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Archive for the ‘Gear & Glyphs’ Category

shieldAnecdote:  A couple of years ago, The Kid and I were at Toys R Us, shopping for a gift for my nephew’s first birthday.  The Kid’s a teenager now, and so the demands to visit the toy department were long ago replaced by demands to go to the video game store.  But no matter your age, toy stores are incredibly fun, and I confess, I squealed with delight when I saw a display full of foam shields and swords.  “Oh my god, I’m buying us these,”  I said.  “Oh my god, no,” he said, and blushed with embarrassment as I grabbed one and proceeded to poke him in the belly.  I don’t remember what we bought my nephew that day, but The Kid and I came home with Nerf weapons.  He had a long sword; I had a dagger and a shield.  We ran around the backyard dueling, and I quickly learned several things:

  1. Laughing hysterically makes swordplay nearly impossible.
  2. It’s hard to get up in someone’s grill to whack them with a dagger if they’ve got longer arms and a long sword and a much longer reach.
  3. Foam shields don’t do shit.

Analysis:  Foam shields don’t do shit.

I feel like a broken record in raids sometimes:  “Please don’t shield the tanks.”  “Please don’t shield the tanks.”  “Please don’t shield the tanks.”  “Please don’t shield the tanks.”  I’ve long struggled to get my fellow priests to cease-and-desist, but with the priests’ 4-piece bonus now offering +250 spellpower for 5 seconds after shielding, it’s even more of a battle.

Hey, Holy Priests:  if you raid with a Discipline Priest, don’t shield, ok?  Please?  If you have the 4-piece bonus and want to take advantage of the spellpower boost, shield yourself.  Your job as a Holy Priest is to heal, not to shield.  While the boost to your throughput is nice, I agree, the bonus wasn’t designed for you (I know.  Startling concept:  a poorly designed set bonus.)  PW:S hasn’t been part of your rotation, and this set bonus shouldn’t change things.  It’s not what you should be using your GCDs or mana (~900 mana for you, and I know you don’t have much to spare) to cast.

I had several shields last night absorb 10K damage; most of the time, they absorb at least 8K.  A Holy Priest’s shield absorbs less than half that.  

And that’s not remotely strong enough to absorb my fury when I see your Weakened Soul debuff on the tanks.

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58 Badges Later...

58 Badges Later... The Bandit Priest

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Hot off the presses:  The Penance Glyph will stay as is.

Put away the pitchforks, fellow Disc Priests. (For now…)

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THE GOOD

raptureI won my first piece of Ulduar loot last night:  Rapture, a drop from the Iron Council.  

As I’ve written before, I have always opted for a 1H weapon plus an off-hand, but the new spellpower enchant for staffs has made staffs much more appealing.  With some quick calculations — and having just read Xeonio’s post earlier in the day — I decided to go ahead and bid on this.  It was a sizeable upgrade in spellpower, Intellect, and crit; I didn’t lose any haste (a stat I still really need to improve) by losing my current weapon/offhand (neither had haste); and it gave me a nice chunk of Spirit as well — great for dual-spec occasions.

And yes, “Funny, she doesn’t look druish” jokes are perfectly apt.


THE BAD

Patch 3.1.2?  Fuck.  You.  Divine Hymn — nerfed.  Soul Warding — nerfed.  But the most painful… Glyph of Penance — nerfed.  No longer will it reduce the cooldown.  Instead, it’ll add 5% crit to the spell.  As Chris writes (thank you, Chris, for doing teh math!),

At full usage – using Penance every time the cooldown is up – the previous version of the glyph (reduced cooldown by 2s) effectively provided a 33% increase in Penance’s throughput. The new glyph provides a 2.5% increase in Penance’s throughput (since healing crits heal for 150% of the normal amount). The new glyph, therefore, sacrifices 30.5% throughput for an additional 1/20 chance per tick to proc Divine Aegis.

I was really pleased with this glyph as it made using Penance a lot easier to fit into a rotation.  With my most powerful heal on a 8 second cooldown, there was often the tendency to save it for an “oh shit” moment, but those 2 seconds provided by the glyph seemed to make a big difference (and perhaps it was just in my imagination) in fully utilizing this spell.  Post 3.1, the usage of my spells has changed substantially, but now I guess it’s back to Flash Heal spam.

And while the nerfs to my spec are annoying, the rationale behind them is infuriating.  As I focus almost solely on PVE, changes to my class that are made in the name of  “balancing” PVP irk me.  As Ghostcrawler explained yesterday,  “These were mostly arena changes.”  

THE UGLY

freyaThis is the Avatar of Freya.

She’s not the only bitch I ran across yesterday. But she’s the one that I’m opting to post about.

Oh, and we killed Freya (not the avatar) in Ulduar 25man last night — an incredibly fun fight.

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secondaryAs a priest, one has three specs that are very viable and very desirable for raiding:  Discipline, Holy, and Shadow.  While some people might’ve been able to accumulate off-spec gear over the last few months and prior to the release of the dual-spec option (seriously, don’t all paladins have a full holy set?  Damn Naxx itemization), many players might now be faced with the expectation they “suddenly” have the gear to support another spec, should the need to switch arise.

Fortunately for priests, this isn’t a terrible challenge.  While switching from Feral Druid to Resto Druid requires completely different gear for every single slot, the requirements for the three priest talent trees aren’t so radically different, and in a lot of cases, you won’t have to swap that much around.  While you can find many sites with lots of math and lots of arguments on how best to gear for your main spec (check out my thoughts on the matterBobTurkey’s post on priest theorycrafting, Xeonio’s thoughts on stat weights, unholy holy’s assessmentsShadowpriest.com’s gear guide, or the priest forums at Elitist Jerks for example), you might not have the time, money, or opportunity to put as much care into accumulating off-spec gear.  

In general (very general), the different talent trees will privilege attributes like this:

Discipline
Spellpower > Haste = Crit.  Intellect > Spirit

Holy
Spellpower > Crit > Haste.  Spirit > Intellect

Shadow
Spell Hit > Spellpower > Crit > Haste.  Spirit = Intellect 

Skill aside, the gear requirements from switching from healer to Shadow Priest are more stringent than the switch from Shadow to healer.  This is because reaching the cap for hit is truly a requisite for raiding.  Assuming there’s no Draenei in your group and you have the full 6 points in Misery and Shadow Focus, you’ll need 290 hit to reach the cap.  Here are some places (outside of raid zones) where you can grab it:

Consumables:
Elixir of Accuracy (+45)
Snapper Extreme (+40)
Worg Tartare  (+40)

Enchants:
Enchant Boots:  Icewalker (+12)
Enchant Gloves:  Precision (+20) 

Tailoring BOE:
Ebonweave Robe (+68) 
Ebonweave Gloves (+51) 

Heroic Violet Hold:
Mark of the War Prisoner (+73) 

Badges of Heroism:
Plush Sash of Guzbah (+33) 
Ward of the Violet Citadel (+38) 

Gems:
Lambent Forest Emerald (+8) 
Rigid Autumn Glow (+16) 
Shining Forest Emerald (+8) 
Veiled Monarch Topaz (+8)

If you are switching to Holy from one of the other trees, particularly from Discipline, you might find your gear is lacking Spirit.  Again, here are some quick ways to boost that attribute.

Consumables:
Elixir of Spirit (+50)
Cuttlesteak (+40) 

Gems:
Intricate Forest Emerald (+8)
Misty Forest Emerald (+8) 
Seer’s Forest Emerald (+8) 
Sparkling Sky Sapphire (+16) 
Sparkling Dragon’s Eye (+27) 

Enchants:
Brilliant Spellthread (+20) 
Enchant Cloak:  Wisdom (+10) 
Enchant Bracers:  Major Spirit (+18) 
Enchant Weapon:  Exceptional Spirit (+45) 
Enchant Boots:  Major Spirit (+18) 

Getting a feel for playing your off-spec will take time, whether it’s mastering the refresh priorities of a Shadow Priest, making the most of SOL procs as a Holy Priest, or taking advantage of Borrowed Time procs as a Disc Priest.  But gearing for your off-spec needn’t be viewed as a huge hurdle.

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yoggtrinketI don’t know about you all, but I’m bidding on the Vanquished Clutches of Yogg-Saron. RP server + Tentacle companion = sheer win.

OK, not really.

When I initially perused the list of new trinkets from Ulduar, I must say I was less than wowed.  For better or worse, some of the trinkets already in-game will remain quite viable for us. I’m not sure there are clearly any “must-have” trinkets for our spec (Raise your hand if you had to farm for Quagmirran’s Eye and are relieved that you needn’t rely on shitty drop rates and kind guildmates to help you get gear from heroics, eh?).  So rather than thinking about a clearcut best-in-slot item, these two trinket slots can be viewed as a way to supplement the stats you’re lacking. For this reason, it’s probably best to accumulate a number of trinkets, so you can swap them around for more crit or more haste or better mana regen as your gear and as the encounters necessitate.

When assessing a trinket’s value, I look at a number of things:

  1. what benefit occurs “on equip”
  2. what, if any, proc does it feature (and how often will this effect occur)
  3. what, if any, “on use” ability does it have

Personally, I’m not a big fan of “on use” abilities as I often neglect to take full advantage of them. Of course, you can macro trinkets with your other spells (for example, macro increased haste effect trinket +  Inner Focus + Prayer of Healing).

Below are some of the trinkets a Discipline Priest might consider. I have excluded from this list trinkets with effects that are more suited to offensive spell casting (trinkets with +hit, trinkets that have a chance to proc when you deal damage, etc). I have also excluded trinkets that grant +Spirit, as those are far better suited for Holy Priests and Resto Druids. This list is also comprised solely of epic trinkets, and while there are some good blue ones available (Spark of Life, for example), a Disc Priest is unlikely to keep those ones once they have access to badge and raid gear.

+SPELLPOWER

Scale of Fates: With a whopping +125 spellpower, this trinket gives the largest “on equip” boost to a Discipline Priest’s most important stat. It has an “on use” effect that gives a substantial haste boost for 20 seconds. Drops from Thorim in Heroic Ulduar.

Forethought Talisman: This trinket grants +111 spellpower. Its “on equip” effect promises a HoT that in my experience fails to deliver. While the spellpower is very nice, the other effect is pretty underwhelming. Drops from any number of bosses in Heroic Naxx.

Titan-forged Rune of Audacity: Yes, this is a PVP trinket. I include this here because there are sometimes when it’s necessary to be able to free oneself from movement-impairing effects. This trinket allows you that ability (on a 2 min cooldown, of course) without losing all the other nice features of your PVE trinkets. Mount Hyjal anyone?  Available for purchase with Wintergrasp marks.

Sif’s Remembrance: This trinket combines +110 spellpower with a chance on spellcast to gain +156 Mp5. Drops from Thorim in Heroic Ulduar.

Je’Tze’s Bell: This trinket combines +106 spellpower with a chance on spellcast to gain +100 Mp5. This is a BOE world drop.

Darkmoon Card: Illusion: Perhaps, if you’re like my scribe, all you can make is Prism cards. If so, this is a rather easy trinket to acquire. It offers +100 spellpower. Its “on use” effect provides a small shield that returns 1200 mana when it expires. (You can click off the shield for immediate mana return)

Embrace of the Spider: This trinket grants +98 spellpower and a chance on spell cast to increase haste by 505 for 10 seconds. It drops from several mobs in Heroic Naxx.

The Egg of Mortal Essence: Like the Embrace of the Spider, this trinket also grants +98 spellpower but its haste proc only occurs with healing spells. For sale in Dalaran for 40 Badges of Heroism, this is likely the first epic trinket a Disc Priest will pick up.

Illustration of the Dragon Soul: This trinket does not boost any stat automatically. Rather, “each time you cast a damaging or healing spell you gain 20 spell power for the next 10 sec, stacking up to 10 times.” This effect works very nicely for a Discipline Priest as Penance gives 3 stacks and as the quick casting playstyle of the class means that you can maintain the full +200 spellpower of the trinket rather easily. This trinket drops from Sartharion in Heroic OS.

+INTELLECT

Pandora’s Plea: A trinket with +108 intellect is pretty nice in and of itself: more mana, more regen, more crit. Add to that a chance to proc +850 spellpower and I foresee this being quite a coveted item. Drops from Mimiron in Heroic Ulduar.

Darkmoon Card: Greatness: This trinket grants +90 Intellect with a chance to proc another +300 Intellect. Like Pandora’s Plea, that is a big boost to mana, mana regen, and crit. I’m not certain that it’s worth the gold investment to make or buy the Nobles Deck, however.

+CRIT

Soul of the Dead: This has long been one of my favorite trinkets, granting +95 crit rating and a chance on spell crits to return 900 mana. I’m always amazed to see how much mana this trinket returns over the course of a night. Drops from Sapphiron in Heroic Naxx.

Eye of the Broodmother: This trinket grants +87 crit rating and with each spell cast, you gain +25 spellpower, stackable up to 5 times.   Drops from Razorscale in Regular Ulduar.

+Mp5

Energy Siphon: This trinket grants +43 Mp5. It has an “on use” ability that boost spellpower by 408. Honestly, I’m not sure why a Disc Priest would want this trinket over other options. Let this go to other classes and mock them for their mana issues — that’s what I’d do. This drops from Flame Leviathan in Heroic Ulduar.

Living Ice Crystals: This trinket also grants +43Mp5. It has an “on use” ability that instantly heals a target for 2710. This heal has a one minute cooldown, making it useful if you remember to use it… which I probably wouldn’t. (Or you could macro it to use it on yourself. *cough*) Drops from Malygos in Heroic Eye of Eternity.

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Despite all the deaths from my first few forays into Ulduar, I’m still very starry-eyed and excited about the new raid zone.  And I know it’s cliche and plenty of people are full of shit when they say it, but the joy of raiding comes from defeating bosses as much as it does from equipping new shinies.  However, as I like to think carefully about how I gear my toons and as I like to plan ahead to know what items I really need, I have spent a good chunk of time this morning looking through the Ulduar drops.  What’s interesting is that as I examine the items from the zone, my Naxx-25 gear holds up pretty well in comparison; and what’s surprising is that there are still upgrades to be had for me in Obsidian Sanctum.

But I’ve made a wishlist nonetheless, one based off the stat weights I wrote about in this post:  

Throughput:  Spellpower > Haste > Crit > Intellect 
Mana Regen:  MP5 = Intellect > Spirit

As such, this list assumes that as a Disc Priest, I have fully talented Focused Will and Enlightenment, granting me an “innate” 3% crit and 6% haste.  As the 4-piece set bonus gives a nice spellpower  boost to a Disc Priest’s playstyle, I’ve privileged some pieces of the tier gear healing set that might not be best-in-slot.  I don’t anticipate being able to complete many of the bosses on hard mode for a while, nor do I anticipate there’ll be the supplies to have some of the BOE Tailoring recipes crafted, so if those items are best-in-slot, I’ve listed a runner-up or two.  

Head
Currently equipped:  Gothik’s Cowl
Best-in-slot:  Conqueror’s Circlet of Sanctification
Best choice:  Conqueror’s Cowl of Sanctification (Thorim)

Neck
Currently equipped:  Life-binder’s Locket
Best-in-slot:  Charm of Meticulous Timing (Deconstructor, hard mode)

Shoulder
Currently equipped:  Mantle of Dissemination
Best-in-slot:  Conqueror’s Shoulderpads of Sanctification (Yogg-Saron)

Cloak
Currently equipped:  Cape of the Unworthy Wizard
Best-in-slot:  Pennant Cloak (Sartharion 2D)

Chest
Currently equipped:  Robes of Mutation
Best-in-slot:  Robes of the Umbral Brute (Kologarn)

Wrist
Currently equipped:  Cuffs of the Shadow Ascendant
Best-in-slot:  Unsullied Cuffs (Sartharion 2D)

Gloves
Currently equipped:  Gloves of Token Respect
Best-in-slot:  Handwraps of the Vigilant (General Vesax, hard mode)
Best choice:  Conqueror’s Gloves of Sanctification (Mimiron)

Waist
Currently equipped:  Sash of the Parlor
Best-in-slot:  Cord of the White Dawn (crafted)
Runner-up:  Leash of Heedless Magic (Malygos) 

Legs
Currently equipped:  Leggings of Mortal Arrogance
Best-in-slot:  Conqueror’s Leggings of Sanctification (Freya)

Feet
Currently equipped:  Serene Echoes
Best-in-slot:  Boots of Fiery Resolution (Flame Leviathon, hard mode)
Runner-up:  Spellslinger Slippers (crafted)
Runner-up:  Boots of the Servant (Freya)

Rings
Currently equipped:  Renewal of Life, Band of Channeled Magic
Best-in-slot:  Signet of Manifested Pain (Kel’Thuzad), Pyrelight Circle (Ignis)

Trinkets**
Currently equipped:  The Egg of Mortal Essence, Soul of the Dead
Best-in-slot: ???

Weapon/Offhand*
Currently equipped:  The Impossible Dream / Urn of Lost Memories
Best-in-slot:  Guiding Star (Razorscale) / Ironmender (Kologarn)

Wand
Currently equipped:  Plague Igniter
Best-in-slot:  Scepter of Lost Souls (General Vezax)

* The new spellpower enchant for 2-handed staffs will again make these weapons appealing for casters and healers.  However, I prefer using a weapon and offhand.  For those who’d rather use a staff, The Staff of Endless Winter, which drops from hard-mode Hodir, is best-in-slot.

** I wrote a post a long time ago about trinkets and discipline priests and my knowledge of the class and access to gear has changed immensely since then.  I need to do a little more thinking about the trinket choices as Lootrank.com seems rather inaccurate here.  It gives the trinket from Sartharion as best-in-slot.  It also lists the Forethought Talisman as the second best-in-slot, but I know from experience that the proc rate on it is crap.  I’m curious about the Greatness trinket, but I’m still not sure it’s worth the gold investment (although my DK is a scribe, making all the cards is quite a chore).  But when I look at my mana returns from the Soul of the Dead, I’m very very reluctant to get rid of that item.

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