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Posts with tag tier-14

Healer representation in Mists of Pandaria


Dedralie at Healiocentric has started a series examining how the 6 healer specs fared in Mists of Pandaria, and the first installment starts with a look at representation in raids. It's a fascinating article on the rise, fall, and sometimes stagnation of class fortunes, and toward the end there's a pretty cogent prediction on what mythic raids in Warlords of Draenor are probably going to look like if current trends continue.

This is a quick summary, but I'll provide more details past the cut. As Dedralie writes, while we're not really talking about healer balance or throughput here, there are a few obvious trends you can track from the Mists launch in September 2012 all the way to heroic Garrosh kills in January 2014:
  • Discipline priests and holy paladins ruled the expansion.
  • The absorption effects brought by these two healers is a huge advantage in heroic content (even more so in 10-man), and it may be too valuable as a mechanic.
  • Tier 15 (Throne of Thunder) was the most balanced with respect to representation. Tier 14 saw significant gulfs between class popularity that unfortunately returned with a vengeance in Tier 16 (Siege of Orgrimmar).
  • While monks and holy priests are still struggling for representation, it's instructive to look at the fights where they were significantly more popular.
  • Mythics will probably look like the "under-healed" heroics of MoP, which will prejudice heal teams toward synergies between absorption healers and those with strong throughput-based cooldowns.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Monk

What does progression mean to you?

What does progression mean to you
I've been pondering the question of what progression really means a lot over the past couple of weeks. Big Bear Butt mentioned it in a blog post last week, and talked about how the word is defined depending on who you are and what you're doing in game. Whenever I hear the word progression in reference to WoW, I immediately turn to raiding -- but is that the only place that it really applies?

And even if you're a raider, it's not as cut-and-dry a meaning as you'd think. My current guild is a progression raid guild. But we aren't bleeding-edge and we don't push ourselves like it's a second job. My first raid guild was also a progression guild, but it was definitely far more hardcore, with six nights a week spent raiding our hearts out and trying to get those coveted server firsts. Is there really a difference between the two? It certainly felt like it -- but both guilds were focused on progression, so maybe there wasn't quite as much a difference as I'd like to think.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Wowhead interviews Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas

Wowhead interviews Lead Encounter Designer Ion 'Watcher' Hazzikostas
The slew of developer interviews continues! Wowhead guru Perculia interviewed Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas earlier this week, quizzing him about all things patch 5.2. Included in the discussion was the Ra'den encounter, which is not only hidden behind a heroic kill of the final boss of the raid, but also features limited attempts. Also included were plenty of questions about Tier 14 content and how the developers felt it worked out, as well as the question of just what kinds of progression paths are in store for raiders that have yet to complete Tier 14 content.

Perhaps most interesting to me, however, was a discussion regarding Challenge Modes and the lack of new 5-man content. So far we're at the second patch for Mists of Pandaria, and while we've gotten plenty of scenarios, we have yet to see any new dungeons added to the game. While Hazzikostas stated that no details were set in stone as of yet, there were plenty of dungeons that Blizzard has done in the past that would be fun to revisit.

The idea of suddenly making old dungeons relevant to players is honestly something I think could be really fun. There have been plenty of dungeons over the years that I've completely fallen in love with -- but as the game wends on and new expansions are launched, there's little reason to visit any of those prior dungeons. And while transmogrification usually leads me back, the dungeons themselves are easily soloed at this point in the game. What would it look like if the dungeons of old were suddenly a challenge all over again?

Check out Wowhead for more from Hazzikostas, including discussion on Feats of Strength, legendary weapons, those intriguing new Thunderforged items and much more.

Filed under: News items, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

Poll: The worst boss of tier 14

Poll The worst boss of tier 14
Don't pretend you didn't see this coming after the earlier poll asking about the best boss of tier 14. Where there is light, there is shadow, and just as we love to discuss the best of a raid tier here at WoW Insider, we find ourselves duty bound to also talk about its bad sides. What was your worst boss in tier 14?

For me, again, just expressing a personal opinion, not a statement of fact, the worst bosses were the worst bosses thanks to either mechanics which I found gimmicky, or fights that seemed overly long and sluggish. Leaping to the head of the pack for my worst boss in the tier, then, is Amber Shaper Un'sok. His random transformation of players into vehicles with, as you'd expect in a vehicle, completely revamped abilities, is frustrating at best. In fact, I say it's random, but it isn't. Almost without exception, Un'sok has a remarkable ability to target the player least equipped to deal with a sudden transformation into Lord Ryolith. If the vehicle was something that could be targeted, or selected for a specific player, it would be fine, but that isn't the case. He is, therefore, number one on my worst boss list.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Poll: The best boss of tier 14

The best boss of patch 50
As patch 5.0's raids' glory days draw to a close, it's time to look back on the first tier of Mists of Pandaria. No, you're right, it's highly likely that a lot of players will not yet have completed this tier, maybe not even seen the latter half, but most will probably have made it through the Raid Finder, at least. So, as we stand on the brink of embarking on a new patch, and new raid content, what has been your best boss in patch 5.0?

For me, and of course this is just my personal opinion, based on my experience and preferences in bosses, there are a few contenders. I actually like a lot of the fights in the earlier part of this tier, maybe because we're used to them so they're more relaxed, but I like to think that it's because they have mechanics that are innovative without being gimmicky, and because the fights don't last forever. Some of the Terrace of Endless Spring fights seem to last about a week, and maybe it's because I'm healing, but that isn't a characteristic I particularly enjoy.

For me, as a shaman healer main, the best boss contenders are the following. Gara'jal the Spirit Binder, because the Spirit Realm health knockdowns, plus mana regen buffs, mean I can blow the top off the healing meter as mastery kicks in and mana becomes a non-issue. Pure /flexing, I know. And I must admit that it's pretty terrible on the raid finder.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

The Light and How to Swing It: A review of tier 14 from a tanking perspective

The Light and How to Swing It A review of tier 14 from a tanking perspective
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

With the Throne of Thunder echoing in the distance, it will not be much longer before tier 14 is a fading and pleasant memory for many raiders. I think it's a fair assessment to say that this tier has been one of the most successful in WoW's history, at least from an encounter design perspective. An unexpected follow-up from the doldrums of Dragon Soul, the raids of Mogu'shan Vaults, Heart of Fear, and Terrace of Endless Spring have been interesting and (most importantly!) engaging -- especially for tanks.

Remember that in the closing days of Dragon Soul and Cataclysm, there was a general feeling of ennui in the raid tanking community. Between the nullification of threat, the introduction of Vengeance, and the seeming dumbing-down of raid mechanics throughout Cataclysm, the sentiment was that Blizzard had given up on making tanking interesting at anything but the heroic raid level. And even then, by "interesting" it meant you would have to cope with much, much more damage. Obviously, it's human nature to assume that past is prologue and as such many tanks assumed the worst was yet to come.

So imagine the surprise when the mists dispersed and the land of Pandaria revealed an unexpected renaissance for raid tanks.

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

Resto druids vs. the world: Healer balance in tier 14

Resto druids vs the world Healer balance in tier 14
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Today, it isn't enough that mistweavers are taking our gear -- now they're taking our jobs.

The beginning of an expansion is usually a bad time to write deep, meaningful, and typically pompous posts on the "state of the class" and whither the druid and all that crap. For that matter, the beginning of Mists of Pandaria struck me as an especially bad time, because so much of what we were used to in WoW got changed and sent everyone scrambling. Toss in a brand-new hybrid class (the monk), and you've got the perfect storm of elements that make evaluating healer performance a dicey proposition at best. I poured myself a nice cocoa, kept an eye on World of Logs and Raidbots, and watched as the numbers rolled in and a legion of holy priests tore their garments and cried out in despair.

Given that patch 5.1's now live, it seems an appropriate time to swirl that cocoa, take a look at how healers did in tier 14, and ask what's likely to change. As of now, it seems apparent that:
  • Holy priests were actually right.
  • Monks kicked your dog, seduced your mom, stole your XBox, and drove off in your car.
  • Paladins are still topping the charts on certain encounters, but they're no longer dominating all of them.
  • Shaman have improved a lot from their lackluster performance in Dragon Soul.
  • Resto druids are back in same boat we were in at the beginning of Cataclysm, and it's not a very nice boat.
Just for fun, here's a Shifting I wrote almost a year ago on healer balance in Dragon Soul, if you'd like to see how classes fared in the last tier of raid content.

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

Blood Pact: Looking for loot in tier 14 raids

Blood Pact Looking for loot in tier 14 MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill wishes she has a sorcerer's apprentice to run Simulation Craft over and over again with different reforges.

Loot lists are about as boring to write as they are to read, but they're helpful for when you're staring down a 20-second timer on the EPGP window and you're not sure what GP-spending button you'd like to hit.

After we get done with the tier 14 gear, we should be set to talk about cooler things, like whether capping hit makes sense or particular boss strategies.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

Spiritual Guidance: Priest gear preparation for heroic dungeons and raids

Spiritual Guidance Priest gear preparation for heroic dungeons and raids
WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore is a discipline priest by reputation, but still enjoys melting faces as shadow and bugging her raid to click the Lightwell as holy.

When you get your priest to level 90, gearing up your character will probably be one of the many things on your mind. Your first inclination may be to run heroic dungeons, but what if your item level isn't high enough to use the dungeon finder? Maybe you're looking beyond that, and wondering what you'll need to queue for the raid finder when it becomes available in the next two weeks.

Or, if you're like me, you're probably scouring Pandaria, trying to find all the best possible items outside of raids, so that your raid leader likes you when you start running normal mode raids in the near future.

Well, whether you're a shadow priest or a holy priest, this is the guide for you.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Tier 14 Armor Previews available

Tier 14 Armor Previews
Yesterday afternoon, Blizzard CM Kaivax posted the Tier 14 armor previews on Battle.net. Kaivax clarified that the item level of Tier 14 gear would be 496, putting it 7 levels ahead of the reputation-based epics, which sit at 489. It's streets ahead of the 463 and occasional 476 gear which has been datamined from normal and heroic dungeons so far. I'm really not convinced that players who want to raid at a decent gear level won't have to grind out endless reputations, but that's a grumble for another day!

If you head over to the previews on battle.net, you can see every class's set. What do you think? I'm... well, I have mixed opinions. I don't want to moan or rain on Blizzard's parade, but this shoulder size arms race is getting way out of hand! I can't help looking at the mage set and thinking "man, if a mage Blinked in that, he'd fall over!" Priests seem to have similar issues, coupled with what appears to be a pope hat, which I guess is fitting. The warlock set is cool, but it looks more like a DK set to me. Warriors are going to have to spend some time on the bench press to carry their shoulders around, and those tennis ball size beads are going to be a bother when monks are rolling.

On the good sides, though, the druid set is really great, I love the mask! And, as someone who's switching raiding mains for mists, I'm really relieved that I like the shaman set. I'm not completely sold on the mask, but the firebird look works for me, even if my dwarf shaman might have to have a trip to the barber so her red hair doesn't clash!

Naturally, all this is just my opinion, purely subjective, rather than any objective assertion. What do you think? What would you rate "wow!" and what gets a "what the...?" Are you a fan of the giant shoulders?


It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Spiritual Guidance: From Power Word: Solace to Power Infusion, the latest on holy and discipline priests

Mists of Pandaria beta From Power Word Solace to Power Infusion, the latest on holy and discipline priests
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers healing for discipline and holy priests, while her archenemy Fox Van Allen dabbles in shadow.

Since its introduction, the new level 45 priest talent, Power Word: Solace, has undergone several changes. First, it had the percentage of mana it returned per cast reduced from 2% to 1.5%. A little over a week after that, the percentage was buffed back up to 2% while the cast time was simultaneously nerfed from 1.5 seconds to 2 seconds. Then just last week, the cast time was lowered back to 1.5 seconds, while the amount of mana returned was lowered to a mere .7% per cast. Pretty crazy for one little spell, right?

As you'd expect, a lot of discussion has come up over the changes, with one thread on the official forums leading it all. In it, the original poster asks for an explanation behind the nerfs, saying that even though he hated using Power Word: Solace with a fiery passion, the talent was necessary for healing priests. Ghostcrawler (Lead Systems Developer Greg Street) responded soon after, explaining that the developers don't want Power Word: Solace to feel like the only option healing priests have, and they will nerf it until priests consider Mindbender and From Darkness, Comes Light viable alternatives.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Mists of Pandaria raids will have staggered release, none available at launch

 Mists of Pandaria raids will have staggered release, no raids available on September 25th
There will be no raids available to players when Mists of Pandaria is released on Sept.25, 2012. Blizzard announced today that the first tier of raids in Mists of Pandaria will have a staggered release. A single raid will be released one week after the launch of the expansion, Mogu'shan Vaults, and the raid finder version of that raid won't be available for another week after that. Nothing will change regarding the release of heroic modes, which will be available for the following lockout after players complete the raid on normal mode.

Tier 14's other two raids, Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring, will be released four weeks after the release of Mogu'shan Vaults. The full details of this announcement are outlined in the blue post below.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Spiritual Guidance: Mindbender vs. Power Word: Solace

Spiritual Guidance Priest healing in the Mists of Pandaria beta
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

It's just my luck that two days after I wrote my last installment of Spiritual Guidance, a brand new level 45 priest talent appeared on the Mists of Pandaria beta. The new talent, called Power Word: Solace, is a damage-for-mana ability that players can cast on enemy targets to receive 6,000 mana in return. It has a 1.5-second cast time, costs no mana to cast, doesn't have a cooldown, and always returns mana, even if the damage portion of the spell misses its target.

The arrival of a new talent like this always raises a lot of questions. How does Power Word: Solace stand up to the other level 45 talents, Mindbender and From Darkness, Comes Light? Is it better or worse than either of those two talents? As a healing priest, what talent will I want to choose?

Well, first off, it's important to remember that the new talent system is specifically designed to put an end to cookie-cutter talent specs. Talents will now be balanced with one another in such a way that no one talent is better than the others overall. One talent might end up being better than another in a specific scenario where the mechanics of the situation complement it or just clash with the other two options. In that sense, Blizzard is right on mark with Power Word: Solace. Let's compare it to Mindbender so you can see how.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Totem Talk: Resto shaman looking good at level 90

Totem Talk Welcome to 90, resto shaman TUES
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration, brought to you by Joe Perez (otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and cohost of the For the Lore podcast), shows you how.

The big news this week is that the level cap on the Mists of Pandaria beta has been raised to 90. You can go and explore Dread Wastes and Vale of Eternal Blossoms, but there isn't any raid content or Pet Battles, and some of the scenarios and Battlegrounds are not yet available. At the time of writing this, the premade template characters were not available yet for level 90, so you'll have to climb the level ladders the old-fashioned way right now.

I'm sure you're thinking that it took long enough, but to be honest, this is a bit sooner than I anticipated. While we've seen the talents, we haven't have the chance to work with them quite yet. Now, we finally get to dive in and play with them, experimenting for what will be our best choices in any given situation. It's like unwrapping a brand new toy for the first time, and I'm pretty excited.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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