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Posts with tag Downranking

Addon Spotlight: RankWatch

Author Gronzig emailed us a note about this new addon of his called RankWatch, which serves a simple purpose: it alerts you if anyone is using downranked spells. I'm sure we've all seen the player who forgets to train, put on their bars, or update their macros with new ranks of important spells. Heck, I was using rank two of Binding Heal well into Naxxramas, since I had it bound directly to a key with Dominos.

If anyone in your party or raid uses a rank lower than the maximum for their level, RankWatch will tell then about it in a whisper. The only exception is for Life Tap, which warlocks will often use rank one of to proc effects without taking much of a health hit. Back in the day, healers would commonly downrank heals as a mana-saving measure (if I recall correctly, Heal rank four was a staple in classic raiding), but this strategy is long-gone (since patch 3.0.2), because downranked spells now cost the same amount mana as top-rank spells (or more).

Configuration options include turing off the auto-whisper and ignoring certain players, which are both vital for a potentially-annoying mod like this. Overall RankWatch looks like a useful little tool, if only so I no longer have to worry about checking up on myself.

Download RankWach at Curse

Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Patch 3.02 for Restoration Druids, part 1

The single biggest change for most restoration Druids with patch 3.02 will be the disappearance of at least four commonly-used PvE and PvP specs:
  • 8/11/42 (the traditional resto PvP spec)
  • 11/11/39 (Resto PvP with Insect Swarm)
  • 13/11/37 (Resto PvP with Insect Swarm and Nature's Reach)
  • 11/0/50 (PvE Tree of Life with Insect Swarm).
The first three are kaputski because Feral Charge is now a 21-point talent in the feral tree, and the last three are bye-bye because Insect Swarm is now a 21-point talent in the balance tree. If you still want talents from the balance tree especially, you'll have a ton of stuff to play with (frankly I ran out of space here to discuss the new restokin specs but we'll cover it as soon as we can), but for the moment we're only going to concern ourselves with stuff squarely in the Restoration tree. Shifting Perspectives later today will have a full run-down on moonkin in patch 3.02 and Wrath. Otherwise, there's still a ton of new stuff for tree Druids in this patch, including a resurrected Tier 3 set bonus, a vastly-improved Tree of Life form, an out-of-combat rez, and an insane +haste buff to two of your most-used spells. If you also want a look at what early 5-man healing in the beta is like as a resto Druid, head here.

Read on for a comprehensive look at the new healing and mana regeneration mechanics, Restoration abilities, talents, and glyphs!

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Expansions, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King

Spiritual Guidance: Everything you ever wanted to know about raid healing at level 80


Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. This week Matticus offers his opinion and experience on raid healing at level 80. Find out about how Matt manages his mana, his take on whether Priests really are "useless", skills needed to thrive, and just how hard it is to heal tanks.

When I write blog posts about Priests, I don't like to rely on speculation. I am certain there are many Priests (other healers even) who want to know what the next age of Wrath healing will look like. I am not a Shaman, a Paladin, or a Druid; therefore, I cannot speak from their perspectives but I have seen them in action. I am not a theorycrafter. I can't break everything down into numbers for you. There have been a few blue posts asking for healer feedback and maybe this post can offer some insight.

That being said, this post is drawn from my experiences as a healer in both normal (10 man) and heroic (25 man) versions of Naxxramas and Obsidian Sanctum. I won't tell you what I think should get nerfed or buffed; I will, however, tell you how I coped with the challenges that the expansion brought forth.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Guides, Classes, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Insider Show Episode 53: A dragon the size of your house

Just as it does every Saturday, our weekly podcast went live over the weekend, and the recording of the show is now up on the WoW Radio website for listening. Michael Gray joined us for the first time on the show, and Turpster was aboard for the ride as usual. We chatted about a lot of the most popular stories from the last week in Warcraft, including:
It was a pretty packed show -- if you listened to the live feed, you know we had a little streaming problem in the beginning, but don't worry, because the recording is complete, so anything you missed then you can hear now. Additionally, if you hear anything that inspire you to write to us, please do: the email is theshow@wow.com. Additionally, you can also look us up in iTunes -- if you haven't written a review of the show there yet, please do, as we're always hungry for feedback.

Enjoy the show, and we'll see you next week.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Podcasting, PvP, Expansions, Humor, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena, WoW Insider Show

Base mana for dummies

In Wrath of the Lich King, all spells are being reworked so that their cost, rather than being a static mana value, is a percentage of your base mana pool (this is largely to prevent downranking). For instance, in the current, live game, Levitate costs 100 mana. In the Wrath beta, Levitate costs 3% of base mana But what is base mana?

It's the amount of mana you have before talents, buffs, and stats (like intellect and +mana) are factored in, and before base intellect from your race is taken into account. In other words, it's the amount of mana you would have if you were naked, unbuffed, and un-talented, and had no Intellect. Thus, it is a static value for each character of a given class/level combination. Getting more Int from gear will not raise the cost of spells, because it does not raise your base mana pool (it raises total mana pool). [Thanks for the correction, Breck and Improbable.]

So to the person who wrote in asking "what's the point of getting more Int if it will just make spell costs go up," I hope that answers your question: more Int does not affect your base mana pool. Ultimately we should see little difference from this base-mana-pool spell cost change, aside from the death of downranking.

Filed under: Tips, Wrath of the Lich King

Scattered Shots: How do you make sense of all the beta hunter changes?


Is the tauren above about to cut off his own head -- or lunge forward to attack? Perhaps he's just feeling confused about upcoming changes to hunters? Would you, too, like to know just what's going to happen to your class? Well, you can rest easy now, because Scattered Shots has all the answers to your most urgent questions.

The short answer is: You don't; at the moment there is no making sense of all the Wrath hunter changes. We find ourselves at the mid-point of Blizzard's mysterious scheme for hunters, right in-between significant changes already in-progress and vague changes which they've promised or the future. We remain uncertain about which ones are going to make it live, which will be changed again, and which will be removed or added later on. Any analysis we do right now (and indeed much of the analysis we've already done) may or may not be completely out of date in a matter of days or weeks, and if your head hurts from all the ups and downs of turbulent beta-zone theorycrafting, rest assured that Scattered Shots feels your pain.

The long answer is: Even though the jigsaw puzzle isn't complete, it's still a pretty neat picture to look at. Today isn't the day for point-for-point talent analyses plus spreadsheets of sting/shot-damage coefficients -- what a headache that would be. No, today is an opportunity to stand back and look at how all this is beginning to fit together, to see how the path our class is trekking through the wilderness of beta-testing ambiguity solves some of our long-standing problems, gives us more of what makes hunters great, and leaves us with several crucial questions mysteriously unanswered.

What follows, ladies and gentauren, are the X-files of hunter beta mysteries, a fuzzy look through the crystal ball into the future of our class, the thrilling buildup to the surprising twist that comes just before the epic climax of the Hunter Saga season finale and leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat, biting on the tip of your fingernails, and gasping for air in the thrall of cliffhanger suspense.

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Filed under: Hunter, PvP, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Shifting Perspectives: Downranking changes some key Druid abilities

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, Michael Gray's going to take a look at the recent downranking changes, and how they affect our furry, furry class.

So, one of the big news pieces to hit the streets about the Wrath of the Lich King beta is that "downranking" has been nerfed. There's a little bit of history that you need to know to get why that matters.

Downranking isn't actually that complicated, in and of itself. When you learn a new rank of a spell, you keep the lower version of the spell available in your spellbook. Not all classes function that way, but all spell casting classes do. When you "downrank," then, you're casting a lower level version of a spell than the highest one you have available to you.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

WoW Insider Show Episode 51: Downranking no more

I didn't realize until right now that that was Radiohead's National Anthem sneaking into the WoW Insider Show's theme song -- shows how much I listen to the cool mix of Warcraft sounds that Duncor put into our intro. But yes, if you listen to this week's WoW Insider Show, now available on WoW Radio's website and over in iTunes, not only do you get the dulcet tons of my voice, Turpster's accented vocalizations, and the stylings of WoW Insider's Amanda Dean, but you also get to hear a little bit of Thom Yorke's band as well. And, you'll hear us talking about:
If you'd like to email us about something you hear on the show, please do: the address is theshow@wow.com. Enjoy the show this week, and we'll see you next Saturday as always over on WoW Radio for the WoW Insider Show.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, Blizzard, Humor, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King, WoW Insider Show

Earth Shock replacement to be implemented due to downranking changes

People are still reeling from the downranking change on Beta, but as the dust clears and Blizzard continues to stick to their guns, it may be that we'll have to live with it. One thing Blizzard has said, however, is that if it looks like there's genuine void created somewhere by the loss of downranking, they'll fix it.

One genuine void is that of rank 1 Earth Shock. Shamans have longed used the spell as a spell interrupt when they can't afford to spend the mana on a max rank shock, both in PvE and PvP. With the new mana cost rules, that cheap interrupt is now gone, complicating a shaman's already touchy mana preservation issues.

Luckily, not all is lost for Shamans, as Koraa says that they are creating a rank 1 Earth Shock spell equivalent that should show up in the Beta at some point in the future.

This, at the least, is a good indication that Blizzard means to make good on plugging up holes left by the abolishment of downranking -- or at least the holes that the dev team sees as needing to be plugged. Will we see a replacement for rank 1 Moonfire for totem killing, or for rank 1 Arcane Explosion or rank 1 Consecration for flushing out stealthers? That remains to be seen, but it seems much less likely, since those are roundabout ways of using a damage spell for a non-DPS reason rather than the straightforward purpose of using rank 1 Earth Shock as a cheap spell interrupter.

Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Totem Talk: Restoration in the Wrath Beta


I was all set to tell you that I'd had a couple of interesting PuG runs in the beta testing out restoration spec, and that all was relatively well. The new spells are interesting and even powerful, at least at the five man level, I was about to say. I would have told you about successful and unsuccessful runs in both Utgarde Keep and the Nexus. All of this would have been what I wrote about today.

However, for most of yesterday the beta was inaccessible and when it finally came up again, it was patched, and that patch kicked me in the metaphorical testicles. I don't think I've been as shocked by a change to the game, especially one that's apparently intended like this one is. My first thought was that I'm not going to be using rank 1 healing wave to stack healing way on a tank before a pull anymore. In fact, several of the pieces of advice I gave back last September (wow, it's really been over a year) on beginning to heal as a shaman are now outdated.

I understand that this change isn't just aimed at Resto shamans nor does it just affect them, but it's a big change for at least how I heal, so I'm going to discuss it along with other aspects of the class that I've observed. Note that most of these are from before patch 8788 but they should still be valid... well, as valid as any observations about a patch on a beta server can be.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Expansions, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King

Latest Beta build kills spell downranking [UPDATED]

Note the mana drained versus the mana costA new build has hit the Wrath Beta server tonight, and while it's minor enough that it doesn't even fix quite a few bugs from last build, it does have a doozy of a change: Blizzard appears to have killed downranking, the practice of using a lower rank spell (usually, but not always, a healing spell) to save mana, prevent overhealing, or apply an attached buff or effect.

They've done this by making all lower levels of a spell cost one high mana cost, sometimes more than 100 mana higher than the highest rank. Right now, it's looking like all these spells are now a percentage of base mana.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Downranking Holy Light


Ever since Blizzard changed the spell coefficient of downranked heals a few patches back, I've been wary of downranking. However, I've been going into fights lately that require more efficiency, and sometimes larger heals than Flash of Light can provide. As a responsible healer with respectable gear, it is my duty to find a solution to this problem.

The first thing that came to mind was how to achieve mana efficiency when using my larger heals. As a Paladin, for most of my healing life Flash of Light has been all that's required, with the occasional Holy Light thrown out in emergencies.

After doing some research, I found that downranking Holy Light is the answer. In most instances, a max rank Flash of Light will do, but now and then I throw in a Holy Light Rank 5, which has a slightly lower effective mana cost, and will allow me to keep the Light's Grace buff active in case I need to throw out a big heal quickly.

I've been experimenting with various ranks to see which ones work best for me, but it is definitely something to consider once you reach a certain amount of +healing.

Salud over at The Holy Light posted a great article on downranking a little while back that's well worth checking out if you're interested!

Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion

Spell damage bonuses and the Burning Crusade

While I say "spell damage," this is more often an issue you'll see in healing rather than damage dealing. What am I talking about, you ask? Down-ranking spells. Most healers who have hit the end-game understand that, with massive amounts of +healing on their gear, they can use lesser ranked healing spells to heal the necessary amount with a low mana cost -- giving great mana efficiency. (Damage dealers, alternatively, tend to stick to their max rank spells for best damage output.)

However, in the Burning Crusade, all this will be changing: spell damage and healing will be applied differently to lower level spells than max rank ones. The standard +damage and healing bonus will be multiplied by ((spell level) + 6)/(player level). (Based on the explanation given, I assume that the spell level is the level you get the next rank spell, but read into it what you will.) There's already outcry amongst the healing classes, who say that downranking is necessary to conserve mana throughout some of the game's long boss encounters -- and that this change will simply force them to use mana potions every time the 2 minute cooldown is up. I, however, am trying to reserve apocalyptic judgments until we've gotten a better feel for how this change will play with expansion encounters.



Filed under: News items, Expansions

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