Talents, Features and Headcanons

We’re finishing off today with three really interesting posts: a passionate takedown of the new talent system, a really interesting discussion on WoW’s features, and a concept – the aforementioned “headcanon” – that I’ve never come across before:

  • Zellviren writes a passionately-argued critique of the new WoW talent system. Strongly put, but with some really interesting points to make – I look forward to the discussion! – “Either you make active mitigation a visceral part of defence and wholly chase away new players who’ll be overwhelmed by it, or you make its contribution small enough that undergeared or under-experienced tanks won’t feel so bad to their healers and those higher up the curve practically ignore it to contribute more damage.”
  • Matthew Rossi covers a well-worn topic – wish-lists of features for WoW – but comes up with some really interesting ideas that go in different directions to the usual discussions“What the system really would need to make it awesome would be a way to define your characters to other players. My wife and I have played our characters with various relationships over the years and it would be great if we could actually use the game’s systems to make that a meaningful choice. “
  • And Tzufit introduces us to the concept of “Headcanon” – the game lore that exists only in your head, but is nonetheless real and important for you“So given the volatility inherent to a shapeshifted druid, I have a hard time believing that any well-trained druid would put roomful of people at risk by turning into a bear or panther or giant bird of prey in front of them. For me, this wouldn’t be all that different from having a wild bear or cat in the room with you, and that bear or cat wouldn’t be curled up in a ball by the fireside asking for you to pet her.”

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Discipline Priest Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, priorities and healing strategies

See! We knew Smite Priesting was the way to go! Yes, in Mists of Pandaria (WoW Patch [patchnumber]) the Smite playstyle is fully included with every Disipline Priest’s spec choice – along with a bunch of more recent changes! So, to get a quick heads up on how to play a Disc Priest as we all head off to kick Garrosh’s oversized ass, here’s a Quick Start Guide for your stats, talent build, abilities, glyphs, rotation (such as it is), reforging and gems. Enjoy!

Updated [guideupdated] for [patchnumber]

Disc Priest changes in [patchnumber]

Minor changes, stat priorities updated.

Discipline Healing “Rotation” and Priorities

Of course, we don’t really have a rotation – we’re a healing class, dammit! (Well, not unless you count the low-level dungeon rotation of Smite, Smite, Smite, Smite…). But here’s an intro to how best to use your abilities to keep everyone else up.

Tank healing

When you’re healing the tank, you’ll be using:

  • Power Word Shield: One of your primary damage prevention abilities. Re-cast it whenever it drops. Note that when it drops you get mana back!
  • Penance Fairly powerful and efficient. Use whenever it’s off cooldown.
  • Greater Heal Primary healing spell if the tank’s taking more damage than Heal can cope with.
  • Heal Your “spam healing” spell. Use whenever the tank’s taking damage, but if his or her health is going down even with Heals, it’s time to switch to something more powerful.
  • Flash Heal Your panic button. Will run you out of mana FAST, but will also heal the tank FAST.
  • Prayer of Mending Will bounce around injured targets healing them. Use on your primary target during moderate or high damage phases, on CD.
  • Power Word Solace Use on CD unless you’re in an ntense damage phase. Smart-heals nearby players.

You can also use Smite to smart-heal the tank if no-one else is injured, but most of the time it will be too random to use. However, use it in very low-damage phases to build Evangelism stacks.

Keep Grace running on your primary target with Penance and your Heal spells.

Raid/group healing

  • Power Word Shield: Also very useful for raid healing. Cast on people you know or suspect are about to take damage. Fast and high healing.
  • Prayer of Healing: Your primary group heal. Use whenever it will be useful for healing at least 3 people.
  • Prayer of Mending: The “Bouncing Heal”. Cast on cooldown – as a smart heal, it’ll go where it’s needed (hopefully).
  • Power Word Solace: Use on cooldown (on the mobs, obviously), as it’s a smart heal that restores your mana.
  • Other healing spells: Use Penance when it’s off cooldown, and Greater Heal to spot heal as needed. Only use Flash Heal if someone’s about to die and you can’t use Power Word Shield. Whenever you don’t need to cast anything else, be casting Smite to build Evangelism stacks and do low-powered healing.

Cooldown spells

For when it’s all gone or is about to go a bit pear-shaped:

  • Power Word: Barrier :Best used when the raid’s stacked and you know they’re about to take a lot of damage. Note: this is a powerful CD and can save your raid if used right.
  • Pain Suppression: Powerful damage reduction – coordinate with your healing target as to when to cast this if possible, as it duplicates the effect of many tank cooldowns.
  • Archangel: Frequent-use cooldown powered by Atonement stacks from Smite. Use whenever you need a bit more healing punch.
  • Hymn of Hope: Use during low-damage phases to restore mana to you and nearby casters.
  • Spirit Shell: Use whenever there’s high damage coming in.
  • Leap of Faith: Useful for two things: moving slow, DCed or otherwise distracted people out of the Bad, and annoying your fellow raid members!
  • Inner Focus: Short cooldown, and gives your next Flash Heal, Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing 100% crit chance. Useful frequent-use cooldown. Also grants 5 sec immunity to Silence.
  • Void Shift is an extremely powerful heal if you’re on high health – but it has a very long CD. Assume it can only be used once per encounter.
  • Cascade: Use on cooldown or when you know the raid’s going to take heavy damage.

Buffs

Keep Inner Fire or Inner Will up (the latter helps with mana costs), remember to cast Prayer of Fortitude, and cast Shadow Protection if appropriate.

Discipline Priest Talent Choices

The new 5.x talent system means that you may well want to change talents on a per-fight basis. However, if you’re looking for a general-purpose talent build that’ll get you started quickly, we recommend:

  • Tier 1: Void Tendrils (not very important)
  • Tier 2: Angelic Feather – grants a movement speed increasing effect on the ground.
  • Tier 3: Solace / Insanity
  • Tier 4: Desperate Prayer – powerful self-heal.
  • Tier 5: Twist of Fate
  • Tier 6: Cascade – another powerful group-healing CD.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Discipline Priests

Intellect is your most important stat, boosting your healing, followed by Spirit, which controls mana regeneration. Mana pools are now fixed in size. In MoP, you’re likely to find you need to reforge for additional Spirit until you’re comfortable with your new mana regen.

Crit is our most useful secondary stat.

Gemming: Gem for socket bonuses (Purified in Red sockets, Sparkling in Blue sockets, Misty in Yellow sockets).

Reforging: Reforging depends on your mana. Reforge to Spirit if you need mana regen, which is very likely. Then reforge to Crit.

Disc Priest Glyphs

Glyphs are much more situational in WoW 5.x than before – however, here are some solid general choices:

Major: Glyph of Penance, Glyph of Binding Heal, Glyph of Mass Dispel.

Minor: Whatever you want – they have no performance effect.

Discipline Priest enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Mighty Spirit
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Pearlescent Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect

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Sith Madness Sorcerer Quick Start Guide for SWTOR: rotation and priorities, talents, stats, gear, spec and companions

“Now, young Jedi – you will DIE!” ZORCHZAPSCREAM – etc. Yes, for most of us, that’s the reason we rolled a damn Sith in the first place – to cackle, look evil, and fry Mark Hamil with Force Lightning. Except it turns out that there’s more to DPSing in SWTOR, particularly once you get to Level 50, level cap, than just spamming lightning and cackling. So, for the confused, furrowed-brow Madness Sorcerer, here’s a guide to our best abilities, rotation (and priorities), talents and spec, gear, stats, and even our companions.

This is a work in progress! Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn’t been out for long enough for us to have a 100% solid idea of what talents, abilities and so on are best, so we’re going on the work of the top theorycrafters here as they figure the game out. However, this guide should give you a good start and put your damage well beyond what 95% of the SWTOR playerbase are able to do.

Obviously, this is a first draft guide – if you have comments or suggestions, please do post them below!

Updated 10th February 2012 for Patch 1.1.2

Sith Madness Sorcerer Ability Rotation

  • Top Priority: If Lightning Barrage has procced, use Force Lightning.
  • Second Priority: If the target doesn’t currently have Affliction on them, cast Affliction. Otherwise, cast Death Field or Crushing Darkness if they’re off cooldown.
  • Third Priority: If Wrath has procced, cast Chain Lightning if it’s off cooldown. Otherwise, spam Force Lightning.

Wrath: Ideally, you should use Wrath with Crushing Darkness. It’s a DPS increase to use it with Chain Lightning if Crushing Darkness is on CD, however.

AOE: Use Death Field as top priority, then multi-DOT with Affliction and use Chain Lightning. If there are 5 or more mobs, use Chain Lightning as top priority.

Sith Madness Sorcerer Talent Spec / Build

There is some ongoing discussion as to the best Madness spec.

This spec appears to be a generally good DPS spec.

This spec is more Force-efficient – use if you’re running out of Force regularly.

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Stats and Gear for Madness Sorcerers

Willpower is absolutely the most important stat for Sith Sorcerers in general, including Madness. Power is our most important secondary stat.

At the moment a good basic stat priority to use is Willpower, then Power/Force Power, then Surge, Crit, and Alacrity in that order.

Stats we don’t want: We have no use for Strength, Aim, Cunning, very little use for Endurance, and little use for Presence unless we’re using a companion a lot. Shield, Absorbtion and Accuracy are also useless for Sith Sorcerers in general, and Defence is basically useless.

Companions

Currently it appears that at end-game your best companion choices are Ashara Zavros for DPS or Xalek as a (rather weak) tank.

2V-R8 is completely useless for combat purposes for a Sorcerer.

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Mists of Pandaria Talent, Spell and Specialisation Reactions

A day or so ago, Blizzard unveiled the new Mists of Pandaria talent builder , rather earlier than expected. It’s a pretty big deal – not only does it show the latest version of the talents (our text transcription of the MoP talents will be updated in a day or so), but it also shows the specialisations for each class, including all the spells you’ll get as that spec.

The blogosphere’s already well into analysing the changes and new opportunities – here’s a class-by-class breakdown of the analyses so far, which I’ll keep updating over the next few days!

Druid

Priest

Paladin

Warlock

Shaman

Hunter

Warcraft Hunter’s Union

Rogues

So far, I’ve seen nothing for Warriors, Death Knights or Mages – if you’re writing one or you know of one, let me know!

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Patch 4.3 Unholy Death Knight (DK) Quick-Start Guide: stats, spec and talents, glyphs, gems, reforging, and rotation

Ah, Unholy. After a brief and unpleasant interval at the bottom of the tree in 4.1, it’s going from strength to strength as it heads into Patch 4.3, and the Fight with Deathwing’s Appendages. So, get your stats, specs, glyphs, gems, reforging priorities, rotation and all that other stuff sorted out right here, and let’s get on to the slaying.

Updated Nov 29th 2011 for Patch 4.3

Unholy Death Knight changes in Patch 4.3

Unholy only has a few changes, but they’re good ones. Unholy Might now offers 25% additional Strength, up from 20%. In addition, all DK pets now properly inherit Crit and Spell Penetration stats from their master, and Unholy’s gargoyle will now always use its ranged attack, which will make it more effective. Finally, we’re the beneficiaries of the global 4.3 melee DPS buff, giving us an extra 10% attack power.

Unholy set bonuses in T13 are strong, but don’t significantly change gearing or rotation once achieved.

Rotation / Priorities

Unholy DKs, like most DPS classes in Cataclysm, do not have a “rotation” as such. Instead, they work on a priority system – use the most important abilities whenever possible before less important ones.

Single-Target

Top Priority: Diseases and Dark Transformation. Apply or reapply diseases as first priority, preferably using Outbreak, and use Dark Transformation whenever it’s available.

Second Priority: Death and Decay or Scourge Strike if Death Runes are available. Use DnD even on single-target fights. Use Scourge Strike if DnD is on cooldown.

Third Priority: Death Coil IF Sudden Doom is up or Festering Strike. Only use Festering Strike here if it will extend your diseases.

Fourth Priority: Death and Decay or Scourge Strike. This is your bread-and-butter.

AOE

For standard dungeon packs, you still want to use the single-target rotation above. Only use the AOE rotation here for LARGE packs of mobs. Switch to Frost Presence when using this.

Follow the same priorities as for Single Target – however, ignore Festering Strike, and use Pestilence to spread your diseases.

Other abilities

For the love of Pete, remember that you can use Raise Ally to combat-res! Other abilities to bear in mind are Icebound Fortitude (to not die), Death Strike (to not die) and your various interrupts.

As far as your damage cooldowns go, Empower Rune Weapon, Gargoyle, and Unholy Frenzy should be used together, ideally. Army Of The Dead is best used on a pull or a phase transition – and be SURE that your ghouls won’t taunt anything important before using it. Seriously. Or you will be very unpopular.

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Best Unholy DPS Spec

The unholy forces of Elitist Jerks and #Acherus on IRC align to agree that this build (Patch 4.3) is the best option.

At Tier 3, you’ll have to spend a point in one of two places – either Unholy Command or Desecration. Unless you have a specific need for mob slowing abilities, take Unholy Command.

There are also 3 points left at the end of the talent build that you can spend in a variety of places. Good options include:

  • Improved Blood Tap (Second Tier, Blood) – can be used to increase your DPS with more runes. Not always useful, but a handy option.
  • Runic Power Mastery (First Tier, Frost) – increases your maximum Runic Power. Useful, but less so than you might expect because you’ll usually be below 100. One point highly recommended.
  • Magic Suppression and/or Anti-Magic Zone (4th and 5th Tier, Unholy) – very useful survival talents with some DPS application. Anti-Magic Zone is very situational, Magic Suppression generally useful.

Stats, Reforging and Gems

Strength is by far your most important stat, followed by Hit to the Hit Cap (961 for anyone except Draenai, for whom it’s 841), then Haste, Crit, Mastery, Expertise to the Expertise cap of 26

Gems: Always choose a Bold Inferno Ruby unless a socket provides 20 or more Strength or 40 or more of another important stat. In the latter case, use either Fierce Ember Topaz or Etched Demonseye as appropriate.

Reforging: Reforge to Hit up to the hit cap. Then, reforge to Haste, or Crit if that’s not possible. Never reforge Haste to anything else, including Hit.

Buffs: Stay in Unholy Presence and use Rune of the Fallen Crusader. Keep Horn of Winter up whenever possible.

Enchants for Unholy

Remember to check if your profession offers better enhancement options for a slot!

Head Arcanum of the Wildhammer (Alliance) or Dragonmaw (Horde)
Shoulders   Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone
Back Enchant Cloak – Greater Critical Strike
Chest Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
Wrist Enchant Bracer – Major Strength
Hands Enchant Gloves – Mighty Strength
Belt Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Legs Dragonscale Leg Armor
Feet Enchant Boots – Haste or Precision if you’re not hit-capped
Weapon Rune of the Fallen Crusader

Glyphs for Unholy

Prime: Glyph of Death Coil, Glyph of Scourge Strike, Glyph of Raise Dead unless you want to focus on AOE damage, in which case replace the first two with Glyph of Icy Touch and Glyph of Death and Decay.

Major: Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell, Glyph of Blood Boil, Glyph of Pestilence.

Minor: Glyph of Blood Tap, Glyph of Death’s Embrace, Glyph of Path of Frost – all of these are actually useful!

  • Elitist Jerks – Unholy Guide – Unusually well-written and easy to follow for EJ, this is a superb guide. If you want more detail than this article has given you, go here. Updated for Patch 4.3 already!
  • Son Of A Lich – from the people who also write the EJ Death Knight guides, a superb site for all DKs.
  • #Archerus IRC channel on irc.coldfront.net – GREAT DK community.

You also might find the rest of MMO Melting Pot interesting – we scour the blogosphere daily looking for the most interesting discussions and posts about WoW and other MMOs and deliver them straight to you, all in one place, right here. See what’s on the Pot today!

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Patch 4.3 Discipline (Disc) Priest guide – stats, spec and talents, glyphs, gems, reforging, changes and healing spells

It’s time to do some bubbling! Yep, Disc priests are back, and whilst we can’t spam soap bubbles of invulnerability like we used to, we’re still awesome healers. So, as we face up to Deathwing’s Bits, if you want to know what spells to use, what gems and glyphs to buy, what talents to spec, or how to reforge in Patch 4.3, read on.

Updated 6th Dec 2011 for Patch 4.3

Disc Priest Changes in Patch 4.3

Very little has changed for Discipline in 4.3. The main change has been a fix for Atonement, meaning it will now work properly when used against large bosses like Ragnaros or Al’Akir.

However, of course stat increases mean that your style of healing may change, and this guide has been updated to reflect 4.3 levels of gearing.

Spell Usage/Rotation

Disc priests, like all healers, don’t have a “rotation” as such. Instead, each spell has a different ideal use, and you’ll use them depending on situation:

Tank healing

  • Power Word Shield: One of your primary heals. Cast when the tank’s about to take significant damage, and generally whenever you can.
  • Penance Fairly powerful and efficient. Use whenever it’s off cooldown.
  • Greater Heal Primary healing spell if the tank’s taking more damage than Heal can cope with.
  • Heal Your “spam healing” spell. Use whenever the tank’s taking damage, but if his or her health is going down even with Heals, it’s time to switch to something more powerful. Becomes increasingly less useful with better gear – if your mana can handle it, consider using Greater Heal as your spam heal on harder content.
  • Flash Heal Your panic button. Will run you out of mana FAST, but will also heal the tank FAST.

Raid/group healing

  • Power Word Shield: Also very useful for raid healing. Cast on people you know or suspect are about to take damage. Fast and high healing.
  • Prayer of Healing: Your primary group heal. Use whenever it will be useful for healing at least 3 people.
  • Prayer of Mending: The “Bouncing Heal”. Cast on cooldown – as a smart heal, it’ll go where it’s needed (hopefully).
  • Other healing spells: Use Penance when it’s off cooldown, and Greater Heal to spot heal as needed. Only use Flash Heal if someone’s about to die and you can’t use Power Word Shield.

Cooldown spells

For when it’s all gone a bit Pete Tong:

  • Power Word: Barrier :Best used when the raid’s stacked and you know they’re about to take a lot of damage – Red phase on Maloriak, for example. Note: this is a powerful CD and can save your raid if used right.
  • Pain Suppression: Powerful damage reduction – coordinate with your healing target as to when to cast this if possible, as it duplicates the effect of many tank cooldowns.
  • Divine Hymn and Power Infusion: Your other two “Oh, crap” buttons. Best to not use both at once, to maximise your ability to react to The Bad.

What about Evangelism/Atonement/Smite Priests?

You may have heard about the so-called “Smite Priest”, an alternative Disc build that heals by using DPS spells.

It’s a very fun build – use if you want to try it out. However, it’s more complicated than a non-Smite priest.

If you decide to try Smiting your way to victory:

  • Tank Healing: Proceed as above, but use Smite instead of Heal if you ever get time for it, and try to use Holy Fire if you get a chance. If healing gets hairy, you should have enough stacks of Evangelism built up to cast Archangel, which is a decent cooldown on a very short timer.

  • Raid Healing Use Holy Fire on cooldown, as it’s a powerful smart heal. As above, pop Archangel for heavy damage. Use Smite where you’d be casting Heal otherwise.

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Discipline Talent Spec

The standard Disc talent spec looks like this 4.3 spec

Here’s a good Atonement spec: Atonement/Evangelism spec for 4.3

Stats, Reforging and Gems

Intellect is your most important stat, boosting your healing and mana pool, followed by Spirit, which controls mana regeneration. Haste, Mastery and Crit can all be useful in different circumstances, but are all less useful than Int or Spirit – see below.

Gemming: Gem for socket bonuses unless the socket is a yellow socket providing 10 or less Mastery, Crit or Haste – gem those for Intellect with Brilliant Inferno Ruby.

Reforging: Reforging depends on your mana. Reforge to Spirit if you ever need mana. Otherwise, reforge to a balance of Crit and Mastery, or Haste if you’re really sure you won’t run out of mana on the content you’re healing. (Haste increases your healing power but also means you consume more mana).

Discipline Priest enchants

Several professions have “superior” enchants – use them if the stats are appropriate. Felfire Inscription on shoulders from Inscription, for example. Note – a few enchants can be swapped for Spirit enchants, like Chest, and so if you’re having mana problems, Spirit enchants are decent alternatives.

Head Arcanum of Hyjal
Shoulders   Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
Back Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
Chest Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
Wrist Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect
Hands Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery
Belt Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Legs Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
Feet Enchant Boots – Lavawalker (the run speed is very useful)
Weapon Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent
Off-Hand Weapon Enchant Weapon – Superior Intellect

Glyphs for Disc

Prime: Glyph of Power Word: Shield, Glyph of Penance, and Glyph of Prayer of Healing. Swap one for Glyph of Power Word: Barrier if it’s vital for the content you’re doing.

Major: Glyph of Prayer of Mending and Glyph of Dispel Magic are the stand-out choices. The third is your choice – not vital whatever you choose – unless you’re Atonement, in which case you need Glyph of Divine Accuracy.

Minor: You’ll hate people who ask you to cast Levitate if you don’t have Glyph of Levitate. Glyph of Fortitude is also very useful. Glyph of Fade can be useful, and it’s not like there are other fantastic choices.

  • Plusheal’s Disc Priest guide – Excellent and thorough, if slightly strangely ordered. The Plusheal community in general are also great. Not updated for Patch 4.3, but it scarcely matters.

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Patch 4.3 WoW Holy Priest Quick Start guide – stats, spec and talents, glyphs, gems, reforging, chakras, and healing spells

Ah, Holy Priests. The priestliess of priests. The WoW priest that feels like a priest. OK, I’m going to stop that now before a Disc player removes my face – but nonetheless, Holy priests are awesome. And if you want to know how to spec or what talents to pick as you head into Dragon Soul to play “count the tentacle” with Deathwing, here’s our Patch 4.3 Quick Start guide to what glyphs and gems you should use, how to reforge, stat weights, enchantments, and how to use your spells – read on.

Updated 29th Nov 2011 for Patch 4.3

Holy Priest changes in Patch 4.3

The new patch has a couple of very significant changes for Holy Priests. Firstly, they’ve redesigned Spirit of Redemption to – no, just kidding. But seriously, folks.

The biggest change is a major buff to Divine Hymn. The State of Mind talent has been removed, and replaced by “Heavenly Voice”, which boosts Divine Hymn’s healing and reduces its CD. That’s going to mean you’ll need to move some talent points into what becomes a must-have talent now, particularly given Divine Hymn also now affects 5 targets.

The other play-affecting change, aside from a couple of minor buffs to Guardian Spirit and Holy Word: Serenity, is that Glyph of Circle of Healing now also increases the mana cost of Circle of Healing by 20%. It’ll likely only be useful in 25-man content now.

Spell usage / Rotation

Healers don’t have a fixed rotation as such – apart from anything else, you’re only healing when someone takes damage! However, it is important to know how to use your spells.

First thing: Chakras. The Chakra state is one of the Holy Priest’s signature abilities, and can look pretty complicated – however, it’s actually very simple.

Holy Priests can work in one of 3 “states” – either single-target healing, AOE healing, or DPS.

To go into a chakra state, you first cast the Chakra spell, which “signals” that you want to change state. Then, you cast either a single-target heal, AOE heal, or damage spell to go into the appropriate state.

Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and Binding Heal put you in Serenity, the single-target mode. Prayer of Healing and Prayer of Mending put you in Sanctuary, the AOE healing state. (Smite and Mind Spike put you in Chastise, the DPS state).

These state changes can’t occur more than once every 30 seconds – however, whilst you’re in each state, you’ll get a bonus to that type of healing, and your Holy Word spell alters to become a spell of that type – single-target, AOE or DPS.

Single-target healing

If you’re only healing one target most of the time, you’ll be in the Serenity chakra, putting up Renew to tick away merrily, then using Heal almost continuously to keep your target topped off without much mana cost.

If the target takes a lot of damage, you’ll use either Greater Heal, if you have time, Flash Heal, if it’s an emergency (but watch your mana pool!), or your Holy Word if it’s off cooldown.

If the group suddenly takes damage, pop Circle of Healing (your cooldown AOE heal) and use Prayer of Mending (which will heal your primary target when they next take damage) to pick up the single-target slack.

AOE/Group healing

First up, train your group to CLICK ON THE DAMN LIGHTWELL. *Lightwell *is the single most mana-efficient heal in the Holy Priest’s arsenal and delivers a powerful heal. You may want to use a macro or the RSA addon to announce when it goes down.

You’ll want to be in Chakra: Sanctuary when group healing, and put a Lightwell down somewhere accessible for the group. Your primary group heal is* Prayer of Healing* – use it liberally. Use Circle of Healing any time it’s off cooldown and is needed, in preference to Prayer of Healing. If the group’s taking damage irregularly, also use Prayer of Mending. Remember to use single-target heals too!

Don’t use Holy Word: Sanctuary unless you’re sure you need it – it’s very expensive. The best time to use it is 2-3 seconds before you know the group is about to take heavy damage – for example, from Electrocute on Nefarian.

Finally, if you need to move with the group and they need healing, use Holy Nova. If you just need to stabilise someone, Renew is also useful.

Cooldowns

Divine Hymn is a powerful AOE heal on a short (3 min) cooldown – use it on very heavy damage phases. For mana regen, use Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope – ideally, these should be used at the same time. Guardian Spirit is a powerful spell to save a single person – particularly if they’re about to take a damage spike you can’t heal. Oh, and remember Leap Of Faith, aka Life Grip, for those times when someone stands in what they shouldn’t have stood in!

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Holy Talent Spec

Batman. (Sorry)

The standard Holy talent spec looks a lot like this, and that spec will serve you well in raids or dungeons.

It leaves you with 2 points to spend where you will – a few good choices are:

  • Veiled Shadows at the top of the Shadow tree is a nice utility talent. It reduces your Fade cooldown – nice – but the key element is a reduction in your Shadowfiend cooldown, meaning more mana regen. Particularly useful early on with less mana available.
  • Darkness, also at the top of the Shadow tree, grants up to 3% Haste. Haste is probably the most valuable secondary stat for a Holy priest unless mana is a problem – once you aren’t running out of mana, highly recommended.
  • Rapid Renewal, in the third tier of the Holy tree, should be taken if you find yourself using HoTs a lot – another close-to-mandatory talent.
  • Surge of Light, in the second tier of Holy, is a good talent if you’re having mana problems.
  • Desperate Prayer is a great “Oh, S—t!” button, particularly if you tend to find yourself standing in the Bad a lot.

If in doubt, Darkness and Rapid Renewal are good choices. If you find you’re having mana problems, swap to Veiled Shadows and Surge of Light.

Stats, Reforging and Gems

Unlike DPS classes, there is no set best way to gear and reforge – instead, there are a few options, depending on what you most feel you need as a healer.

You care most about two stats: Intellect, which boosts your overall healing power, and Spirit, which controls your mana pool and mana regeneration. You should gem and enchant for these two stats.

Beyond this, you want enough Haste to get 12.5% haste, as shown on your character sheet, and Mastery is your next most useful stat, above Crit, which is close to useless for Holy priests.

Reforging: reforge everything to Spirit until you no longer worry about running out of mana in dungeons. Then, reforge to Haste until you have 12.5%, and after that, reforge to either Mastery for better mana efficiency through a lingering Heal Over Time or Haste to speed up your spells, as you prefer.

Holy Priest enchants

Several professions have “superior” enchants – use them if the stats are appropriate. Felfire Inscription on shoulders from Inscription, for example.

Head Arcanum of Hyjal
Shoulders   Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
Back Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
Chest Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
Wrist Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect
Hands Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery or Enchant Gloves – Haste – either / or
Belt Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Legs Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
Feet Enchant Boots – Lavawalker (the run speed is very useful)
Weapon Enchant Weapon – Heartsong or Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent – see below
Off-Hand Weapon Enchant Weapon – Superior Intellect

Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent will tend to be superior for a mainhand enchant once you have mostly iLevel 378 gear and beyond. Below that Heartsong is probably better. See this post for more math on that.

Glyphs

  • Prime Glyphs: Glyph of Renew and Glyph of Prayer of Healing. For the third glyph, choose Glyph of Lightwell if you play with people who remember to click on it, or Glyph of Guardian Spirit otherwise.
  • Major Glyphs: Prayer of Mending and two others. Circle of Healing is potentially useful in 25-man, particularly if you don’t suffer mana problems. Dispel Magic is useful on Dispel-heavy fights. There’s no other must-have third Major glyph – use whatever you like. It won’t matter too much!
  • Minor Glyphs: Glyph of Shadowfiend, Glyph of Levitate, and Glyph of Fading are good choices.

Sadly none of these guides are updated to Patch 4.3 yet.

You also might find the rest of MMO Melting Pot interesting – we scour the blogosphere daily looking for the most interesting discussions and posts about WoW and other MMOs and deliver them straight to you, all in one place, right here. See what’s on the Pot today!

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HOWTO: The Care And Feeding Of (Rift) Souls

Righty. Into RIFT, start up a quest. Go find a monster. Right. No problem, I’ll just ALT-TAB to WoWHead and –

Oh, yeah. No WoWHead. Bummer.

For an old WoWHand like me, not having much in the way of guides and databases currently available for Rift is a bit high on the Confusomatic scale. But people are starting to step in to help: people like Syl at Raging Monkeys, who today has a guide to Rift Souls, Roles, and possibly also Bowls.

[pullquote]There are currently a few Rift resources in the making, but nobody likes to go and search half-baked databases when starting off with a new game. Also: Wiki articles are often cryptic and have the potential to scare you off rather than to help – now that would be a real shame. So, what is it with this class-soul-role mumbo-jumbo in Rift? [/pullquote]

For all that Rift is described as being very, very similar to World of Warcraft, the Soul system is only similar if you imagine a WoW where you can have up to three classes all acting at the same time, so you could be a shadowpriest-DK-Paladin or something. Sound fun? It really is. But simple? It really isn’t.

Huge shout-outs to Syl for the guide – which certainly diminished my confusion a fair bit – and if you’re working on a guide to another aspect of Rift, please do let us know!

Particularly if it’s about Porticums, or whatever they’re called. I dig that they’re like heartstones, but what’s the whole map thing about? Can you use them to teleport? WTF?

Is Rift confusing you? Or do you fail to understand why everyone’s having their “whu?” moments?

_Quote taken directly from Raging Monkeys’ post.

Find Raging Monkeys’ homepage here.

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Does Limiting Talent Specs In WoW Make Them ‘Meaningful Choices’?

Blacksen’s brought an old-new topic to the table today. He says that in WoW we should get unlimited talent specs. Or at least, a third talent spec. Sure, we might’ve heard this topic before. But Blacksen’s got a fresh and very convincing approach on it and his argument is very well constructed. So much so I’m scratching my head here looking for holes in it.

He links the MMO Champion forums and the WoW forums, where the discussion kicked off. Then Blacksen launches into his own argument, looking at the developers’ take on this. That is, they want talent specs to be meaningful choices. Blacksen says that having to pay in both gold and time to re-respec isn’t a meaningful choice, and it’s something a lot of WoW players do on a frequent basis.

The 66g and time-input doesn’t “magically create” a meaningful decision. Similarly, the 10g that it costs for swapping glyphs doesn’t make glyphs a “meaningful decision.” The meaning is derived from the fact that you must choose. From ~10 glyphs per prime/major category, you can only bring 3. Out of over 110 talents, you must choose 41, and 31 of those have to be in a single tree.

He points out that the meaningful decision comes in how you choose to spend your talents in a given spec. Indeed, Blacksen goes over examples of meaningful and non-meaningful decisions in the game, and the fact that WoW is an exception to this rule. Every other game he plays, he says, allows for a lot more flexibility in what direction your character excels in at any given time.

Blacksen wants to get this discussion out there and his post is persuasive enough to have a serious think. So tell me – where do you stand on this – would unlimited specs just remove the pointless gold/time respeccing cost, or would it remove a character’s individuality?

_Quote taken directly from Blacksen’s post

You can find Blacksen’s End homepage here_

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Rift’s Soul System: The Brainchild MMOs Should Adopt

Bootae says the answer to the MMO world’s stubborn, inflexible albeit traditional tank/healer/DPS trinity has been found. He says it’s Rift’s ‘soul’ system, and other MMOs should be looking to adopt something similar if they want to move forward.

Bootae starts out with an excellent explanation of how the soul system, which is Rift’s version of a talent system, works. He takes one of Rift’s classes as an example and goes through the various roles that class can assume using its talents. And its flexibility, Bootae says, is its beauty.

The holy trinity of tank/healer/DPS (or dirty quartet with support added) is still there, but it is now less of a ball ache when your guild tanks aren’t online.

We can do a sodding dungeon with 5 rogues! Uhm like woah?

Bootae explains that you can set up any class to perform in any role. Also, like in WoW with dual talent specification, you can switch between talent/soul setups to perform different tasks depending on what you need – and that he and his group did just that to tackle a few dungeons without swapping people out. I reckon Bootae’s pointed out something important today: here’s a system where you really can bring the player, not the class.

What do you think – should games use this system as baseline to give us more flexibility or is it too complicated, both to play and balance a complex world around?

_Quote taken directly from Bootae’s post

You can find Bootae’s Bloody Blog homepage here_

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