Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Cataclysm Release Day Fun

So on Monday the sixth at 11pm UK time I expect to begin the Cataclysm powergrind to 85; The plan as it stands is that we believe that we can get to 85 fastest by grinding instances from release till 85. I personally really like this because I will hit 85 with entry level blue gear if all goes well, and of course the main reason, no need to deal with lore! (I mean a shot at server firsts).

So where am I planning to go and how am I building my information pack on what to do and where to go? Well I was going to build a long and expansive guide on what instances to go to and what to do, but god there is a lot to do. So I thought I would put out a couple of useful pieces of information.

Tabards – Not a big deal you say, but as I understand I will have one of my rep grinds done if I wear a tabard through to 80, and as a warlock dps my options are fairly simple. I will hopefully picking up my Tabard of the Guardians of Hjal . This is picked up relatively quickly from Provisioner Whitecloud in Hyjal, after a couple of quests to obtain friendly reputation. There are probably two questions in your mind, firstly – why Hyjal specifically, and the main reason is that they sell Arcanum of Hyjal the caster dps head enchant. The second question is as to whether I will have time if we’re aiming on at a server first; to get to an instance we are reliant on three people making it there and summoning the last. So possibly I will have time after I’ve handed in the 25 quests in my questbook.

Some useful links for warlocks out there:

- Elitist Jerks Warlock Cataclysm Compendium

- Total Biscuits youtube channel where you can find tonnes of Cataclysm videos, including videos of all the instances (oh and did I mention he has a proper accent :p)

- Tankspot cataclysm dungeon videos – nicely commentated videos of Stonecore Dungeon and Throne of the Tides Dungeon.

MMO – Champion

Falling Leaves and wings

Friday, 19 November 2010

What to look for in a guild

I always think it is really interesting how different people approach applying to guilds. Before I start I would like to make a couple of things clear, I have been in very few social guilds and no pvp guilds, so I have next to no experience of what to look for in a pvp guild. If you are looking for a pvp guild I would recommend Blood Sport’s advice on realm transfers. One small note finding the information listed below may all seem hard to find out about, but if a guild is recruiting your class then its members “should” always be willing and probably keen to explain all the aspects of their guild to a potential applicant so their raids succeed.

Progression – it may sound elitist to start here, but it is exactly how I start every time. The tools available to you are very varied. Depending on what you’re looking for I would recommend one of two things.

1. If you are looking for a guild on your server then I would recommend the realm forums, there you can find the majority of the large guilds around, or if you’re feeling particularly gutsy you could even just create a post advertising yourself.

2. If you are looking for a guild but you don’t mind what server then there are a huge varieties of websites but I find the best one by miles is wow-progress. Wow-progress is a great tool for comparing guilds, or just establishing how far guilds go. Now I have a habit of spending far too much money moving players between servers, as it is £15 for a realm transfer and £20 for a faction transfer.

A few words on wow-progress, I find generally that the best way is work out how progressed you would like the guild to be, then work out what world rankings are in that range and browse using that. Sadly most guilds suck at updating their wow-progress profile so it is always worth visiting their websites to find out firstly whether they are actually recruiting what they claim, but secondly to check they still exist (yes I have got excited about guilds on more than one occasion only to find literally no trace of them left).

A second important point about progression is their history – while it is very important to look at current progress I find it is almost as important to look at their progression history, is the guild on a momentary high or have they been good for ages. A guild that has got yogg+0 before Totc would be far more attractive than a guild that hasn’t got it even if they have equivalent progression on the current content. Do not forget to have a look at when they’ve completed the achievements as it can be that guilds go back and clear the content after its current. Which is yet another statement about the guild, if you look in the about me section the guild Lunatics Convention I was in could only ever get its raiders into old content with serious bribery/motivational speeches, while it is standard protocol in AP to work on things like immortal or Yogg + 0 when we have some down time.

Raiding style – This may sound like a weird point but you find guilds that are achievement nuts, and guilds that don’t care at all. I personally would always advocate an achievement nuts guild as achievements are in themselves challenging and require a guild to work together and learn skills. If a raid leader can’t get their team to do achievements then you have to ask yourself, is that the guild for me? – interestingly though it really appeals to some people; I was in a guild who didn’t get boned until they were offered a dkp bonus for killing spikes, which to me is ridiculous, but it does point to a more relaxed nature.

Activity – I don’t know about you but I personally given all the time in the world would raid more than I currently do. Do you want a guild that is going to raid 5 nights a week and optional alt raids on the other two, or are you more interested in raiding in a guild that raids 3 nights a week. Beyond that guilds have different policies, I raided with Sublime, who very specifically stated in their agenda that they were actively looking to raid less than their stated 4 nights a week, this meant frequently they would organise a 10 man one night a week while clearing other than LK heroic on the first raid night and working on LK HC for the other two.  This may all seem hard to find out about but if a guild is recruiting your class then its members “should” always be willing and probably keen to explain all the aspects of their guild to a potential applicant so their raids succeed. (Don’t forget to check that their raid times actually fit)

Raiding style – What do you want from a raid leader? It does make me a little sad accepting this but your raid leader or leaders are in all likelihood going to have the largest effect on your life in wow, so what do you want from them? Are you the kind of person who reacts badly to being called? Do you want a raid leader who is, for want of a less terrible phrase, a fluffy bunny?  With one last mention to raiding style I’ll carry on; do you prefer guilds that are happy to bash their heads against a wall, and if there is no progress will give you a break, or do you prefer guilds that will call the night early and come back refreshed the next day. Now to me this sounds like too much detail, but as time goes on I care more and more about these differences between raid leaders. In Ancient Prophecies our raid leader Waldon is a character, but on a more serious note he brings to the table a willingness to call you out if you fail, be it in whispers or if its exceptional it could be on vent, but all is fine and happy if you have a reason and understanding as to what you’ve done wrong. He also is very interested in the raid performing rather than just killing bosses, so this means his raids and tactics will change so we can optimize dps, get better kill times and improve as a guild. Now this is perfect for me, but it may be that it isn’t for you.

Social aspects – Now this is just about the hardest and yet at the same time most important aspect of guilds to me. I feel like a fraud saying this but here goes – I really like an active guild, I like chatting to people and I like logging onto vent to say hi and generally dish about inconsequential wow trivia. Yet to be perfectly honest that is a lie, as recently life (and possibly pre-Cataclysm weariness) has prevented me from having the time to sit on vent and just chat. Now social means different things to different people so I think it is worth talking to the guild to find out what they do in their free time. During my time at Lunatics I ran a gold dkp every Sunday that ended up clearing 12/12 on normal and 4/12 in icc 25 heroic before I left Argent Dawn (aren’t rp servers amazing) and it was a fantastic success, Sunday afternoons went from being a boring quiet afternoon to having 10 – 20 guildies on vent chatting away and bitching about how hung-over they were (we had about 4 to many northern lads in the guild for the chat not to be about that).

So find out about the guild, do a /who of the guild during the day to see who is online and have a chat with the members to see what the social status of the guild is.

Other activities – Do you pvp seriously, there are some quite amazing guilds out there that have multiple facets, during my research I came across a guild that was part hardcore pvpers and part hardcore raiders, and while the two teams had a little overlap it appeared to have just evolved into two separate bodies. That said it could be you’re an altaholic, so if that’s the case find out what the rules are on alts and socials, do they welcome them with open hands or do they keep their core team small.


I hope this proves to be useful in some way but I’m always curious as to how people choose their guilds.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

My philosophy on druid healing.

I have always believed that druid healing is among the most interesting healing in the game, as unlike nearly every other healer in the game, bar disc priests, we can heal the damage before it is even there. Fundamentally druids are massively versatile given we have very powerful hots combined with decent single target healing which makes us a very powerful tool in a healing team.

My fundamental belief as a druid healer is that any decent healer fits the heals to the damage, unfortunately in WOTLK we have been stuck with a gimped arsenal, where Rejuvenation dominates our healing repertoire to a massive extent. I’d like to just take a moment to explain what I mean by “fit the heals to the damage” as I think this is the key statement. As a restoration druid we have six main heals.

Regrowth – A direct heal with a hot portion.
Rejuvenation – A hot
Lifebloom – A hot with a direct heal when it finishes
Wildgrowth – A smart aoe heal hot that last for six seconds
Nourish – A single target heal scaling better with hots
Tranquility – A party wide channelled heal

Now as you can see we have a real variety of tools out there, though the standard healing rotation for a restoration druid is 5xrejuv 1xwg. That is very simply designed to deal with a heavy aoe fight. Now i think one of the key points is that we have to deviate from that occasionally with say a direct heal in order to save someone. Now as I stated above we’re in a AOE fight so we have 2 options, nourish or regrowth. Now nourish will get them up faster and more health but in the name of efficiency regrowth will outperform nourish as it provides a hot cover after, this should heal for more. This is one of the best examples of fitting your heal to the fight.

Let us look at say Sindragosa. The aoe ticks are not heavy so I tend to rejuv some and wg while dpsing, as a rejuv blanket would be overkill. There are people that will get unchained magic and will take damage from it. Unfortunately the duration of unchained magic is such that you can’t really time your lifebloom to go off at the same time as unchainged, but lifebloom works brilliantly on the ice tombs.
Lifebloom and raid healing. I have encountered many a druid who liked using lifebloom as a raid healing tool, I fundamentally do not like it. The 8 second duration means you can’t even cover 2 groups effectively. Lifebloom has a heal as it “blooms” or ends, while raid healing this I find is largely speaking useless as the bloom is uncontrolled and usually wasted, thus failing to justify the extra cost of lifebloom over rejuvenation.

The other aspect of druids is getting your healing ready. I think the perfect example of this is jarraxus. When doing this on heroic 25 man we had problems with the infernals killing melee dps. To avoid this our druids would prehot the melee so that each one had at least two rejuvs ticking on them. While this resulted in alot of over healing the fact was when the damage hit we already had extra heals helping our shamans keep the dps up.

Fundamentally druid healing in my books is not about spamming one skill it is about varying your healing fight by fight, and making sure that the hots are there before the dps even realise they could be standing in the fire. I loved the fact that in ulduar I had a different approach to healing every fight, even if it was small variations that could be the difference between a wipe and a kill. I belive that you should heal as to how you feel most effective and adjust your regen accordingly, therefore I recommend carry idol of awakening and spark of hope on you at all times in case the extra regen is useful.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010


First of all apologies for not updating this page I have been forced to spend my free time in other directions recently.

For the past hmmm it must be about 15 months I've played a restoration druid, and to be perfectly honest I adore it, druids are a fascinating to play in my opinion as you have so much room for customisation in your play style and your still viable.

About 3 to 4 weeks ago I bit the bullet and stopped raiding with Lunatics Convention at all. I wasn't enjoying it due to a certain member of the guild, who I can avoid entirely as a social member; my view on raiding is that if your really not happy just pick up and move on. I still leave all my alts there and I'm having great fun leveling my warrior alt with my good friends in the guild.

The fact is I play this game to raid, and that is really just about it. Most of the other things I do inside the game are ways to spend time with my friends, though I keenly anticipate rated bgs, as I got a healthy taste of large scale pvp in Warhammer Online. So I set of in search of a raiding guild; Pidigidy is on Argent Dawn a rp realm, and my main gripe with the realm is the quality of the pubbies and the activity on the realm (I run about 2/3 of the pugs I go on). My fascination of the time was PvP realms as they seemed so different so I sent of in search of a Raiding guild.

The conditions of my search was that I wanted a guild that had killed the LK on 25, and hadn't progressed to far into the hard modes of ICC. That coupled with the fact that I was looking for a raiding guild that could take me and possibly some of my friends turned up a remarkably small number of results, 2 in the end. So in the end I settled at Union guild. The reason it stuck out was the fact it seemed to have a general social life in it, and though they spent less time chatting on vent they really did have the activity.

So I wrote my application and was accepted on trial on my Warlock Gloraa, now know as Reezen. My first discovery was that their raid leader had commited suicide two weeks before I applied, but due to my naivity I headed straight on and embarked on my trial.

This was my first experience of a "serious" 25 man raiding guild on a pvp realm, and though they were harsher than Lunatics I was having a thrilling time. The true thing that I had not realised was what set aparts a top end raider from a good raider, is not how much dps they do, the marginal difference from lunatics to Union was very small, it really was the survivability cooldowns that everyone uses.

I had a phenomenal time raiding and got to see 10/12 hardmodes in icc 25, and got to raid on my lock at a high level which was thrilling; here comes the however, about three days ago I found out that four to sven of the top end of the guild were leaving. So I'm faced with an option do I:

- Stay and help the guild rebuild
- Go back to raiding on my druid on Argent Dawn with Illumination and keep an eye out for changes in Lunatics roster
- Go to another realm (outland is saturated with raiders now) and try again on Reezen (possibly Sylvanas)

This is my dilema and I'll have to think on it.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Alts alts and more alts

I first started playing WOW about a month after Wrath of the Lich King, which meant that when my first toon got to 80 and started raiding properly I quickly reached the now what phase. As I didn't have much experience in WOW I ground heroics over and over again for hours on end, with no particular aim. (I still have not completed glory of the Hero despite only having a couple of achievements left) So in the end I bit the bullet and leveled two alts (yes I actually detest leveling unless I have a very good tv series to watch at the same time, like true blood)
I think haveing a good set of alts is one of the keys to enjoying wow, as there is no better raider than one who understands all the mechanics of the fight, and has even tanked/healed/dpsed it. This is why I have two alts:

Thobas a Dk tank
Gloraa a warlock
What has truely surprised me while playing these alts is the variety in class mechanics that blizzard has managed to create. (I at the moment am resisting temptation to roll a arcane mage) I thought that I would be bored playing just a dps, but I absoloutely adore being able to flip between destruction and affliction at a moments notice.
I currently have Gloraa as my main raiding toon and I raid ICC 25 and 10 with her every week. The ICC 10 is either a pug which I have to lead, or our second guild ICC 10 run if sign ups are low. Due to this I have actually been able to get some pretty snazy gear on her, but I'm beginng to reach the phase everyone I know reaches with alts (provided they don't have legions of them) the now what phase. Gloraa has got every single item I really want from the first four bosses in ICC 25 and that is about as far as I can reasonably go with her for the moment. The last time we pugged ICC 25 and looked at Festergut it turned into a horrendous wipe fest, which I am truely scared to repeat.
So your faced with the problem when raiding with an alt. What do I do and there are a variety of different options from my perspective:
- I can try very hard to push the icc 25 I run further into Icecrown which has its benefits, but I have serious questions as to whether it is possible (rp servers raiding being what it is)
- I can just casually raid with her and not really worry about advancing her.
- I can try to enlist her in a 10 man raiding guild, but I have a distinct feeling that trying to keep to two raiding schedules is just foolish as who has that time.
- I could try to mainswap.

Of the above I'm personally going to try to drag my ICC 25 gdkp through festergut, though admittedly it is going to involve recruiting and replacing people.


Thursday, 18 February 2010

Valithiria Dreamwalker Video

This is our second kill of Valthria from my point of view. Enjoy

Sunday, 7 February 2010


First of all I'd like to apologise about the absurd gab between posts, my rl and online life have some unknown reason become allot more busier which really has limited my free time.

Well I think given the style of this fight every healing blog will be tempted to write about Valithria Dreamwalker. We had our night on her last week and I found it to be a fun if interesting fight.

For those that haven't done this fight i'll give a it a brief explanation. Waves of adds come from each side that have to be dealt with fast by the dps, and have a variety of painful debuffs/aoes. The aim of this is to heal Valithria to full health, to do this you send healers into a dream phase where they are able to get a stacking buff that gives them +mp5 and +% healing.

Initially we started with 5 healers going into portals and 2 healers (the durids) staying out. Vhan and I decided to split sides as the room is quite wide and I don't know about your dps but our tanks were forced to run into the corners to keep our dps alive. This meant we had to split the room 50/50. As we were getting used to fight we had a couple of wipes due to tanks running off, we then switched to rotating the 5th healer going into the portals, thus increasing the regen of the druids. Finally we bit the bullet and took a 8th healer and had 4 raid healers and allowed 2 mages to go into the portals (you should have seen there glee at the idea of damage increases + infinite mana).

What i'm truly looking forward to is seeing what tactic people settle down to on the heroic as that is going to be one interesting fight. I suspect you'll probably can't take 9 healers due to the dps but well we'll see. The main complications stem from the fact that you need the dps to take down the adds, I can imagine the aoeing add will be lethal on heroic, while you need the healing team to pick her up fast. This means that presumably on heroic you will use as many of her portals as possible with healers, yet at the same time can you really spare healers from raid healing. I guess this is one of the fights where good guilds will really shine.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Healing touch

Ever since I started playing wow as a resto druid, I have found healing touch to be amoung our oddest spells. Now that 3.3 has hit and we have an extra 10% haste bouncing around before you look at our gear I finally looked at a healing touch build. The build I propose would be:


This build assumes that your gear is able to get to over 856 haste to be even remotely viable. I took this into onyxia 25 and I found that I had aproximately 950 haste:
1.6s healing touch without natures grace
1.3s healing touch with natures grace

This build was one of the oddest heailng build i've ever used, bar glyphed healing touch builds. It provides well as you see above 13k heals, 20k crits on a relatively small cast speed. This build surprisingly has some majour short fallings and nice points:

- Healing touch provides a massive throughput, above what nourish can hope to touch, especially on a tank that you haven't had time to hot.
- You can combine phenomenal throughput with hots to provide stable tank healing that few can match.

- Healing touch has a high haste requirement
- Healing touch requries crit or even higher haste
- Healing touch costs a phenomenal amount

The cons I feel need a tiny bit more explaining. On our gear we have 3 stats we can chose 2 from; crit, haste and spirit. A healing touch build requires high crit to maintain naturesgrace to keep your throughput high, or high haste requirements to allow you to talent out of natures grace. I presume something in the region of 1200+ haste and you could ignore natures grace. High mana cost means that you would need an insane amount of regen to maintain a spam equivalent to what a paladin can pump out.

Unsurprisingly this build did not work out as effective for me, but I had alot of fun and noone died in the poor onyxia run I solo healed with this on my first time out of the garage.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Gold DKP

I have always been interested in economics (it largely stems from a family of economists) which means that one aspect of wow I in theory love is the auction house, though to be perfectly honest I have the attention span of a pea when it comes to controlling markets and i'm liable to give up and just offload my supplys at a marginal profit when I get bored, but thats me.

After avidly reading a wide variety blogs I kept coming across GDKP runs, though being an RP server such as Argent Dawn which has, to the best of my knowledge, only had one or two GDKP runs before I started organising them; which have gone to naxx while totc was progression so unsurpisingly I was tentative in organising them.

Before I continue further I will just give a brief description of GDKP:

Gold Dkp is a loot system (I think originally developed in Korea) whereby loot is put out to auction when it drops and the members of the raid bid using gold. The top gold bid trades his gold with the treasurer in exchange for the item. The gold that is spent goes into a pool that at the end of the raid is shared out evenly among the raiders.

Now of course there are variations in the above system with open or closed bidding, minimum bid sizes, entry fees and so on, but in the end they come down to the basic system outlined above.

About a month ago I started organising the raids on my server, initially taking them totc 25. I must confess it was tolerated to a much larger extent than I expected, but as per usual you get the odd nutjob who thinks that its fair to shout at you just because your proposing a loot system they don't even come to. So to start off with we went totc 25, while the guild was on a raiding holiday, taking a raid that was about 1/2 to 3/4 guild mains/alts and the remainder was filled with friends or pugs. We've had a series of relatively successful runs, but I have noticed one main thing, items still are going cheaply relative to prices on other servers. That is just fine (trinkets have gone for 2k to 13k gold), but in the end I would like GDKP run to have prices of items going for AH prices.

The reason why I am posting about this here is that this weekend we're taking the raid to ICC 25, and not only am I little nervous but I have had to think harder about raid composition and so on. The reason why goes as follows; in your normal GDKP run you split the raid aproximately down the middle with "workers" and "buyers". Workers are guild mains who come largely for some fun/that last trinket drop they need from the instance. "Buyers" are people who come in largely undergeared who are designed to supply the demand for the items that drop. In our initial runs we went with a high amount of workers relative to buyers, though we have now shifted more towards reducing the numbers of workers and increasing the numbers of buyers. That is largely because out of our maybe 10 - 20 workers who i could source from 7 have recieved the trinkets they wanted and are now happy to bring alts.

This weekend though we are going to ICC (which is only just being tentatively pugged - though you could argue that the leaders are just leading glorified rep runs as 2 in every 3 don't get past the first boss) and by definition we won't have workers and buyers as nearly all the raid are workers, due to the inability of our gild mains to come as they all go to icc. Unfortunately it does rule out one of the nice ethoses of GDKP which is that you can pull in an alt that has just dinged 80 into pretty much any GDKP run and gear him up without coping with "you are not geared enough to go into this heroic", but that is life.

The main dilema that I am faced with is a raid full of what should be buyers, but we will almost definitely have people coming who just want the gold, but aren't punching above the raid average in contribution. Now in an ideal world I would have a raid full of people who could just clear the instance in one smooth go, but would all really want to bid on gear, as this would result in a large pool of cash at the end being shared out which would comfort those that didn't recieve gear nicely even more. Howerever at some level I most want to raid with my guildys and there is nothing like a vent channel full of people cheering on the bidding in raid!

So for this week I will without a doubt take the broke people with us, as you can't help but pitty those people who have had to raise 50k gold to fund their own bid at shadowmourne. I will have to try not to hold my breath and go farm the ah for money so I can go lead the bidding and nab me some nice shinys (though it still hangs in the air whether I dig my warlock or my dk up).


Sunday, 17 January 2010

My rough ideas for gear in 3.3

Firstly I, with any set I pick, will aim to be over the haste soft cap of 856, as while cf is a perfectly good talent, I like to pvp and in all honesty just have more freedom to move 7 points around in the restoration tree (assuming i drop natures focus) as it is frankly more interesting and allows me to alter my play style more to fit my style of play.

I currently am aiming to pick up 4xT10 which leaves me with the challenge as to chose which pieces to pick up within the set. The legs and gloves are both mandatory as I need the haste, which leaves me with choosing between helm, shoulders and chest. In all honesty I don't know which pieces are better itemized out of the three, but the shoulders have a smaller stat contribution, which in turn means a small loss of haste - but to cut a long debate short i'll take shoulders and helm because in all honesty I do love the looks of our new tier.

This leaves me with options on the rest of my gear. Now there is one thing you should understand about my gearing, I don't like picking up mp5 over spirit and the reason why is not the relative regen merits of the two, it is simply that all things being equal you can reach a higher maximum spell power with spirit on your gear, rather than mp5.

By totaling up my gear (I am working with 264 item levels as though I may be fortunate enough to get heroic kills I am not going to rely on getting 277 items to ensure I reach the haste cap). By looking at the rest of my gear it becomes apparent that you can reach the 856 haste soft cap so long as every piece has haste, bar one slot (not including trinkets).

When looking over my gear there are two particular slots that appear to require the most thinking about. Feet and weapon slot. I traditionally have always aimed for a main hand off hand combo as it has always seemed to have the highest overall spell power.
Sundial of the Eternal Dusk + Trauma
Dying Light
with possibly heroic/normal versions of Mag'hari Chieftan's Staff along the way.

Now feet slot is the slot that most frustrates me, don't ask me why but I always like stacking a bit of regen which means that I really don't like to take items that have crit and haste on them rather than spirit/haste. For feet there really aren't many options, with the only haste/spirit boots being the crafted Blessed Cenarion Boots. This leaves me with the conundrum either shell out a good 12k gold on the boots, or simply live with using a staff.

As always in the end I don't like using BIS sets, but more a priority system and I hope my reasoning above has helped you in some way, as gearing for the 856 haste softcap seems to be achievable, but requires giving up more than I had initially planned for.

ps. one of the main reasons why I am looking at Trauma is due to the relative high benefit druids get from the staff relative to other healers. If you would like further discussion about this feel free to consult the EJ druid itemization forum thread.