Staff[/item] dropped. During the bidding phase, it was put up for a minimum of 30 Dragon Kill Points. I placed a 30 bid. After the first round, the highest bid was 30 which I assumed was mine. But just to be on the safe side, my second round bid was 37. At the end, I got the staff with 30 DKP (my original).

I just had this feeling that no one wanted it. Either that or they were busy saving up their DKP for something else. I was frightened that a weapon like this would get wasted and today I wanted to write about the importance of not allowing loot to rot.

Don’t ever be afraid to roll need on an item or bid DKP on an item. If it’s better then what you have, then whisper it to an officer so they can take it into account. There is no sense in replacing someone’s purple items with more purple items when there are other players wearing blues that would benefit more from it. It defies logic and common sense. Every piece of gear no matter how minor or insignificant an upgrade is still an upgrade. That extra 17 spell damage could go a long way in a 30 minute fight.

What is the premise behind World of Warcraft? Once you get to 70, you get the best loot possible, to go into a dungeon to get even better gear to go into the next level dungeon to get even BETTER gear to get into the next highest dungeon. That’s the game in a nutshell.

Skill can only get you so far. Everyone needs better gear. No guild is going to progress if loot continually gets disenchanted. Yet a lot of people pass and hoard DKP for that one weapon or chest piece that will drop off this boss later on in the instance. Guess what? If Vashj drops your chest piece, and you’re still on Fathom-Lord with gear that you can use getting sharded because you’re too greedy, you’re not getting that chest piece anyway.

Anyways, let’s get back to my new staff. A lot of priests prefer a mace/off hand combination because it allows for flexibility (And [item]Light’s Justice[/item] + [item]Aran’s Soothing Sapphire[/item] is just a freakin’ awesome combination). I originally had the [item]Gavel of Pure Light[/item] & [item]Signet of Unshakable Faith[/item]. Let’s compare the stats shall we?

With the Light’s Justice and Sapphire combination, I get:

514 healing (assuming +81 Healing)
43 Intellect
16 Stamina
20 Spirit
8 MP5

The Staff gives me:

463 healing (assuming +81 healing)
50 Intellect
51 Stamina
16 MP5

I lose 51 healing and 20 spirit, but gain 7 int, 35 stamina, and 8 MP5. There’s a lot of discussions out there between the advantages of Spirit and MP5, but I’ve always leaned towards MP5. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I used that gun so much in counter-strike. But that stamina is such an increase that cannot afford to be wasted especially in end game instances. Instead of being 3 shot, now I have a chance of being 4 shot. That one extra shot could mean the difference between a kill or a wipe.

Furthermore, with the acquisition of the staff, I no longer need to compete against another healer for Light’s Justice. In this manner, our healers can proceed to get geared up much quicker. There’s less Kara runs that need to be done. The Guild progresses at a quicker rate. That’s what we all want. My goal is to see Carnage in the Sunwell before Wrath of the Lich King is released. Chances of that happening? Eh, I’d rather see the Spice Girls make a come back. Oh, wait a minute…