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Posts with tag Spec

The Heart of the Wild controversy: Should players be allowed to change specs in combat?

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In a recent Mists of Pandaria beta build, the tooltip for one of the currently inaccessible druid talents, Heart of the Wild, was significantly rewritten and updated. The full tooltip is long, but the key assumption is that every six minutes, a druid of any spec can click a button and automatically be able change to another combat role for 45 seconds, with little drop-off in effectiveness. Restoration druids can start dealing damage, DPSers of either persuasion can throw around some heals or tank an add, and guardian tanks can even spread around a few HoTs without having to leave Bear Form and turn into paste. That's the theory, anyway.

As you can imagine, this idea generated some heated debate in the druid blogger community. The noted Lissanna of Restokin called it "(likely) the the least used talent out of any talent tree in the history of the game" Murmurs also agreed, saying "HotW has a pure functionality problem. It can never truly fulfill the position that it is attempting to grasp."

In opposition, Tangedyn, the co-creator of the Mew feral druid simulator and frequent contributor to The Inconspicuous Bear, wrote "... there's no reason to deny druids that want the versatility the capability to perform to their best of their abilities."

So who's right? Well, let's take a closer look at both sides of the argument, since this debate brings up several important issues to any WoW raider.

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Filed under: Druid, Mists of Pandaria

Ghostcrawler explains spec-specific quest rewards in MoP

If you've been following the Mists of Pandaria beta at all, you may have heard that questing players discovered that they were only getting one choice for quest reward items. Many recent MMOs such as SW:TOR use this model; it's generally agreed that the system of multiple possible quest rewards is yet another "bad player trap," like Ghostcrawler described lots of talents pre-Cataclysm. Players can miss out on quest rewards accidentally, and since there's no in-game way of switching your quest rewards, well, that can be a headache (especially since reports say that GMs are no longer switching quest items for you).

When asked about the issue on the beta forums, Ghostcrawler offered a pretty reasoned explanation for the change. He says that most quests with green rewards will only give you one choice (that matches your current spec). However, there'll also be vendors in every zone from whom you can buy sets of gear that aren't quite up to the item level of quest rewards in that zone, so you can fill in itemization holes or help bolster an off spec a little more. Quests that offer blue rewards will usually offer rewards for any spec your class can be, giving you some flexibility when it comes to rare rewards. Also, Mists of Pandaria questing is more non-linear than Cataclysm's, so you'll be able to hit up a different zone in the event that you need gear for a specific level range.

Ghostcrawler's full response (and an image of one of the vendors) is after the break.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Raid Rx: Can healing be diversified further?

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poohbah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests. Catch his weekly podcast on healing, raiding and leading, the Matticast.

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street (lead developer) published a developer blog post a few days ago and shared thoughts about roles within the game. DPS classes tend to have multiple specs that can be switched to in order to provide a different set of damage spells and utilities. Some of the examples cited included warlocks and rogues, since they're straight DPS classes. Would it be possible to hypothesize and think about single-role healing classes with varied specs? While I don't think it is unheard of, I can already think about the different logistical and gameplay difficulties that are going to come with it.

For DPSers, you have that role divided between those players in the ranged group and those belonging to the melee. With healing, you're limited with just being purely at range. There isn't a classified melee-only healer (and we don't know entirely how the monk will play out).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

Breakfast Topic: How often do you switch specs?

Last night, I did something I don't do very often: I made my way to my class trainer and went through the trouble of respeccing into disc. My goal was to muddle my way through a few heroics without having to sit through a queue.

Admittedly, the experiment didn't go well. I make a bitchin' shadow priest, but even with stellar gear, I make a terrible disc priest. That's part of why I don't respec very often.

How about you? Do you change your character's spec to meet the needs of raid bosses several times a night? Do you respec to run heroics or dailies? Or are you absolutely adamant about playing your favorite spec, no matter what?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Why do you love your spec?

It's no secret: I love being a shadow priest. I've played plenty of other characters over my lengthy World of Warcraft career. My first character was a fury warrior. I've leveled a balance druid and shammy to 80 and then to 85. I've even started rogue and mage alts. But for all of that, there's no class I love more than my priest, no spec I love more than shadow.

There are many reasons why I love my class. I love the mana system more than the other systems of energy and rage. I love the unmatched power of the Dispersion defensive cooldown. I love how every point of damage I do rewards a small percentage back to me as self-healing. I love shadow priest lore. And most of all, I love how badass I look in Shadowform.

I love shadow priesting so much that I cannot begin to comprehend why anyone would play any other spec ... which is why I'm putting the question out there: What do you love most about the class and spec you play?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What makes a leveling spec work for you?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

This Breakfast Topic comes largely in response to this very insightful article about how rotations have changed over the ages. While reading it, I began to think about how I will pore over theorycrafting sites to find the optimal DPS rotation, healing build, or tanking strategy. But I only do this for my max-level characters. While I'm leveling, it's pretty much happy-go-lucky. I'll occasionally look up what spec might be best for leveling, but sometimes I don't care about optimal leveling. I just want to have fun and mess around with the character and how to play it.

For example, everyone always said that combat is the best leveling spec for a rogue. I however, loved assassination, so that's what I stuck with. I tried out combat, but I hated it. No stealth? Swords or maces, not daggers? That's not a rogue, that's a weak warrior! Same with my warlock; affliction is supposed to be best, but to me, warlocks are all about demon summoning, so I went with demonology. It just made sense.

Of course, when I hit the level cap and start doing raids, that's when I'll delve into what are the optimal rotations, enchants, gems, itemization, etc. That stuff matters at that point. But leveling for me is all about having fun and learning your class. Leveling is a long and tough process; it doesn't make any sense not to enjoy it as much as you can.

How do you like to level? Do you play it fast and loose with your talents, or do you carefully consider where each precious point goes?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: The illusion of choice

My first reaction to seeing the new, streamlined talent trees was, "We'll all be cookie cutter specs now!" I mulled it over for a bit, hashed it out with some people on Twitter and came to the conclusion that the new streamlined specs are a good thing, in principle. Ask yourself, when was the last time you respecced to move one to two points around? How much are you really losing with the slimmed-down trees?

My shaman, Stoneybaby, hasn't respecced in ... I don't even know when, but I'm sure it's been many months. I have my raiding spec, in which I could move one or two points around -- should I take 2/3 Improved Shields or 3/3 Improved Shields? Ultimately, it makes little difference; I picked my raiding spec and my PvP spec, and I go forth with those until the game requires a change. I don't need a lot of choice because I won't use it.

On the other hand, my druid is a bit different. He's specced balance for AoE farming Chunk o' Mammoth (my wolves need their Spiced Mammoth Treats!) and feral bear for tanking alt raids. For raids, I either tank or I tank -- take your pick. He's mostly useless as DPS in raids because he doesn't have the proper hit, mana regen or focused damage talents; he's built to kill a dozen mobs at once out in the field. I like the choice so I can specialize in AoE farming.

In the case of my shaman, I really don't need that one- or two-point customization, and so lamenting the loss of deep, complex talent trees is just the loss of choice for the sake of choice. For my druid, I really do want and use the complexity of the current specs. Overall though, I think the slimmed-down trees will enrich the game without dumbing it down.

What about you? Do you really want deep choice in spec customization, or are you just lamenting the loss of the illusion of choice?

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From goblins and worgens to mastery and guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

15 tips for brand new healers

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

So you're ready to venture into the thankless realm of healing? It's not for the faint of heart. You will be begged to heal an instance you hate and blamed for deaths that aren't your fault, only to lose gear upgrades to DPS -- all in the same run! On the other hand, healing can be a nice diversion from faceroll macro-mashing, and it's definitely nice to have instant dungeon queues.

Whether you're changing specs at level 80 to help your guild progression, stepping into The Deadmines as a level 18 healer or twinking out a battleground medic -- here are some helpful hints as you prepare to make those health bars greener.

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Filed under: Guest Posts

The Light and How to Swing It: Resources to be the best in retribution


With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and helps with the puppet shows at the Argent Ren Faire up in Icecrown. At least, he usually does. But Gregg is still pre-occupied. Therefore, Matt Low from World of Matticus will be stepping in temporarily to handle some retribution goodness!

Yeah, you're stuck with me again this week and if you haven't figured it out yet, I am the world's worst ret paladin. So why am I here penning this post? Because I am on a quest. Yes, friends, I am on a quest to be the best ret paladin ever. Now am I going to succeed? Probably not. It's hard to become super awesome on a character that isn't played as often. It is an alt, after all.

Now if I don't want to suck as a retribution paladin, where would I go first?

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Filed under: Paladin, Raiding, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Drama Mamas: At what price perfection?

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

At what point does the perfectly optimized spec, spell rotation or gear set (for the sake of the guild) take precedence over a spec, spells or gear you simply prefer (for the sake of enjoyment)? Be off with your trollish, black-and-white responses! The Drama Mamas favor neither the airy-fairy, let's-all-hold-hands-and-sing-Kumbaya crowd nor the hard-nosed, theorycrafting progression rockets. You can hypothesize about what people should do 'til the Beast Mastery pets come home -- but unless you're talking about specific people in specific guilds with specific goals, you're just another victim of the Pack mentality. We'll explain why and show you how to find the line between optimizing for performance and optimizing for fun.

Dear Drama Mamas: Our raid is working on ICC-25. We've done a few hard modes in TOC, back before ICC came out, so we aren't completely terrible. We've cleared everything except for Putricide, the Blood Queen, and the Frostwing Halls. However, my guild leader is noticing more and more that our DPS is falling behind and that a few players are making choices about their characters that are ... well, "not optimal." These include a fire mage who isn't too interested in respeccing Arcane, a shadow priest who's still falling behind even after the buffs, and a holy priest who plays well but makes some odd talent choices.

We keep hitting DPS walls on Putricide and of course the Blood Queen, which is definitely a DPS race. We value the players as much as downed content; however, it would be nice if we didn't have to wait until we overgeared the fight to be able to clear it. What would be the best way to encourage players to retool their specs, gear and playstyles, in the most fair and personable way possible? Thanks, Theorycrafter

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

Blood Sport: Beginner's guide to arena, part II

Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all-things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in WoW.com's arena column.

Listening Music: The cutest kid you've ever seen covering Jason Mraz. Blood Sport normally features the musical works of professionals. For this little guy, we have to make an exception. My favorite part is right before the first verse. I love the intense scrunched face and little head nod. I dare you to find anything even half as cute. That video of a tickled kitten has nothing on this.

Last Week: part one of our beginner's arena guide. First, we fielded a possible complaint about catering to casuals. After that, we talked a little bit about some of the best ways to gear up: finding an arena team, doing battlegrounds, and running Vault of Archavon. Check it out if you have the time.

This week, we'll talk about some frequently asked questions players have when considering jumping into the arena. Read on for part two of our arena guide for beginners after the break!

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, PvP, Features, Classes, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

Patch 3.3 PTR: Shadow Word: Pain not affected by haste

We heard a little while back from Ghostcrawler that haste would soon affect Heal-over-Time (HoT) and Damage-over-Time (DoT) spells, and sure enough, soon after that, Shadow Priests -- who use DoTs all the time -- saw a nice buff. But of course this is the PTR, and everything is subject to change, and so last weekend, Blizzard removed Shadow Word: Pain from that equation -- right now, it's not affected by haste at all. GC says that sure enough, Blizzard thought shadow priest DPS was too high with all of their DoTs given a boost, so SW:P got the boot (for now -- remember, this is all still on PTR).

Misery, my go-to shadow priest, has some good insight on the change, and says that sure, if shadow priest DPS was too high, it was too high. But it's too bad that Shadow Word: Pain had to take the nerf, especially since you get it so early on in the class and it's such an iconic spell for the spec. The reason these guys are so happy about the hasted DoTs is that DoTs as cast don't really scale with your gear -- they just sort of do their damage on their own. When haste got put into the equation, shadow priests became happy that they could go after more haste to increase the DoT part of the damage. They could tailor the spec and spells the way they wanted to use them.



Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Classes, Talents, Buffs

Spiritual Guidance: Healing throughput or mana regeneration?



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 No Stock UI, a UI and addons blog for WoW. This week, it's a reexamination of spell power throughput vs mana regeneration.

Update
: Couple of errors have been fixed along with extra clarification added. My apologies.

These two sides have had strong arguments over the past several years. This is more of a debate between play styles among Priests and how to build their characters. Some people favor getting more mana regen as much as possible. Others prefer a balanced attack between mana regeneration and spell power throughput. Is there a right answer? Technically, no as this is a matter of personal preference. It depends on largely on how you heal. Other factors include which fights, which consumables you use regularly, and so forth.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: What's up Shadow Priests?



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 No Stock UI, a UI and addons blog for WoW. Get ready for something you'll thought you'll have never read!

Sorry healing Priests, it's your week off today. I've never written much about Shadow Priests at all mostly because I don't play one extensively enough to confidently write about them. I can tell you basic stats to shoot for like the amount of hit necessary and that crit is an excellent secondary stat. But full in-depth guides for what to do on bosses? Nope, sorry.

Anyway, this week's post isn't about that.

I wanted to write this post from the perspective of a raid leader instead of a person playing a Shadow Priest. We're going to take a look at Shadow DPS as a whole.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: A Lightwell primer

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 No Stock UI, a UI and addons blog for WoW. What exactly is Lightwell? How is it used? Why does no one use it?

Oh Lightwell. The things you could have been. Misunderstood by many and under-talented by a large number of Priests. Will you ever see raids?

Perhaps not. But we can try!

Lightwell

The first thing Lightwell novices need to understand is the purpose of the spell. It creates a Holy Lightwell wherever you want it that any player can interact with. A player who uses it gains a charge that heals them for more than 4500 health over a period of 6 seconds. It's got a 40 yard placement range. Be sure you pick up the Lightwell glyph for it. A 20% boost to Lightwell ticks go a long way and will help make this talent even more worthwhile.

There is a slight downside. If the player under the effect of a Lightwell charge takes a hit that's 30% of their total health, the effect disappears.

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Filed under: Priest, Tips, Tricks, Raiding, Talents, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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