>Loot Wars and Raider Alts

>It’s really hard to explain things in a blog post. So many things can be misread or misinterpreted. I’m going to try to be as coherent as possible while trying to sound objective and fair. I have been mulling over this particular post for a while and I feel enough time has passed to explain my feelings about the situation. No names will be mentioned except for myself.

As some of you may already know, a few weeks back I was raiding on my Holy Paladin. This was mainly due to the disappearance of one of our main tanks. He had some pretty bad weather and power/internet was knocked out for a long period of time. We weren’t quite sure if/when he would be back. Not only was he one of our tanks, but our only paladin in the raid.

Paladins provide quite a large variety of buffs for raids through Auras and Blessings. Next to shamans, paladins are probably one of the more mandatory classes to bring for 10-man progression because they have so many buffs integrated into the class and merge well with any raid composition. The 2 buffs my raid team was now deprived of was Resistance Aura and Blessing of Might, the 2 buffs that make healing much easier.

Resistance Aura provides a large amount of magical damage reduction (up to 25%) and overrides the resistance provided by Mark of the Wild and Blessing of Kings (up to 14% give or take). That additional 11% can mean the difference between a clear or a wipe, depending on how well-geared/skilled your healers are. Less damage means your healer’s jobs are easier which means a greater chance to clear content. This also allows for a little more margin for error.

Blessing of Might provides an additional 10% attack power bonus and 346 Mp5 for mana users. We had a survival hunter in the group, so the attack power bonus would be overridden anyway. 346 Mp5 is ALOT of mana regen. In a time where mana bars are already tight, every buff that increases your regen or extends your mana bar is extremely important for any healer.

So with our protection paladin out of commission we were lacking 2 important buffs. We had no shaman in the group, so mana totem was out of the question. Shamans can also provide a Resistance Totem which is the same as Resistance Aura. But we needed a tank.

With no protection paladin in sight on our server, we then turned to ANY tank, which is better than nothing. We found a protection warrior that was a GM from a fairly reputable guild that ended up falling apart due to people not showing up/no progression/etc. We already had a protection warrior, but we couldn’t really be picky at this point. We took him in and he ended up doing very well (can’t say the same for the rest of us).

Our new raid composition:

Tanks:
Protection Warrior
Protection Warrior

DPS:
Fire Mage
Survival Hunter
Survival Hunter
Destruction Warlock
Feral Druid

Healers:
Discipline Priest
Holy Priest
Restoration Druid

So our first night of raiding with this new setup wasn’t very good. Lacking both Resistance Aura and Might was extremely noticeable by all the healers. On fights where I should have a decent amount of mana left after boss fights, I was running on fumes. Even switching from Intellect-based flasks and food to Spirit-based ones didn’t have any noticeable difference. On top of that damage was noticeably higher. All in all it wasn’t a very good first impression for our new tank. Something needed to change.

I spoke to my GM and co-GM and we all unanimously agreed something needed to change. We had a couple of options:

  • My GM (Prot Warrior) offered to get his Prot Pally geared. It was level 85, but just in craptastic gear. A nice solution but a time consuming one. For progression reasons this wasn’t the best use of time, especially since my GM had recently been going back to school and doesn’t spend much time online other than to raid.
  • Our Destruction Warlock could keep the Felhunter out. The felpuppy provides Fel Intelligence which gives the Mp5 buff and a small buff to our mana pool, but it would be at the sacrifice of her personal DPS. We tried this and saw about a 2-3k drop in her dps. It didn’t seem bad at first, but the fights were a bit longer then they should have been which still strained the healers.
  • I could bring in my already-geared-for-raiding Holy Pally. This was the fastest and easiest solution. By bringing in the paladin we would get our Might and Resistance back. We would lose the Holy Priest and our burst AoE healing would suffer, but we would have strong single target heals. Plus our Discipline Priest still provides everything a Holy Priest provides except for Lightwell.

We went with the third option. We blew through all of our farm bosses with ease and even downed 2 progression bosses in the same night. It was an amazing evening. It really was needed because the previous week was wrecked with “lolpulls” and screaming into pillows.

During the 3-weeks on my pally I received exactly 1 piece of loot, the leggings off of Halfus Wyrmbreaker. This piece of loot would have been d/e’d if my priest was in raid. On the last week, the BoE staff from BoT trash dropped. As many of you know, this staff is BiS for Holy priests. I whispered my GM if I could roll on it since I felt I was sacrificing my priest gear for the better of the raid team. I wasn’t sure he received my whisper, so I didn’t roll. Our Restoration Druid rolled and got the staff since our Priest wasn’t interested. Apparently my GM didn’t see my whisper and said that I could roll for it next raid.

Well some lines of communication got crossed. Not only did the Druid not need the staff (I guess he lost too much haste) but he sold it for the raid team to make flasks and pots, not knowing there was someone else interested. /sigh

No biggie. I’m a big boy. Loot is loot and it drops all the time. People make mistakes. I will patiently wait for the next staff to drop.

Next Week:  
Good news– Our pally tank is back.  
Bad news– Our mage is leaving WoW for a while for RL.

More Good news– Our pally tank has an enhance shammy that is geared! So we bring in his shammy. Even better, I can bring the priest back in again since we have Mana Totem. All is well!

Or so I thought.

The second week my priest has been back, one of our DPS wanted to bring in an alt to roll on the BoE staff. I explained that mainspecs will always have priority over alts, no matter how much loot they get and to just be aware of that. This has always been an understanding for our raid team. I then continued to let this person know that I was interested in this staff and that because my priest is mainspec, I have priority. This clearly didn’t bode well for the person.

They claimed this new alt would be their new main, and then proceeded to attack me and accuse me of doing the same thing with my holy paladin, all before our raid started.

I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to ruin the night for everyone. But I was really close to ripping this person a new ass.

I want to be clear on the difference in needs between our alts.

Raid-Requested Alts
My Holy Paladin was brought in for raid composition reasons. It would have hurt our progression had we kept my priest in and just ignored the problem. People would have just gotten more frustrated. Instead we made what would have been a miserable week into a fantastic progression week that lifted everyone’s spirits.

Voluntary Alts
The DPS alt fell under this category. This alt was not needed in any way. It was purely voluntary and thus rules were applied like any other alt. Claiming this as your new main wouldn’t make any difference. People have been waiting weeks for certain items to drop off of bosses/trash. I’m not going to stand for someone to just bring in a new toon and feel they can roll on items that other people still need for farm bosses. This person’s main had every piece of gear available on the farm bosses already and they had nothing more to gain, so they decided to bring in an alt.

I hope you all understand what I’m getting at. This next week is the first week since the “incident” occurred and I’m a little skeptical how it will turn out. I still stand by my feelings on the situation and when the time comes I will hold my ground if necessary.

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>Holy Word: Sanctuary in 4.1

>Holy Word: Sanctuary recently got a buff on the PTR.

  • Holy Word: Sanctuary healing done has been increased by 35%. In addition, it has a new spell effect.

This is a welcome buff for a spell that before was fairly unattractive to use.  In addition, it got a much needed graphic upgrade.

While this might sound wonderful, recent testing on the PTR has shown that Holy Word: Sanctuary no longer benefits from the Holy Priest mastery, Echo of Light.  Currently on live, Holy Word: Sanctuary benefits from our mastery and while it might seem small, it’s additional throughput.  It’s also nice to see our mastery benefit this spell.  But that might be changing.

Here are some numbers that I’ve pulled from my priest on the PTR:

Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 771
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 732
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 765
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 765
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 775
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 784
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 785
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 753
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 775

Total: 6905

Now for the LIVE numbers:

Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 663
Lunarsoul gains Echo of Light
Lunarsoul gains 15 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 673
Lunarsoul gains 15 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Lunarsoul
Lunarsoul gains 23 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 643
Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Lunarsoul
Lunarsoul gains 24 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul gains 30 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 653
Lunarsoul gains 30 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Lunarsoul
Lunarsoul gains 35 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of LightHoly Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 646
Lunarsoul gains 35 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Lunarsoul
Lunarsoul gains 39 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 637
Lunarsoul gains 39 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Lunarsoul
Lunarsoul gains 40 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 630
Lunarsoul gains 41 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Lunarsoul
Lunarsoul gains 42 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 654
Lunarsoul gains 41 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Lunarsoul
Lunarsoul gains 43 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Lunarsoul for 991 (Critical)
Lunarsoul gains 43 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Lunarsoul
Lunarsoul gains 52 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul gains 51 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul gains 52 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul gains 52 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul gains 52 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul gains 52 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Lunarsoul gains 52 health from Lunarsoul’s Echo of Light
Echo of Light fades from Lunarsoul

Total: 7088

Even with the 35% buff, Holy Word: Sanctuary is still underwhelming. 1 critical strike from the LIVE version was enough to push it past the PTR version.

My conclusion? Mastery needs to benefit HW: Sanct. Just looking at the numbers indicates the incredible scaling that Echo Light has and my priest is geared for Haste, not Mastery.  The LIVE version would eventually outpace the PTR version with enough Mastery.

Right now on the PTR, the only things that HW: Sanct scales with is Intellect and Crit.  That’s it.

Efflorescence scales with Intellect, Mastery, and Haste for Druids.

Holy Radiance scales with Intellect, Haste, and Crit. (Don’t get me started on the awful Pally Mastery)

Healing Rain scales with Intellect, Mastery, and Crit for Shamans.

All these AoE spells benefit from something other than Intellect and Crit.

BLIZZARD, PLEASE DON’T TAKE AWAY THE MASTERY BENEFIT. I WILL DIE A LITTLE EACH DAY OF THE 4.1 RELEASE IF IT DOES.

>Mana Regen and You: Maximizing Your Mana for Raids

>My last post made me want to expand on the ideals of maximizing our mana efficiency.  I admit that my last post was a bit garbled with druid and shaman information, so today I will be focusing on priests with ways to maximize the efficiency of your precious blue bar.

Holy Priests

Holy Concentration– Increases the amount of mana regeneration from Spirit while in combat by an additional 15/30%

Holy Concentration is the staple mana regeneration talent for Holy priests and is absolutely mandatory to take in any Holy build. It causes Holy priests to benefit from 80% of mana regeneration that is provided by Spirit which is 30% more than other healers.  This causes Spirit to be the most favorable regen stat available.  Spirit-based gear/trinkets (Mandala of Stirring Patterns or Jar of Ancient Remedies) will be more favorable for Holy priests compared to other healers.

Discipline Priests

Rapture– When your Power Word: Shield is completely absorbed or dispelled you are instantly energized with 5/7% of your total mana. This effect can only occur once every 12 sec.

Rapture is an important part of a Disc priests rotation.  It causes you to regain 7% of your total mana every 12 seconds, which is a significant amount and can be further increased through Intellect.  And because of Rapture and the passive ability Enlightenment work so well together, Intellect scaling for Disc priests is unparalleled by any other healer and makes Intellect the primary regen stat.  Utilizing Power Auras or another mod to track your Rapture proc is highly recommended. Gear/Trinkets that focus on Intellect are highly preferred over Spirit-based ones.  While Spirit is still a good regen stat, Disc priests will always benefit more from Intellect.

Derevka over at Tales of a Priest has a nice Rapture tracking mod for Power Auras that I use.  I modified it a bit to my preference and you can do the same.

The Synergy Between Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend

Hymn of Hope– Restores 2% mana to 3 nearby low mana friendly party or raid targets every 2 sec for 8 sec, and increases their total maximum mana by 15% for 8 sec.

Shadowfiend– Creates a shadowy fiend to attack the target. Caster receives 3% mana when the Shadowfiend attacks. Damage taken by area of effect attacks is reduced. Lasts 15 sec.

Dawn Moore over at Spiritual Guidance did a fantastic writeup about the synergy between these 2 abilities and the way to maximize both of them.  It is mainly because Shadowfiend’s mana restore is based off of the priest’s maximum mana that makes it so valuable with Hymn of Hope.  Hymn of Hope temporarily boosts your maximum mana pool by 15% for the duration and your Shadowfiend scales extremely well with that boost.  So for maximum mana regen benefit, cast your Shadowfiend FIRST, then cast Hymn of Hope SECOND.  You will recieve the mana ticks from HoH while your Shadowfiend restores your maximum mana at the same time.  Even if your HoH is interrupted, as long as you get off one tick you will still benefit from the temporary mana pool boost.

Warning!  Make sure you are LOWER on mana than your fellow healers and DPS!  Hymn of Hope only benefits the 3 raid members with the lowest mana at the time it was cast.  If you aren’t the lowest, you may be giving your HoH benefit to a Mage or Warlock by mistake!