Silent Ice, Raging Fire (Part I)

Afternoon folks…

I’ve got a little series coming up that I’d like to share. It isn’t a blog on a specific subject, but one of my own writings that I thought I’d toss out there. Maybe let you all get a feel for it, and even toss around some editorial comments.

The story is called “Silent Ice, Raging Fire.” It is a compilation of the life of my World of Warcraft Paladin, between the expansions of Wrath of the Lich King and the Cataclysm. It has a couple of twists and turns, and even a little love story attached.

It is a pretty rough draft. I’ve only gone over it a couple times, and made changes here and there, but haven’t really proofread it fully yet. I’m pretty sure that the chronology should be in place, but any comments are welcome.

We’ll start it, after the break…

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Mopping up leftovers

It’s been a while.  I always say that lately it seems.

Anyway, a good bit has happened since I last left something of substance here.  Including getting a chance to got o Blizzcon and seeing the new Mists of Pandaria in person, hitting up the demo, and watching the class panels.

A lot has already been written across the WoW blogosphere, so I’ll try not to repeat too much of it. Instead here are some interesting upcoming changes that I have noticed, and think will keep me playing even into the next expansion.

Pandaren - Samwise Didier

Pandaren - Samwise Didier

First up… Pandaren, love them or hate them, they will still have a place in my heart.  I remember seeing a lot of artwork by Samwise Didier, one of the penultimate WoW artists on the Blizzard staff, and its focus on the pandaren. I may be mistaken, but I believe that he may have been the creator of the race in the first place.  Of course letting the story tellers move it along beyond his art, I still leave him at the top of that group.

There are those who still think that the Pandaren were some “April Fool’s Joke,” yet those also ignore anything you say debunking this, and talk mean to their mothers.

The Pandaren have been around since Warcraft III, in fact Chen Stormstout assisted Rexxar in taking the first steps into a new Horde, only to take a separate path, not to be seen again.

I guess the only other reason that I am a big fan of the Pandaren is the Asian influence that inspires the art.  I have been a HUGE fan of Chinese and Japanese art since I was in 8th grade (I’ll even have a hipster moment and say that I was a fan of Japanese art and culture before it was cool).  From what I saw at Blizzcon, the environment and artwork of this new expansion is going to be amazing. An entire continent, and even a giant turtle (though I do think of it as a bit silly, but just imagine the size of a lot of things in WoW), covered in beautiful artwork, both architectual, and natural.  I thought that I was impressed when I first saw Darnassus when I began playing WoW some 5-6 years ago, but it can’t even light a candle to what I saw in Pandaria.

Well, enough of my babbling, onto another subject.  Next up, is the new talent trees.  N0w, most of you have already heard of or seen the new trees, and their new “choice” mechanic every 15 levels.  It is a huge step away from the 71 talents to choose from back in the old vanilla days. Despite a lot of folks disliking the new path that Blizzard is taking, I am actually a fan of it.  Most core abilities are going to be simply given to you, just because you are a specific class/specification combination.  I was excited about how they did this initially with Cataclysm, but this goes even further.  I guess it is an over simplification of the abilities system, and I am not that big of a fan of not being able to actually hit up your trainer to learn new abilities.  However, will be a nice improvement when you have a ton of alts, though that isn’t everybody.

The choices that are available though, seem to fit into their “fun talents” methodology that they have been working towards.  It’s just a big change, and change is scary to some people.  I am personally a fan of it, as there are a lot of abilities that I have always wanted to have on my Holy Paladin, that I just couldn’t get because it was only available to other specializations. (Hello Repentance, I can’t help it… I’m a supporting type character.)  This is going to change come MoP.  Now, I do not deny that the EJ guys will eventually find the “right” build, and begin the cookie cutter cycle again; however, I do not believe that it will be a simply cookie cutter build like it used to be.  Instead it will end up being a fight-by-fight type of build, where the choices made are depenedant on the situations that you face.  This will provide a nice little bit of complexity, and will separate the good players from the great players.

Alright, lastly, though it’s coming out before Mists of Pandaria (in fact it should be released in patch 4.3) is Transmogrification/Void Storage. I literally jumped for joy… ok I didn’t jump, but I was excited, when I read about this. Do you remember me writing about this a while back.  Yeah, I’m a bit of a hoarder, and I have lots and lots and lots and lots of stuff in my bank, most of it I will never actually wear because of the stats… but now… oooohhhh now, I will have a hayday with transmogrification.  I will be a very poor Pally soon.  I have already hit several old instances to scrounge up old gear, gear that I can almost not fit into my bags or my fully sacked bank… all of them Soulbound.  How about you?  Are you going to be having fun with the new Transmogrifications?

Well, I know it was a rambling hodge podge of topics, but hey, it’s been a while.  And with limited resources, you gotta do what you can.  Hope to see y’all again.

The Light Fades for Protection

Good morning everyone…

Lots of new news coming out now that Patch 4.1 has made its way to the PTR….

What?… you wonder where I’ve been?  I kind of expected that. Anyway, I’ve been really busy with some RL changes, most of them keeping me from really getting onto WoW much.  But that’s changed a bit, and I’ve gotten a little more time on my hands, and my workload has shifted at work.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand.  Looks like there will be a few changes to the Paladin with this new patch.  here’s a quick outline.

Paladin

Word of Glory: We hope Retribution and Protection Paladins occasionally do the right healing to others, but as we know Paladins sometimes feel that Holy Power is only for the healing. We rather like these specs use more Holy Power on damage abilities, and occasionally heal.

Holy

  • Divine Light now costs 30% of base mana, down from 33%.
  • Flash of Light now costs 27% of base mana, down from 30%.
  • Walk in the Light (Mastery) now removes the cooldown on your Word of Glory.
  • Word of Glory now has a 20 sec cooldown.
  • Aura Mastery now improves the effect of Devotion Aura, Resistance Aura, and Retribution Aura instead of all auras.
  • Conviction now procs from non-periodic spells.

Protection

  • Divine Guardian now has a 3 min cooldown, up from 2 min.

Retribution

  • Divine Storm now grants a charge of Holy Power if it hits 4 or more targets.
  • Sacred Shield now cannot occur more than once every 60 sec, up from 30 sec.

Well, as the title states, it looks like some of the Light is fading for Protection.  What I mean by this is the change in Word of Glory.  At the moment, it has become a practice among some Paladin tanks in raid environments to use WoG each time you have 3 Holy Power.  This saves a bit of mana for the healers, and provides a nice little buffer. With this new change, Paladins are now forced to use Shield of the Righteous or Inquisition. I have yet to follow the WoG spam method, but I’m also not raiding yet.  Time is still a little restrictive.  But do see how it could be a boon for healers.  I myself have moved towards using the more damaging Holy Power dumps in dungeons, in fact here’s how I usually work the rotation, boss tactics especially.

  •  
    • Avenger’s Shield > Divine Plea (3 Holy Power) > Shield of the Righetousness
    • This is then followed by: Judgement > CS > Avenger’s Shield (if off cooldown) > CS > Holy Wrath > CS > Inquisition > Judgement > etc. etc.

Following this method, I’ve been able to keep threat, as well as increase my damage after the initial threat build. using Inquisition as my second HP dump, has been a way for me to increase that outgoing damage, gaining a nice little buffer, where I can then move to WoG as the HP dump.  But instead of using WoG each time I have 3 HP, I would instead spread it out: WoG > Inq. > ShotR > WoG > Inq. > ShotR

Of course this is situational, as sometimes ther eis a need to burn down the target, and in those cases, i would often use ShotR on each 3HP cooldown.  Something I’ve come to love about the abilities linked with HP.

Some may be asking “What about Holy?” Well, the Walking in the Light mastery has fixed that by removing the 20 sec cooldown, allowing Holy Pallies to continue with their normal usage of WoG, as it is very unlikely that they’ll need a DPS increase while healing.

I have also noticed that the healing costs are still being tweaked and twisted.  I was a bit set back by the initial nerf to the cost, but do see that Blizz recognizes this too.

I am sad that Aura Mastery does not work for Crusader Aura, but had already gotten used to that. Though I’m unsure why Consentration Aura was removed. I guess it is due to the fact that CA is already being modified by the Aura Mastery spell itself, but time will tell.

Lastly is changes to Conviction. As there aren’t that many HoTs, it doesn’t really affect us a lot, outside of the fact that Holy Radiance does not proc it.  As I’ve said, I’ve yet to do any raids yet, so am not totally sure how it is going to affect healing.

The last change is Divine Storm now working almost like Hammer of the Righteous and providing a charge  if Holy Power if the attack hits more than 3 targets. This is a nice change, as when I was specc’d as Retribution it almost didn’t feel necessary to use Divine Storm at all, with the nice damage of Templar’s Verdict. I have yet to experiment with the Sacred Shield change, since I haven’t even experienced it before (Have been Holy/Prot since about 81).

Anyway, with all the other changes including the return of Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub as heroic 5 mans and the introduction of the Firelands raid, 4.1 looks to be an interesting patch.

Light be with you.

The Long Word :: 10/29/2010

Welcome to another edition of The Long Word.  Got some interesting stuff this week.  Including some changes for my Paladin, and some good news for my DK. Lastly, I’ll try to keep everybody up to date with the latest releases and updates from Blizzard.

The Long Word

The Long Word

 “Tanking” Care of Business

Yes, yes… it’s a corny title, so sue me. But it gives me a good start for this part of the post. After reading some of my favorite Tankadin’s blog (Righteous Defense), I decided to give Prot a shot again. I felt a bit lost with Retribution. Sure there were more buttons to push; however, it felt as if there was a lot of waiting, either that or I just had not yet figured out a “rotation” to work with. I usually topped out at aobut 5k dps, and just couldn’t break that barrier. Sure it’s still a good number, but I didn’t want to feel limited by my inept Ret skills, and wanted to go back to something a bit more comfortable.

Boy was it a suprise to see how little comfort was there. I will agree, originally Paladin Protection tanking was a bit of a faceroll.  The same buttons, whenever the popped up, no procs, no Holy Power, the same old same old. That has all changed. I will admit, it is a much more fluid feeling rotation, though the rotation changes dependant on the types of enemies, and yes, it gets  a bit monotonous hitting Crusader Strike every other attack, but wow does it feel so much more structured and fluid.

Per Rhidach

Pull with AS > CS > J > CS > HW > CS > ShoR > CS > J > CS > AS > CS > Shor > CS > J > CS > HW > CS > ShoR > CS > AS > CS > J > CS > ShoR > etc.

The rotation looks a bit complicaated, but isn’t that bad. It’s donned the name “939”, and though can be considered  a rotation, requires for you to watch for procs, and have patience on using abilities “as they light up.”

A big change, is the fact that Holy Shield is no longer cast on yourself, but rather placed as a buff upon using Shield of the Righteous. Speaking of ShoR… it hits like a truck with 3 Holy Power… just keep that in mind ;)  It is important to get the ShoR of as soon as possible though, so that you have that extra block buffer up.  It will normally last until you have built up the Holy Power to place a full power ShoR, so get it up as soon as you can.

Threat

This is a tough subject.  First up, you automatically get Vengeance upon choosing Protection.  This converts some of the damage done to you to Attack Power, allowing you to hit a bit harder, in turn generating more threat. Next up is the good ol standby of Righteous Fury. This still provides us with the threat we need, as well as… if I’m not mistaken… our ability to be uncrittable (defense cap’d).

I was able to tank a few heroics last night, and discovered that our front side threat has really dropped from what it was.  And, to tell you the truth, AoE threat has appeared to have been lowered as expected. But it took me a little whlie to realize it.  First of all, I had forgotten to use Hammer of the Righteous whenever tanking groups… oops, give me a break here, it was only my first or second instance since 4.0.1.  I had gotten so used to being able to use HoR as an extra attack when tanking groups, that I forgot the fact that it and Crusader Strike are exclusive from each other, and now share a cooldown. This did however, teach me how flexible our new rotation is. I was able to go from AoE tanking a group using HoR down to a single target focus by replacing HoR with CS on the fly, allowing me to keep threat up on a single target while the DPS burns it.

As I mentioned earlier, it feels very fluid, and the spells seem to work very well with each other. By the end of the night, I had pretty much gotten the rotation down pat, and was still hitting about 3k dps on the charts.

Tasty Holy Buffs

With the latest info released, it looks like several of our holy spells are getting a nice buffs.  Check out the list below:

  • Holy Radiance‘s effectiveness now diminish on targets farther than x yards away.
  • Divine Light base healing has been increased by 30%. From 8538-9512 to 11100-12366 (!).
  • Flash of Light base healing has been increased by 30%. From 5313-5961 to 6907-7750.
  • Holy Shock base healing has been increased by 30%. From 3033-3285 to 3943-4271.
  • Holy Light base healing has been increased by 30%. From 3202-3567 to 4162-4637.
  • Beacon of Light now lasts 5 min, up from 1 min.
  • Mastery: Illuminated Healing now absorbs 10% of the amount healed, up from 8%. Now lasts 8 sec, up from 6 sec. Each point of mastery increases the absorb amount by an additional 1.25%, up from 1%.
  • Lay on Hands no longer restores mana.
  • Holy Wrath now scales from 61% of SpellPower, up from 30%. Base damage reduced by 22%, from 3122 to 2435.
  • Exorcism now scales from 34.4% of SpellPower or AP, up from 15%. Base damage increased by 15% from 2343 to 2741.

In the words of the Almighty Cthuloo… “Yum Yum!”

So, let’s begin:

Holy Radiance
This actually did not come as a surprise to me.  I expected that you couldn’t run across the raid, and heal everybody for the same amount.  That really just seemed to be a bit overpowered to me.  So this change, was sort of expected. I still can’t wait to get this spell though.

Divine Light
Holy tauren… them thar numbers is quite large. And to think that those are base numbers, not buffed by spell power or any other healing buffs. Ever since 4.0.1 came out, I felt that Divine Light was a bit weak for its status as the heal bomb. But now with these “enhanced” numbers, I feel that we’ll begin to see some huge heals again, and possibly some more use of this spell.

Flash of Light
Yup, it’s still potent, and yup, it’s still expensive.  However, I have a feeling (since I haven’t really done any raids since 4.0.1) that it will still be used, and now be spammed as much as Holy Light was back in the day. It feels so strange to not use it as my go-to spell, but it’s quick cast is so very nice combined with it’s big numbers.

Holy Shock
Not a whole lot to say, like the other healing spells, it got a nice buff in base potency, and in turn should mean a little quicker turn around on tanks after damage spikes.

Holy Light
Our “go to” spell, though still slow as Christmas (unless a proc is present), did get a little bit of a buff as well. Again, not much different here, besides the base potency change.

Beacon of Light (!)
Oh shout praise and joy to the Heavens! Beacon of Light is now a 5 minute buff!  That is a very big change.  One thing that it will save is an extra global cooldown.  I’ve always had those moments, when I need to get some big heals out, but also notice that the Beacon is starting to drop off of the tank, or my beacon target.  This change will be huge.  Next is the mana savings.  With Beacon’s cost having been dropped as of 4.0.1 (6% base mana), it still is not an easy decision to make when you are running on fumes. But now that you will likely only have to cast it once maybe twice a fight, there is a good bit of savings there.

As for the Glyph to go with it, it now removes the mana cost… hmmm… not much of a help considering you will likely have regained enough mana to cast it tenfold by the time it would fall off after 5 minutes.  Means it’s time to take another look at my glyphs.  Or just follow Tarinae’s advice and go with the Cleanse Glyph in it’s place.

Mastery: Illuminated Healing
This new central mechanic of our class has gotten a nice initial buff of a 2% increase to the amount absorbed. In addition, an extra .25% is earned with each point of Mastery added.  I’m not really sure of the reasoning behind this; however, it is a welcome addition.

Lay on Hands
Well, it no longer returns mana as well as HP.  This is not that big of a deal to me, as I was not using it to return mana, but rather save a tank from the brink of death (or get huge numbers on Valithria Dreamwalker). It does have an effect on the Glyph though, which has now been changed to simply return 10% mana to you upon using it on another target.  This is a welcome change, as it provides the same amount of mana return as Divine Plea would, but without the Healing debuff.

Holy Wrath
The damage output of this spell is now buffed by over twice as much spellpower now (61% up from 30%), though the base damage has been dropped by 22%. I’ve yet to really work these numbers in game, but some quick napkin math says that it’s about a 300 damage boost:

Original (with 3100 spellpower):
3122 (base) + 930 (30% SP) = 4052

New (with 3100 spellpower):
2435 (base) + 1891 (61% SP) = 4326

Nothing huge, but a nice little buff nonetheless. It very well may scale better with Ret and Prot, but I don’t have many numbers to work with there.

Exorcism
Again, like Holy Wrath, not much use for a Holy Paladin, but it too has been buffed to scale a bit higher via Spellpower or Attack Power (I’m assuming whichever is higher).

Original (with 3100 Spellpower):
2343 (base) + 465 (15% SP) = 2808

New (with 3100 Spellpower):
2741 (base) + 1066.4 (34.4% SP) = 3807.4

It is about a 1000 damage increase… very nice.

The Longer Word

Well, that’s all for the paladin class that I have got for this week. I’m sure I’ll have more as I get back into doing a few raids.

In other news though, I finally got my Horseman’s Mount.  I actually got it after my son watched me take down the HH, and was about to head into the living room to play with some cars.  I opened the pumpkin (which I thought I had not gotten since I thought my bags were full), and apparently had one slot left in my bags.  So there went a stack of chilled meat… oh well, very much worth the mount,  haha.  Simply put, I’ve basically slowed down doing that fight anymore on my paladin, though have been hitting him up on my death knight.

Speaking of my Death Knight, he’s now getting close to half way through level 79.  I hope to hit 80 this weekend.  Sadly this will only be my second max level character. He has been fun to play though, an interesting difference from the paladin. He’s also my money maker, selling glyphs left and right.  But I’ll have more on him later.

Until next week… Light be with you.

The Long Word :: 10/22/2010

Well, here’s my first shot at my weekly post called “The Long Word”.  Interestingly, I’ll probably be hitting both Holy AND Retribution this time.  In fact, probably hit Retribution a little more, since I’ve had a chance to play it lately.

The Long Word

The Long Word

But first, some general news:

ANZUUUUUUU!!!!
According to what I’ve read as of late, it appears that Anzu the Raven Lord is now a regular spawned boss in Sethekk Halls (Heroic of course). I overheard this while wandering through Dalaran and wanted to be sure. So I looked it up, and sure enough, he is.  So, I made my way on down to Shattrath (Oh I miss that place), and darted over to Auchidoun. Entering Sethekk Halls, I was wondering how difficult this would be, and began making my way through. It was easy as pie…. or so I thought.  Turns out after the patch was pushed, my default 5man setting was still on regular… *sigh* So I just cleaned the place up (Lower City rep is still on my list anyway), and popped out and hopped in on Heroic.  Upon entering, I saw the status text about the Eagle Hawk and Owl spirits returning to their stones, meaning that yes Anzu was there.

Anzu the Raven Lord

Anzu the Raven Lord

Started clearing through, easy enough, takes a little bit to take out groups as ret, but doable with the right CC.  But suddenly I hit a brick wall. Sethekk Ravengers…. these guys come in pairs, just like the normal doorway guards, but attack with such a vengence that it is hard to keep the HP up and still get damage out. I was sitting on about 30k HP in my ret set (both PvP and PvE), and they were eating through it like crazy. Sadly though, I couldn’t use Repentance, as they are Immune to it. So wipes were had, and cooldowns were blown, and eventually I was able to burn through the 3 or 4 sets of these guys and make my way to Anzu himself.  Fortunately, his room is empty, allowing me to get straight at him.

The fight is easy enough. Just start pouring on the pain, using Word of Glory if your life get’s about a quarter of the way down, using the other spots where your Holy Power is full to slap him with a hard hitting Templar’s Verdict. Then he’ll toss up a shield mitigating all damage, and starts summoning a ring of ravens to attack you.  They’re pretty easy, after you clear yourself of his initial stomp (he stuns you as soon as the birds are attackable). Just top yourself off, and start using your Holy Power points on Divine Storm and tossing a few Holy Wraths to burn the adds down. Once they’re gone, it’s back on Anzu, and pouring on more damage.  If you’re lucky he should only summon one more group of adds.  At least in my case, I was able to burn him down enough to take him out before anymore.  Unfortunately, the mount did not drop, though it has been confirmed that it does, in fact, still drop.

So, get your tails out there and have some fun in a nice “new classic” instance and have a chance at a really nice looking mount.

Speaking of mounts, be sure to hit Zul’Gurub every few days to be sure that you have a chance at the Zulian Tiger and Zulian Raptor before Zul’Gurub get’s flushed into the Great Sea.

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The Long Word

Good afternoon folks…

I’ve decided that I’m going to start changing up my format.  As you can tell, I have not been able to post much as of late, partly because I’m busy, and partly because there hasn’t been a whole lot to go into until lately. So, I’m going to start doing a weekly post (much like Tuesday with Tarinae) called “The Long Word”.  It’ll be a mixed bag of Retribution, Protection, and of course Holy info as it comes in throughout the week.  I may even throw in a few little extras from my alt’s classes, etc.

Word of Glory

The Long Word

I’ll probably begin this either Friday or maybe next week, we’ll see how the schedule goes.  I hope you all will like this new format, as it’s a bit easier for me to handle, and get out to you all. (Don’t worry, I’ll have a much better banner than just the Word of Glory icon :P)

Until next time, Light be with you.

The First cracks appear

Well, like I promised, with the new patch out, and the impending Cataclysm coming December 7th, I’ll likely be posting a bit more again.  And so, here I am :)

First up, let me say, the new UI changes are nice, I really like the new spellbook and talent tree setup.  It took a little getting used to, and took some time to iron out my talent choices, but since the servers were halfway stable last night, I hopped on to set up my specs on my paladin.

Sadly, this blog’s namesake, “Illumination”, no longer exists *sigh*. Oh well, probably won’t change the name though. Anyway, back to the subject at hand.

Patch 4.0.1 brings in a plethora of changes. Outside of the entire talent tree revamp, we also now have access to Reforging, Mastery, a handful of new spells and to top it all off a new resource system for us Paladins. My fellow blogger over at A Healadin’s Tear has done a great job of descibing how each of these work, so I won’t reinvent the wheel, I will however comment some on what I think of the change.

I ended up with a slightly different 32/2/2 build, taking advantage of some of the new Holy Power generating abilities, and getting more out of Holy Shock since it will be a very important spell now.

This post will pretty much be a quick intro to a more detailed one tomorrow (I don’t have any screenshots, and can’t really show you the choices I made).

But, 4.0.1 has begun to crack open the potential of the next expansion.  I hope to help with some of the transition in the coming posts.  Until then, I will see you in the new world.