My thoughts on gaming and some creative writing pieces
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httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7ecBiYHjLs

Abilities

Shared Abilities:

Energized Tiles – The energy of the living stone flows through the room tiles, empowering players and permanent pets and increasing damage dealt by 1% and Spirit by 1%. This effect stacks.

Rend Flesh – The Guardian rends the flesh of the target, causing 36650 Physical damage every 1 sec. Lasts 15 sec.

Overload – Upon reaching full energy the guardian overloads, inflicting 120000 Shadow damage to all enemies and interrupting Amethyst Petrification. The Overload does not free fully petrified enemies.

Living X – 10 charges of the energy that animates the Amethyst Guardian tear though your body. Each charge inflicts 8500 (+ 10% of SpellPower) Shadow damage every 1 sec. Players drain the energy charges into white floor tiles to energize them.

Individual Boss abilities:

Amethyst Pool – The Amethyst Guardian creates a pool that inflicts 60000 (+ 4.2% of SpellPower) Shadow damage every 1 sec. to enemies who enter the area. Lasts 1 min.

Cobalt Mine – Launches a charged cobalt shard at a player’s location. After a 3 sec arming time, any player within 7 yds will detonate the shard, inflicting 92625 to 97375 Arcane damage and rooting all players within 7 yds for 6 sec.

Jade Shards – The Jade Guardian fires shards of jade in all directions, inflicting 26125 to 28875 Nature damage to all players.

Jasper Chains – The Jasper Guardian chains two enemy targets together. While the targets are over 10 yds apart the chains inflict 20000 Fire damage, increased by 10% for each second they remain apart. The chains will break if the targets remain apart for 15 total seconds.

Holy Paladin Healing Strategy

For this fight I think that the spec you run with should include Hand of Purity and Eternal Flame/Divine Purpose. Due to this talent set up, I also think that the PvP Four Piece will work very well for this fight.

This fight, on 25 man, is a three tank fight that requires a lot of healing on both the tanks and the raid. The reason I like taking HoPurity is that it decreases the overall tank damage going out. If you keep this on cooldown throughout the whole fight, tank damage will be significantly lowered. Using the EF healing style, I tend to keep my beacon on the tank I am assigned to while I heal the rest of the raid. For me that is usually enough to keep a constant amount of strong heals going towards the tank. I usually make sure to prioritize the other two tanks for EF as well because of the high constant damage that they take. It’s a bit of a waste to put EF up on your own tank as you can do more overall healing by having that EF on another person and letting Beacon carry heals to the tank. If the damage they are taking warrants it though put one on them as well.

As far as raid healing, spread EF as much as possible. You want to make sure that the people lighting tiles get a heal because they run out of range a lot, so make sure to put heals on them. As usual, you also want to put your area based heals such as Holy Radiance and Light’s Hammer on the melee where you’re sure to heal a large number of people. On the other hand, your EF spread should be prioritized on the ranged who are spread out and will benefit from the individual heals much more.

General Healing Strategy

Because of the varied abilities, there is a place for every type of healer to shine on this encounter. The Spirit buff granted by Energized Tiles is also very important for healers. It makes it so that mana should not be a real issue throughout the majority of this fight. There is a constant amount of damage going out due to the pools, mines, and chains, and the Shards also add a bit of burst damage periodically through the fight. Shard damage isn’t exactly high most of the time, but in my opinion it presents a different challenge than the other abilities. This damage is complimented by the boss’ Overload ability which due to Petrify wont hit very hard, but it still adds a larger more spread out amount of damage than the other abilities that are happening throughout the fight.

As a healer you want to have a method set up to consistently keep healing going on the entire raid while being ready for the small bursts presented by Shards and Overload. Whether that means saving cooldowns for times when excessive damage stacks up with these small bursts or using a strategy more set up for large amounts of burst healing, be prepared to deal with that. Even small cooldowns, like a paladin’s Light’s Hammer or a priest’s Sanctuary would be better used in conjunction with these small bursts where everyone is taking damage than on cooldown with scattered damage.

Do remember that tank damage is also very high on this encounter. The tank that is holding two of the Stone Guards at once may need a lot more healing than the other tanks, but luckily Rend Flesh doesn’t stack (Blizzard doesn’t entirely hate healers after all). Be ready to toss mitigation cooldowns on all tanks, but especially the multiple boss tank.

This is going to be a short guide that includes the talents, glyphs, raid composition (for 25 man) and general cooldown preparation that I used for healing Normal Terrace of Endless Spring. Although it is aimed specifically at Holy Paladins, Ill try to keep the healing talk general so that other classes can get some use out of this as well. Post any questions on fights you may have in the comments and Ill do my best to answer them.

This is the general spec I run with, and unless I state otherwise these are the talents that I use. I also want to say that while I advise a certain talent spec, you can do every fight with whatever talents as long as you figure out a way to make them work for you. I want to add to this by saying that despite what many people will have you think, running PvP 4 Piece and Eternal Flame are not the only way to heal as a Holy Paladin. Its the way to get the absolute best numbers if that’s all you’re interested in, but parsing is not the same as doing your job.

Protectors of the Endless

Tanks: 2
Healers: 5
Talent Changes: None

This fight is a council type fight like Iron Council from Ulduar. When one boss is killed the other two are healed to full and gain a stack of Sha Corruption. This fight has a lot of possible mechanics based on which boss is killed first, so I am going to describe this fight based on the easiest order: Kaolan > Regail > Asani

The fight starts with all three bosses active in the center of the very large room. Each boss has an ability that they add to the fight at this point, and they are Touch of Sha (Kaolan), Lightning Bolt & Lightning Prison (Regail), and Water Bolt & Cleansing Waters. Lightning and Water Bolt shouldn’t actually cause much damage throughout Phase 1 as they can be interrupted, so the main source of damage should be the person tanking Kaolan and the Lightning Prisons that go out. Lightning Prison should be dispelled when it goes out to avoid the damage from hitting the group. It is capable of being put on Meele, and on a stacked group it will do a large amount of damage. Other than that, just make sure to keep steady heals going towards the tank. Good use of SS and Beacon heals can make the healing in this phase extremely easy to deal with.

Once Kaolan dies, the two remaining bosses gain an extra ability each. Asani gains Corrupted Waters and Regail gains Lightning Storm. Lightning Storm is similar to World in Flames from Ragnaros in that you want to stand on the edge of the first ring when it appears to be ready to run into that area once the second larger ring appears. This can be a large source of damage if people in your raid are dumb and decide to stand in the Storm for very long. The other new mechanic, Corrupted Waters, should be used to buff yourself. It is an add that needs to be killed, and if you stand near it when it dies you will gain Purified. Take advantage of it as much as possible.

When Regail has been killed, Asani will gain the ability Overwhelming Corruption. This ability makes the last phase of the fight into a dps burn with a large amount of damage the longer you stay in this phase. You want to be prepared to use your strong cooldowns as necessary, and be aware that this damage can be reduced with Devotion Aura.

Tsulong

Tanks:2
Healers: 6
Talent Changes: Eternal Flame, Divine Purpose, Stay of Execution, Glyph of Flash of Light

This fight is honestly one of my favorites in the tier. A heal the boss fight isn’t the most interesting of mechanics, but it definitely gives us the opportunity to do something we don’t normally do. Its split into two phases: the Night phase which is a high raid damage kill the boss phase, and the Day phase which is a single target healing portion. Your purpose on this fight is to get our numbers as high as possible when healing the boss, you think you can handle that?

Lets start with the boring part: Night Phase. During the Night Tsulong will be a normal style boss fight. The abilities that he casts are Dread ShadowsNightmares, and Shadow Breath. To avoid Shadow Breath, simply don’t stand in front of him. He’s a dragon, what more did you expect? As for Nightmares, purple circles will appear on the ground. Make sure to move out of them and keep your Dispel button ready because someone is bound to mess it up and get feared. Lastly, look for Sunbeam in the room to be able to drop the Dread Shadows debuff. You can likely take it up to 12+ stacks without much damage, especially with smart use of  Divine Protection. Just make sure not to be dumb enough to constantly stand in the Sunbean as it will disappear faster the longer you stand in it.

Now the fun part! During the Day Tsulong becomes friendly and needs to be healed up. Before I get to the strategy I use, Ill explain the full mechanics of this phase though. There will be waves of adds spawning all throughout the Day, and one of them casts Terrorize. This will do a huge amount of damage to Tsulong if it is allowed to stay up. You need to be prepared to Dispel it as soon as it goes out. The adds that are up will also do consistent damage to the raid, so you can’t completely tunnel on the boss (Unless you assign someone else to heal the raid while you go to town). During the Day, make sure you are standing in front of Tsulong as he will now cast Sun Breath. That buff is amazing and it will be highly abused to heal Tsulong.

Onto the actual dragon healing strategy. As soon as Tsulong becomes friendly, cast Beacon of Light on him. Follow it up with a Flash of Light to proc your glyph buff and then a 3 HP EF. You want to make sure that during the day all of your direct casts healing spells are on Tsulong unless its absolutely necessary to cast on someone else. Any extra EFs or DP procs should be cast on the raid though, as you don’t want to override an extremely powerful HoT for a weaker one. For this fight I use a macro that looks like this:

#showtooltip Avenging Wrath
/cast Avenging Wrath
/cast Divine Favor
/cast Guardian of Ancient Kings
/use Potion of the Jade Serpent

I find it very useful, but it’s not entirely necessary. Now, the healing on this phase revolves around Sun Breath. You want to use any cooldowns or potions that you want right before it hits. Once it actually hits you, do the following: Flash of Light > 3 HP EF > Flash of Light > Stay of Execution. This will put up both HoT abilities and buff them both with the Breath and your glyph. Apart from this, make sure that you do not override the HoT outside of a Breath. Again, make sure that your direct casts (HS, FoL, DL) are on Tsulong and spend HP to spread more EFs that will heal him through Beacon.

Lei Shi

Tanks: 2
Healers: 5
Talent Changes: None

This fight is fairly simple and the majority of the healing is tank damage. Throughout the entirety of the fight, Lei Shi will simply cast Spray on the current tank. This needs to be dropped every few seconds to avoid tank damage getting too high, but she will progressively cast faster due to Afraid. Be ready for tank damage to be absolutely ridiculous towards the end of the fight. This tak damage is also why I stick with Sacred Shield for this encouter. Having that shield on the tank at all times will go a long way in smoothing out the huge amounts of damage going out.

The other mechanics of the fight add a bit of diversified damage to keep you awake as you spam the tank. Protect is an ability that Lei Shi will cast every 20% of her health. She will continue to attack her aggro target throughout the duration of her shield, but the adds that are summoned will be the primary source of damage going out. They hit like trucks individually, and there are quite a few of them. Be prepared to toss a cooldown on the tank that is grabbing them and spam heal him as best you can. The other abilities that interchange on a set timer are Hide and Get Away!. Get Away causes a large amount of raid damage while forcing you to continually move. Because of this movement, I use HA for this portion of the fight to try to get in as many LoDs as possible. You can use Divine Protection and Devotion to mitigate some of this damage, but it is definitely a challenge to heal through it. Hide on the other hand doesn’t present much damage at all if people stay away from the tank who has aggro. She will continue to cast Spray on that tank, so if people are near him they will take damage from it as well.

Sha of Fear

Tanks: 3
Healers: 6
Talent Changes: EF, DP

This fight actually doesn’t have too much going on for being the penultimate of the tier. Throughout the fight you transition between the main platform, where the Sha is present, and outer shrines. Ill explain the main platform and the Sha first and then explain the other platforms.

The Sha has a few different abilities itself and summons adds throughout the entire fight. The Sha’s abilities are ThrashBreath of FearEerie Skull, and the adds it summons use Penetrating Bolt. Penetrating Bolt and Breath of Fear are abilities that just need to be avoided. The Breath is avoided by simply standing within the boundary of the giant cone that your tank creates by standing in the light in front of the Sha. There should never be a point where you, as a healer, take damage from this ability. Be prepared for your dps to get hit by this though. Some DPS do tend to tunnel the adds and not realize that this ability is coming, but unfortunately for them it hits so hard that saving them may not be possible. Penetrating Bolt is also something that you just need to move out of. The landing point will be marked by a circle on the ground that needs to be moved out of. As long as you’re paying attention to your feet you shouldn’t get hit by this ability. Thrash and Eerie Skull on the other hand will simply be damage going out that needs to be healed through.

The only other mechanic present on this fight is the boss’ Ominous Cackle ability. If you get chosen for this ability you will be moved to the outer platform, along with a tank and three dps, to kill an add. The add has to die in time for your tank to get back to tank the boss, so this requires a good amount of damage going out from your group. You as the healer then need to do your best to keep them alive through Dread Spray. In my experience this ability has a knack for fearing you just as you need to save someone, which is why I like using EF for this fight. The other abilities present on the platform are Death Blossom  and Sha Globe. Death Blossom simply has to be LoSd by hiding behind the pillars on the platform. The damage is too high to reliably survive otherwise, so don’t try to stand in and heal through it. The Sha Globes you should simply run over and use to replenish your mana. Make sure that you pick up any that go out because if you don’t they will heal the add for a huge amount.

This is going to be a short guide that includes the talents, glyphs, raid composition (for 25 man) and general cooldown preparation that I used for healing Normal Heart of Fear. Although it is aimed specifically at Holy Paladins, Ill try to keep the healing talk general so that other classes can get some use out of this as well. Post any questions on fights you may have in the comments and Ill do my best to answer them.

This is the general spec I run with, and unless I state otherwise these are the talents that I use. I also want to say that while I advise a certain talent spec, you can do every fight with whatever talents as long as you figure out a way to make them work for you. I want to add to this by saying that despite what many people will have you think, running PvP 4 Piece and Eternal Flame are not the only way to heal as a Holy Paladin. Its the way to get the absolute best numbers if that’s all you’re interested in, but parsing is not the same as doing your job.

Also of importance is the fact that most of these fights include huge amounts of physical damage that cannot be mitigated by Devotion Aura and that you need to glyph Divine Protection for if you are having trouble surviving.

Imperial Vizier Zor’lok

Healers: 5
Tanks: 1
Talent Changes: None

This fight has a few different abilities that need to be dealt with that each require a different amount or style of healing.  The boss has three platforms that each grant him an ability, and the last phase of the fight involves fighting him in the center of the room where he will have all three abilities at once. The boss has one ability that lasts the entire fight, Exhale which should be soaked by a tank to avoid the damage on the target. I’ll start by breaking up each individual platform.

The first platform grants the boss the Force and Verve ability which is an AoE ability that will damage the entire raid with physical damage. The boss also tosses out a few bubbles that the raid can stand in to mitigate some of the damage, but it is still enough that you need to be prepared to do some burst AoE. This ability is the reason that I like HA on this fight. You can pop HA as the ability begins and then chain LoD with HS and HR weaved in between to get your 3 HP. LH should also be dropped on as many people as possible as this ability goes out.

The second platform grants the boss Attenuation. This ability releases rings from the boss that should be avoided. If done properly no healing is required through this phase, but lets be serious for a second: someones going to screw up and you need to cover their ass. The best way to do this is to go into the ability with full Holy Power. This phase requires you to keep moving, so you can only use instants to try to save people. If a few people take a hit you can toss out a LoD, or if one person really needs it you can use a WoG to save them. Lay on Hands can also be used here, and if its absolutely necessary you can use Bubble and continue to heal through the ability. You can also toss LH on the path that your group will be running through, but this may be better spent once the group comes back together to heal everyone up.

The third platform grants the boss Convert which is just another MC to deal with. The targets need to be dpsd down and then healed back up. LoH can be a nice clutch heal here if your dps get a little too eager to dps someone down and they break MC with a real possibility of dying.

The last phase includes all of these abilities and so is a combination of the strategies used for all of the platforms.

Blade Lord Ta’yak

Healers: 5
Tanks: 2
Talent Changes: Hand of Purity or Clemency

This fight has two very distinct phases. The first includes a lot of burst healing situations while the second has constant damage going out to the whole raid.

The first phase lasts until the boss reaches 20% health. The abilities that the boss uses for this are Tempest SlashUnseen StrikeWind Step, and Overwhelming Assault. OA is an ability that only affects tanks, and you should be prepared for tanks to be taking spiky damage as their stacks get higher. SS should greatly help with keeping that damage more regular, so don’t forget to put it up. Tempest Slash is a very simple ability that comes down more to your raid paying attention to where they’re standing so as to not get tornadoes in inopportune locations.

Wind Step is a DoT ability that does a lot of damage. This is the reason that I take either HoPurity or Clemency over US on this fight. The ability can be taken off of the target through immunities and Hand of Protection, or the damage can be decreased with HoPurity. Either works, and it really depends on how many targets there are. HoProtection is great if you only have one target, but Purity works better if you have a few targets getting hit and want to spread the damage reduction.

Unseen Strike is the largest raid damage that goes out in phase one. If done properly, your whole raid will get hit for a decent amount of physical damage. To deal with this burst damage I like to use HA to quickly heal everyone up with LoD. LH can also be tossed down after your melee group stacks up again (Ranged needs to be spread because of Wind Step).

Phase two is a burn phase with an interesting mechanic. It requires the raid to run from one end of the room to the other while continuing to take a large amount of damage. I found that as a paladin it was very hard to heal through this phase while continuing to heal. HA made one of the running phases (there are two: one at 20% and one at 10%) a lot easier, but our toolkit just isn’t built for healing while on the move. Once everyone gets to the part of the room where the boss is stationed, its much easier to just stack up and use LH and HR to heal everyone back up.

 

Garalon

Healers: 6
Tanks: 2
Talent Changes: EF and DP

Garalon is a fight with a ridiculous amount of raid damage going out. This fight is made perfectly suited to EF blanketing because of this consistently high raid damage. Pheromones will continually do large amount of damage as long as your raid is fighting Garalon, and Crush adds a large amount of burst damage into the mix. I would advise following the EF healing strategy, which I outline HERE, and using LH on as many people as possible during Crush. The fight is pretty straightforward as long as Pheremones are handled properly, so there really isn’t much else to say about this fight.

Wind Lord Mel’jarak

Healers: 5
Tanks: 2
Talent Changes: None

This fight has two sorts of phases. During the first you are dealing with both the boss and his army of adds, and in my opinion a lot more damage. During the second phase you are dealing entirely with the boss, and to make up for this he hits quite a bit harder.

During the first phase, the adds that are up use Corrosive Resin  and Kor’thik Strike periodically on the raid. The damage that each individual ability inflicts isn’t huge, but there are happening at the same time as the boss’s abilities. Wind Lord uses Whirling Blade and Rain of Blades above 70% health. Rain is a very high damage physical ability that require a strong amount of burst healing that is perfect for HA. If you have the mana to do so, it is also very effective to spread illuminated healing through HR before Rain goes out. Do keep in mind that doing so very mana taxing though. Whirling Blade on the other hand can be avoided completely if people are paying attention. People do tend to get hit by it though, so be prepared to heal through that damage as well.

Once the adds are dead and you begin to push the boss’s health, he will begin to cast Wind Bomb. This ability should never actually go off unless your fellow raiders are dumb and stand in it. If they do stand on one there will definitely be some trouble with healing the raid up as all ranged should be spread out to deal with Wind Bomb. The boss will also be hitting harder with all his abilities at this point due to Recklessness (which is linking incorrectly). On normal it actually acts differently, it increases his damage by 50% and stacks with no duration. This makes Rain of Blades a very hard hitting ability once all the adds are dead and also makes Whirling Blade much more of a threat if not avoided.

Amber-Shaper Un’sok

Healers: 5
Tanks: 2
Talent Changes: Hand of Purity, EF/DP

This fight has three phases that each have a strong amount of damage going out and each carry a lot more damage than the last phase. An ability that is present throughout the whole fight needs to be watched carefully though. Parasitic Growth is an DoT that absorbs healing to increase the damage dealt. If you try to heal someone with Parasitic Growth on them, you’re going to kill them. This also means that people with Parasites need to move out of AoE healing if they are taking large amounts of damage. I’ve noticed that because of AoE heals, the damage gets higher regardless of no direct heals because of the incidental AoE healing. To deal with this I use HoPurity on the target later in the debuffs time span.

The first phase of the fight includes the boss and periodic adds that he summons. The main ability that is dealt with is Amber Scalpel and the Living Amber that are summoned through it. The adds focus on random players and deal moderate physical damage, but their real threat is dealt with their explosion upon dying. The damage is not huge, but it will definitely keep you busy with healing.

The second phase has a lot of damage going out, but a majority of it can be avoided as long as your fellow raiders aren’t dumb about dealing with mechanics. The second phase revolves around the Amber Monstrosity and Un’sok’s Reshape Life. During this stage, Un’sok continues to use his phase one abilities, but the Monstrosity presents much more damage to be had. The Monstrosity will use Massive Stomp periodically and presents some burst to be added to the constant damage brought by Living Amber. The Monstrosity will also try to cast Amber Explosion which players affected by Reshape Life must interrupt. Those same players must also interrupt themselves from casting their own Amber Explosion. If either of those interrupts are missed, be prepared for a lot of damage to go out. These explosions are good times to use healing cooldowns.

The third phase will occur after the Amber Monstrosity dies. Un’sok will stop using Amber Scalpel and therefore will stop summoning Living Ambers, but Reshape Life and Parasitic Growth will continue. This phase becomes a stack and burn phase, so there is a higher chance of Parasite targets dying if they stand with the group and take large amounts of AoE healing. If you’re running EF, just take this phase to continue blanketing as well as possible. If you decide to run a non-EF build, this is the time to chain as much LoD as you can.

Grand Empress Shek’zeer

Healers: 6
Tanks: 2
Talent Changes: Possibly EF/DP

This fight includes phases with a lot of raid damage, both in burst and constant form.

The first phase centers around Empress’s Dissonance Field and Cry of Terror abilities, but Dread Screech is also present throughout the phase. This phase is completely about controlling the Dissonance Field eruptions. If both go down simultaneously the damage is going to kill some people. Being smart about Cry also negates a lot of the damage that ability deals. Either way, be ready to heal through both the high constant damage of Cry and the burst behind Dissonance. If you’re running EF just have as many HoTs up as possible, and if you’re not you need to have HP ready to toss as many LoD as you can quickly after a Dissonance field goes off.

Phase two has multiple adds that deal a strong amount of damage and have the Band of Valor ability that will make that damage incredible if too many are allowed near each other. Set’thik Windblade do some moderate raid damage through Dispatch and Sticky Resin. The damage isn’t incredibly high, but your raid will be spread out so HR wont be very effective for dealing with raid damage. The other adds, Kor’thik Reaver, will do a large amount of tank damage and some raid damage through Poison Bomb. Be very careful of your tanks through this phase. The damage they’re taking can be very burst based on how many adds are near each other and its easy to get out of range of them while running around.

The last phase of the fight is a burn phase on Empress that introduces Sha EnergyCalamityConsuming TerrorAmassing Darkness, and Visions of Demise. If people are quick about avoiding the cone, Consuming should never hit anyone. Be prepared to dispel people if your raid fails at this mechanic though. Visions is another ability that needs to be dispelled. My raid handled this by having a stack point slightly off the boss where people with Visions would run to. This allowed our priests to use Mass Dispel as soon as the ability went off and avoided most of the damage. Sha Energy and Amassing Darkness are unavoidable and give this phase a very high healing requirement. That in combination with Calamity are a throwback to healing through Anub’arak back in ToC. Again, if you’re running EF just keep spreading Hots as much as possible here. Otherwise make sure that you keep your AoE healing rolling with LoD and HR.

There are only a few changes that came with the patch, so this wont be a huge post. I do want to touch on the things that have changed though.

  • Light of Dawn healing has been increased by 5%.
  • Holy Prism will now always Heal the 5 closest allies with the lowest health.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause Illuminated Healing to apply absorption shields when no healing was generated.
  • This wasn’t in the patch notes, but the Holy Paladin PvP 4 Piece no longer provides 1 Holy Power when a heal is cast from a Divine Purpose proc.

The changes to Light of Dawn and Holy Prism are just buffs. Light of Dawn hasn’t been a very attractive spell with the huge output that has been provided by Eternal Flame, so having it buffed is going to make AoE healing a bit nicer. I haven’t raided yet this week, but I’m also going to assume that our burst AoE healing is going to see a decent buff due to the LoD change. For burst healing situations Holy Prism being a smart heal may also be very nice. I haven’t actually used it for raiding since I started Heroic modes, but I may try to find some uses for it now.

I’m actually not sure what the Illuminated Healing change is due to. I haven’t heard anything where this bug had come up. If I do come across why this change was implemented I will update just to have the information be clear.

PvP 4 Piece Nerf

I just want to start by saying that of course Blizzard nerfs this once I actually sit down to write a post about it. Thanks, jerks.

So the change hasn’t affected the general style of play that became popular with using Eternal Flame in conjunction with the PvP 4 Piece to “EF Blanket” your raid. That can still be done in a fairly effective manner. What the change did do is decrease the effectiveness that this had in combination with Divine Purpose. Before the change, you could get a few DP procs in a row and have 5 HP ready to roll as soon as you ran out of procs. It made for a lot of EFs going out in conjunction and a huge part of what made this healing strategy so powerful. The change simply makes it so that DP procs no longer provide you with that 1 Holy Power. The DP procs themselves can still be used for the EFs, but you wont have your 5 Holy Power waiting to be used up after they’re gone.

As far as I can tell, this will make it so that the PvP 4 Piece becomes quite a bit weaker. It will definitely continue to be strong on fights like Garalon and Elegon with phases of constant raid wide damage, but in other situations I believe that the PvE 4 Piece will definitely out do it. The stat loss of taking the PvP gear was always an issue, but the sheer amount of Holy Power you could create made up for it. I am now sure that if you can get the 4 Piece PvE bonus with 496 gear that the PvP gear wont be worth the trouble.

Item Upgrades

One last thing I want to mention is the item upgrade system that has been implemented with the patch.

You can now upgrade pieces of gear up to 8 item levels and gain the appropriate stats to match the higher item levels. Based on what I’ve seen, it seems that the best order of upgrades is going to be:

Weapon> Trinkets> Chest/Helm/Legs (Higher stat allocations) > Other armor slots > Rings/Neck/Cloak

I’m personally going to start with my trinkets as I’m waiting to get a Sha touched weapon to upgrade. Since our BiS trinkets come from Heroic Will and Heroic Tsulong, Ill likely upgrade my DMC trinket first and then wait to get a Sha Touched weapon or until I cap again.

First of all, I want to apologize for it being so long since my last post. I’ve been dealing with a lot recently that kept me from writing new blog posts. First of all, I moved back to my old guild Static on Arthas. This means I’m once again Horde and will be writing from the perspective of 25 man raids, but hopefully they can translate to ten man raiding as well. I’ve also had some health issues that have kind of taken over my life, but they’re mostly in check now. I have my finals coming up for school soon as well, but I really enjoy writing so I hope that they don’t interfere with my writing blog posts at all. I hope to get back to posting something relevant to do with Holy Paladins or raiding at least every other week, so without further postponement lets talk about EF.

 

Anyone who keeps up with healing forums has by now heard about EF blanketing, but regardless I want to give a quick explanation of the concept and how it works in practice.
Eternal Flame is a talent that adds a 30 second Heal over Time component to our Word of Glory. When this talent is taken in combination with Divine Purpose the opportunity is opened up to have  quite a few of the HoTs up on your raid. This alone wouldn’t lead to a reliable healing strategy, but it has become common practice to take these two talents in combination with our PvP Four Piece Bonus.  The bonus applies to EF, so that every time EF is cast you will gain 1 extra Holy Power. This combined with using almost entirely spells that generate Holy Power (Holy Shock, Crusader Strike, Holy Radiance) leads to a huge amount of Holy Power generation. All of these components working together evolve into a mad dash for Holy Power to fish for Divine Purpose procs. Once you get the ball rolling on EF, it just doesn’t seem to stop. It is very possible to have upwards of 10 EFs up at a time, and that combined with Illuminated Healing and Beacon account for outrageous amounts of throughput.

 

Normal Garalon Healing log

The above log is the result of my putting this healing strategy into practice on Normal 25 player Garalon. Not to say that I’m the best or even incredibly good by any standards, but I did use the EF Blaketing strategy as best I could. Also note that this fight, with constant damage on the entire raid throughout the whole encounter, is how this kind of strategy best shines. The majority of the healing from each EF doesn’t go towards overhealing and the Mastery provided by each is also used up.

My healing per Spell for Normal Garalon

This picture also breaks down how much healing was contributed from each individual spell. Eternal Flame is clearly far and above everything else, and the healing it provides also leads to Mastery and Beacon coming in at second and third over all healing. This is due to the fact that the damage going out leaving room for EF to heal, but it is definitely as strong in other situations. One other thing I want to point out about the above log break down is not something doing a significant amount, but a lack of something. I casted a grand total of 0 Holy Lights, Divine Lights, or Flash of Lights. With this strategy is actually comes down to a waste to use mana on anything other than more Holy Power for more EF. Holy Radiance can be used because the spell is still very strong, but in a situation where you don’t have at least 3 people clustered together even that can be wasteful. If EF is used properly it can dispense very powerful heals to individuals through its direct heal, and the HoT can spread reasonable healing and mastery bubbles throughout the raid.

The healing it does through Beacon is also incredible with a large number of EFs out. Based on the above numbers, lets assume that each EF ticks for an average of 6900. Beacon will transfer half of that, so that leads to the 3500 healing transferred to the Beacon target every 3 seconds for each HoT out. Giving ourselves some leeway here, lets assume that you can only get 5 EFs up at a time. That will provide about 17500 healing to the Beacon every 3 seconds. Now if we say that you have ten EFs up throughout the raid (For a decent number that is available in both raid difficulties), you will be doing 35000 healing through to your beacon target through EF ticks alone. The sheer amount of throughput provided is the powerhouse of this strategy, and it sure bring a lot of it.

There are some clear procs and cons to this strategy, and I want to list them partially so that I’m sure of what I want to touch on.

Pros

  •  This healing strategy provides massive amounts of throughput and raid healing that no other strategy can for Holy Paladins.
  • Because of focusing on use of Holy Shock and Crusader Strike, this strategy is extremely mana efficient.
  • A huge amount of raid healing is coupled with a decent amount of tank healing through Beacon.
  • It is possible to maintain this healing style while on the move.
  • Possibility for huge amounts of healing if you get a lucky string of Divine Purpose procs.

Cons

  • Because of use of lower item level gear to maintain the PvP four piece our stats take a hit.
  • Our healing can be incredibly unreliable because of how proc dependent the strategy is.
  • Lack of burst healing capabilities.
  • Forces you into a box of maintaining EFs to stay competitive and therefore relies on having other healers pick up the slack with spot healing and tank healing.
  • There are other classes who have this niche cut out for them and can’t easily fill the role we leave open by taking theirs. To add to this, we are the class that best fits the niche of tank healers.

I think I’ve talked about the pros enough while breaking down the strategy, so I want to discuss the cons in a little more detail.

This style of healing forces us to keep EF rolling as much as possible to keep the throughput as high as possible. If you try to run this style and use Holy Light or spot heal, you will not massively gimp your healing. Your spot healing is already worse due to the loss of Intellect and secondary stats required to have the four piece bonus, so trying to maximize any spot healing strategy with this set up is extremely sub-optimal. You absolutely need to focus on Holy Power generation to get out more EFs. That leads to being stuck as an EF raid healing machine. You can’t successfully do much else than what the strategy is built for, which also requires you to have fellow healers who can back up what you’re doing. If you’re a ten man healer and healing alongside only a Resto druid, chances are this wont be the best of strategies. You might be better at this type of healing currently due to Resto druid’s place, but you’re also able to fit another niche much better than they can. It is definitely a powerful strategy to use, but just because you can put out huge numbers doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use the strategy.

The issue of being shoehorned into raid healing constantly and forcing the other healers in your group to focus on spot heals is the major concern I have with this style, but the unreliability is also a huge issue. If a huge amount of damage goes out and you don’t have a string of DP procs, you’re forced to rely on either HR spam or DL which absolutely kills your mana. You might end up being lucky enough to already have a few EFs up on the right people to make up for the lack of burst, but if you don’t you’re left praying for DP to give you what you need.

All in all this healing strategy is an extremely powerful tool that all paladins should be aware of. I don’t want to say that it’s the end all be all way to heal, but it is definitely something that everyone should be using on fights that warrant it. In the same manner I want to say that just because people are putting up huge numbers on logs doesn’t mean that you need to be running this to be successful.

This is going to be a short guide that includes the talents, glyphs, raid composition and general cooldown preparation that I used for healing Normal Mogu’shan Vaults. Although it is aimed specifically at Holy Paladins, Ill try to keep the healing talk general so that other classes can get some use out of this as well. Post any questions on fights you may have in the comments and Ill do my best to answer them.

This is the general spec I run with, and unless I state otherwise these are the talents that I use. I also want to say that while I advise a certain talent spec, you can do every fight with whatever talents as long as you figure out a way to make them work for you.

Stone Guard

Healers: 3
Tanks: 2
Talent Changes: Holy Prism, Possibly Hand of Purity

This fight has a lot of damage for an entry boss fight. Luckily most of the damage is avoidable and your raid shouldn’t actually be taking too much damage if you do the fight properly. The main issue that arises on this fight is that other than the melee, your raid will likely be very spread out to avoid the abilities that the bosses are putting out. This makes it so that if people do take unnecessary damage, it will be a little difficult to heal the whole raid.

The only unavoidable damage going out is the Jade Guardian’s Jade Shards which are an AoE ability that hits the whole raid. If the Jade Guardian is one of the bosses that is up, just be prepared to periodically have everyone take a chunk of damage. Two of the other abilities, Cobalt Mine and Amethyst Pool, are stationary damage areas that should just be moved out of. The last ability, and also one of the reasons that positioning on this fight can get very annoying, is Jasper Chains. This ability forces you to stay within 10 yards of the person you are chained to otherwise you will continually take damage. Three of these four mechanics will be up per week and the main method of dealing with the damage is that each boss also puts up a Petrification debuff that makes their own abilities cause less damage. That leads to walking over Mines during Cobalt Petrification, breaking Chains during Jasper and so on.

Having Jade Guardian up leads to EF being very good for this fight. Since everyone is spread out EF blanketing the raid is a very good way to get constant heals on people for the small amounts of damage constantly going out. Blanketing also gets a lot of heals going towards your Beacon, which is great because on this fight both tanks will constantly have Rend Flesh on them. That DoT also leads me to think that Hand of Purity may be great for this fight, but I stuck to US because of wanting the mana from Divinity. Holy Prism is also a very useful spell here because it can be used to heal up everyone within range of one of the bosses pretty oftenly, whereas Light’s Hammer may only hit a few targets due to everyone being so spread out.

On this fight I would advise that cooldowns be used as needed with Devotion Aura saved for the Overload that each boss casts.

Feng the Accursed

Healers: 2
Tanks: 2
Talent Changes: None

This fight has three different phases that each put out damage differently and have different strategies that can be applied to them.

The first phase, Spirit of the Fist, has very minor damage until he casts Epicenter. The way the fight works, you can skip every other Epicenter damage phase through one of your tanks using Nullification Barrier on a stacked raid. For the Epicenter’s that you don’t have NB, you should be ready to use Devotion Aura, Light’s Hammer, and your choice of throughput cooldowns. I personally thought that using Holy Avenger followed by one of my other cooldowns (AW, DF, or DG) did fairly well for this damage.

The second phase, Spirit of the Spear, also has fairly low raid damage until Feng uses the ability Draw Flame. Once again, Nullification Barrier can be used to skip every other one of these phases. During the phases that he actually manages to use the ability, be prepared for a longer AoE phase. Unlike Epicenter, Draw Flame’s damage is based on when Feng melees his target so it wont go off until he manages to do so. To deal with the damage I threw down Light’s Hammer on our ranged pile and used EF blanketing to heal the melee group. If I got behind on healing in that manner I did make more use of LoD as well, but I tried to keep a preference on keeping EF up on as many people as I could. It’s also important here to cycle cooldowns just as well as with Epicenter.

The last phase of the fight, Spirit of the Staff, is likely the most consistent damage of the fight and can have much more if your raid screws up. He has his (at this point expected) periodic group AoE Arcane Velocity which does less damage the closer to him you are. Again, every other AV can be avoided with NB to avoid the large amount of damage going out. There is another trick here though. Feng will also cast Arcane Resonance which can easily wipe your raid if people are stacked closely to the target. Because of this (This is mostly true on ten man) you want your raid to be in a loose circle around Feng where the targets of Arcane Resonance can easily run out. I personally found that this phase had less healing necessary than the primary two phases due to the damage being more avoidable. I did continue rolling 1 HP EF on people taking damage and saving cooldowns for AV though.

Gara’jal the Spiritbinder 

Healers: 2
Tanks: 2
Talent Changes: Possibly Holy Prism

The first thing I want to say here is that this fight is extremely healing intensive, but there should be no attempt to three heal it. The fight is a very large dps check, so it should be handled with 2 healers even if its a little rough to do so. The main mechanic in the fight includes killing the Spirit Totem that Gara’jal summons while in close proximity to them to go into the spirit realm. As a healer you should be going down with 2 dps and it play the very vital role of healing them to full so that they can gain a HUGE dps buff and transfer back to the normal realm. Let me reiterate that: In the Spirit Realm, your job as a healer is to heal the three people to full. Once at full health, you gain the ability to leave the Spirit Realm as well as a huge buff. I also want to make it clear that while in the spirit realm you should be casting your fastest spells despite the mana cost because the buff that you gain, Revitalized Spirit, grants you a large amount of mana regeneration.

The second mechanic for the fight, and part of the reason that it is so healing intensive, is Voodoo Dolls. As a paladin with EF, this ability is actually rather easy for us to deal with though. While I normally advise light use of expensive spells like HR or DL, Revitalized Spirit makes it so that you can use these spells as long as you make sure to cycle through the Spirit Realm with the other healers in your group. If you use them intelligently you can also use them to build HP and gain more heals through that. I was rolling a full 3 HP EF on each Voodoo Doll and keeping my Beacon on the tank. I also used smaller EFs on other raid members who were taking damage.

Cooldowns should be used as needed on this fight, but be aware that he enters and enrage at 20% where his damage gets very high. You should definitely have cooldowns ready to go for that phase and I would say its smart to save them for that period if you’re considering using them towards the end.

Spirit Kings

Tanks: 1
Healers: 2
Talent Changes: None

This fight can get very complicated due to there being four different bosses that you’re fighting. Each boss also leaves behind one ability to be used throughout the entire encounter once they die, so by the end of the fight you have one boss (with all his own abilities) and three left over abilities to deal with. Ill try to break up each boss concisely, but be prepared for one mess of a fight if you get an unlucky order.

The first boss will always be Qiang the Merciless. The main abilities that you should be aware of for him are a casted frontal cone that will one shot you, and Massive Attacks. To deal with MA, all your raid has to do is stand close to the boss so that the damage will be shared with the entire group. Since the frontal cone has a cast time that makes it easy to move from, this means you can stand right on top of your tank to make sure that they have someone to share the damage with. MA attacks also makes Quiang’s main ability a pain to deal with though. When Quian casts Flanking Orders, a line of soldiers will walk straight across the room from a random spawn point around the circular room. They do damage all in front of them, so they have to be moved out from in front of. If your tank isn’t careful here, they may run off on their own and kill themselves with MA because they ran too quickly for the raid to keep up. As long as that doesn’t go wrong, you just need to worry about healing up the shared damage from MA though. Either keeping EF blanketing going or LoD should be more than enough to deal with that.

Elegon

Tanks: 2
Healers: 2
Talent Changes: Long Arm of the Law

This fight consists of three different phases each with a large amount of damage. It is definitely one of the most challenging fights with both healing and dps. I’d again advise that a group not try to three heal this despite there being a lot of healing because of the dps checks that are present for the fight. One of the main things to note about this fight is the debuff that is gained while standing on Elegon’s platform: Touch of the Titans as well as the stacking debuff attached to it ,Overcharged. TotT gives dps a very nice buff, but if you read it closely it really doesn’t do much for healers. It increases healing received , not casted. This makes it so that you should drop stacks as often as possible without having to move much. LAotL also makes it very easy to quickly run in and out oftenly if you need to.

The first phase of this fight includes a decent amount of tank damage dealt directly by the boss combined with some AoE damage dealt by the adds that Elegon summons. Upon dying the adds should be outside the platform and will explode for a large amount of AoE damage. Your ranged dps should be stacked when the explosion goes off, so Light’s Hammer in combination with some cooldowns should work well here. Its also important to use raid cooldowns like Devotion Aura if possible.

When the boss transitions into his second phase he will not do any damage, but the sparks that he releases will explode on their death. This makes it so that you need to continue healing throughout the phase as the sparks die and get people up before the next wave is killed. The adds tend to spawn rather quickly as well, so I found it useful to stand on the edge of the platform to heal up the raid and only stepped on to heal myself then jumped off.

The third distinct phase has your group running around the edge of the room and killing adds. Elegon doesn’t do much damage during this phase, but he does periodically cast Unstable Energy. The adds that he summons, Cosmic Spark, also do a lot of damage, so be prepared to throw huge heals at your tank. Since my group split up with 5 people per side, I found that the best way to deal with the damage was to keep a 1 HP EFs on every person on my side while I focused my casted heals on my tank. Once both groups met up and there was a lot of damage goind out due to the adds, I used HA to chain cast LoDs.

After going through all three phases twice, the boss will transition into a slightly different Phase 1. This is a burn phase where he will continue to do damage to the entire raid that will ramp up the longer your raid spends in the fight because of Overcharged. This phase requires good use of cooldowns and will burn through your mana as you will need to cast Holy Radiance to keep up with the damage. Its also important to chain raid cooldowns as well as you can here.

Will of the Emperor

Tanks: 2
Healers: 2/3
Talent Changes: Possibly SS

This fight has a lot of adds to deal with but is pretty straightforward from a healing perspective. Throughout most of the fight there is only really tank damage going out, but it can get very intense based on how well your tanks do with avoiding Devastating Combo. To deal with this damage I tried to keep a 3 HP EF on both tanks and took as much advantage of Beacon transfers  as possible. The damage is very intense though, so it’s necessary to use Divine Light intelligently so as to not burn through your mana too quickly.

The only change to the damage output throughout the fight is the periodic presence of Titan Gas. The Gas deals damage to the whole raid, so Light’s Hammer should be tossed on your ranged while you continue to heal the tanks. The Gas in combination with the stacking armor debuff applied by the Devastating Combo can lead to tanks taking an incredible amount of damage. Cooldowns are absolutely necessary to be able to heal your tanks through the damage and should be saved for the Gas phases. I used HA in combination with either AW or DF for each Gas phase.

Leveling in MoP

September 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Getsu in Mists of Pandaria | Paladin | World of Warcraft - (0 Comments)

Mists of Pandaria is almost upon us. Just a couple more days until we are able to run through Pandaria and start preparations to fight the Mogu, Mantid, and Sha in the first tier of raiding. Trying to get into raiding as soon as possible requires a bit of preparation though, so I’m going to share my thoughts on how I plan to get to max level and what I will be doing immediately after hitting cap.

My Set Up

I want to start off by giving a quick explanation of what I’m running with as far as my spec goes. I was planning on leveling as Protection, but the change to Vengeance has made killing mobs as protection much harder. Because of that I will be leveling as Retribution instead. I will be using THESE talents and glyphs as I level. The talents are all based around moving around quickly and passives that will be up the majority of the time. The glyphs I put down in that spec are the only two that I think will be constantly good for leveling and one aimed more at giving a general survival cooldown. The third glyph likely doesn’t make too much of a difference, I just personally wouldn’t use Mass Exorcism because it limits the range.

Level 15: I chose to go with Long Arm of the Law because I think that moving from mob to mob quickly will likely be the best option. In between mobs you will likely be mounted, so the passive run speed from Pursuit of Justice wont do as much good in my opinion. A sprint is also very good, but it wont be up as often.

Level 30: I went with Fist of Justice here because I don’t think that you’ll be taking the time to CC stuff very often. The stun also works to give you some breathing room with multiple mobs and as an interrupt if used properly.

Level 45: The best option here seems to be Sacred Shield. Keeping it up throughout the leveling process should help with downtime as you’ll have to stop to heal less often. I also just don’t think that you want to spend Holy Power on a HoT. Selfless Healer may be pretty good here as well, but for now I’m going to favor Sacred Shield as Supplication already makes casting a quick Flash of Light very strong.

Level 60: I think that although cooldowns may not get used that often, Unbreakable Spirit will be the best option here. Hand of Purity is just too specific to be used in general while leveling. As for Clemency, the only Hand that might actually get use while leveling is Hand of Freedom. As Ret you also have access to Emancipate which makes having two Hand of Freedoms kind of useless.

Level 75: While it isn’t the best for overall damage output, I will be using Divine Purpose here. For leveling I would much rather have a passive bonus that can be up for every single mob.

The Leveling Grind

I plan on leveling through questing primarily. I may do a few dungeons along the way, but I don’t want to just run dungeons non-stop until cap (I’m sure I’ll be spending enough time in dungeons trying to gear up anyway.)I know a lot of people may be planning to run dungeon groups to level instead of questing, but my first bit of advice here is that you actually quest. The new zones are honestly amazing and quite a bit different than any leveling process that has come before.

So as illustrated by the map, there is a somewhat set path that you should be taking while leveling. Whether you are Alliance or Horde, you will be starting in the Jade Forest and staying there until you hit level 86. Don’t fret over trying to finish all the quests (unless you want to) though, there are (at least there were when I leveled on Beta) more than enough quests to level. Once you hit 86 you should move on to Krasarang Wilds. Based on my experience in the Beta, you should be able to finish Krasarang Wilds and most of the Valley of the Four Winds while you level up to 88. The two zones kind of play off of each other, so there are quite a few transition quests that you can take to get from the Wilds to the Valley. Once you hit 88, there is a quest in the North Eastern end of the Valley where you are taken up to Kun Lai Summit.

I think think that the Summit is where leveling gets either very fun or very grueling based on how you enjoy questing. In my experience, the Summit quests are where Lore really started to get interesting and there were some very interesting quests. Whether mechanically or through story, the quests there get very different than anything I’ve experienced so far. In fact, the ending quests in the zone that lead you into Townlong Steppes have a lot of both mechanically interesting mechanics and a huge amount of story to have you leave the zone with a bang (literally). I don’t remember how the progression went for this zone, but I would advise finishing off the Northern and Eastern quests first as the South-West are the quests that eventually progress into Townlong.

Moving into the Steppes gets into that final grind of leveling. I ended up finishing off all of Townlong and a large part of the Dread Wastes while getting from 89 to 90. The quests helped to make it feel very interesting, but for me it was still just rough finishing off that final level. I was (and probably will be again) at the point where I just wanted to be done when I went through them, so I think I may be a little biased against these zones. They are definitely important from a raiding perspective though. These zones (if I’m not mistaken) give you your first reputation gains with the Shado Pan and the Klaxxi which will be important once you start gathering gear in preparation of raiding.

Starting to Gear

I want to mention that the two quests Battle Axe of the Thunder King and The Final Power are both listed as having very high level rewards, so both of those should be done.

Once you hit 90, your priority should be to start gaining honor with all the reputations and running Heroics. Each group offers three rewards for Holy Paladins once you hit revered with them, so make sure to level all of them. I will personally be prioritizing the Klaxxi and the Shado-Pan because as a Blacksmith I want the Klaxxi’s plans to make gear and the Shado-Pan offer trinkets as one of their gear rewards. Once you work through dailies, I advise that you just run Heroics as much as you can before raids open. You’re not guaranteed to get the pieces you need, but if you’re looking to maximize the gear that you start raiding with you’re going to need to try to get every single piece that you can.

 

My Culture Sculpture

September 14th, 2012 | Posted by Getsu in Personal - (4 Comments)

This is going to be a personal post about one of my experiences going through RA training in my dorm and some thoughts I had on the experience. 

About two weeks ago while was going through training to be an RA in my dorm, I went through multiple activities that were rather bland. Most of the training was terribly boring and I simply sat in one room after another while people talked at me about a plethora of ways in which college students endanger themselves. During one of these sessions, a rather animated faculty member of my school’s residential life program, who I will refer to as Mr. I,  began telling us a story about his family. The story itself was rather touching, but the activity that came afterwards is what I want to talk about.

Once his story was over, Mr. I asked us to take some pipe cleaners that we would be using for a “Culture Sculpture”. He explained that he’d be asking us a question and he wanted us to make a shape of any sort for each question. Once all our questions were finished he wanted us to connect the small sculptures in some way and think of how all our individual answers also connected to each other. For some reason, this very simple activity had a profound effect on me and it’s been sitting in my mind since we went through it. After thinking about it for quite a while, I want to share what each of his questions were and my responses.

Where are you from?

The first question seemed rather simple, but he said that he didn’t want our answer to be geographic. He wanted us to try to explain our background and where we felt that our personality and the person that we are has come from.

Despite his explanation, my first thought on this question was the physical aspects of home I remember. That did lead me into my first little “sculpture” though. I made what I pictured as rows of crops in a field. To me this presents two answers to the question.
Firstly, I come from farm workers and field hands. As far back as I know, my family has worked fields to grow produce. At one point, the fields they worked were family owned fields that surrounded huge portions of cities. As time went on, my family lost most of its land and that changed entirely. In recent generations, my family has moved around a lot and eventually immigrated to this country to find work. Predictably they ended up working in fields  as it was one of the only things that they had ever done.
The “sculpture” of rows of crops also represents something else to me though. I come from the seed of hope and wanting a new chance at life. The many green fields I see around my home represent new life to me, and in some way I am a part of that. My parents collected their things and came here hoping to find more fertile land than they had to settle in. My siblings and I are the fruit of their labor.

Who are you thankful for?

Again, Mr. I wanted us to think past the obvious. He wanted us to realize that we may not have to like who were thankful for. The main point here was that he wanted us to think about someone who had helped us shape our lives and really be honest about what that person meant to us.

I took this question to heart and decided that the people I am most thankful for in this world are my parents. When I was younger my answer would have definitely been much different because I could never see eye to eye with either of my parents. They were very traditionally Mexican and expected me to grow up with the exact same views as they had. My mother was always caring and tried to let my siblings and I choose for ourselves, but she was also quick to let me know when I was doing things in a way she didn’t approve of. On the other hand, my father was always very clear that we were expected to be like him. I got beat multiple times through my childhood for everything from telling him that I did not want to be very religious to making it clear that I would rather go to school than work with him.
Despite all that, I appreciate with every fiber of my being that my parents worked to the bone for me. I am where I am today because of how they raised me and because of the opportunities they gave me. I know I may not be exactly the son they wanted sometimes, but one of the reasons I work so hard is because I want to make them proud. If I can show them that all their hard work payed off, I can say that I’ve had a good life.

What do you want to unlearn?

This question is slightly more complicated than the others and required accepting that there is something wrong with with the things I know. As it was explained, everyone has biases and knows of stereotypes that they take for granted. Sometimes it may not even be anything as strong as a full out stereotype that is held against a group of people. The way Mr. I explained it, his example was that of growing up with his mother having dinner on the table when his father came home. He realized that he shouldn’t necessarily expect that situation of his spouse.

 

Thinking this question through was very rough for me because I had to admit that there was an issue with what I thought.
To give some back story:  I grew up in a very heavily Hispanic community. My whole life I focused on school because it was the only thing that I thought I was really good at. That led to me being one of the “smart” kids before I came to college. Being “smart” in turn led to me being alienated from people my age because many of them couldn’t even properly speak English. At first I tried to spend my time helping my peers so that I wouldn’t feel like such an outsider, but after failing at that I took to the culture that had raised me to focus on school. I very much considered myself to be American and viewed Hispanics in a very negative light. I thought of most Hispanics as either intellectually lazy or incapable. I hated being considered Mexican and that the color of my skin made me different from the people I wanted to be like. This led to a lot of identity issues for me and just plain hatred of who I was. I was ashamed of my culture, my heritage, and my family.

I want to shed the negative opinions of the culture that raised me. I am who I am because of everything that was around me as a child, a huge part of that being Hispanic culture and people. I don’t want to be ashamed of who I am and feel like a lesser person just because my skin is brown instead of white. I think that a lot of what I’ve learned at college is that accepting people is important, whether they be different because of the color of their skin or their sexuality. All people are different in some way and some be thought of as equals. For me that means that instead of trying to shed my culture, I want to learn more about it and be proud of the fact that I come from a different background than most of the people I know. I want to accept my roots and accept that they have helped to make me into the person I am.

What is one thing that you love about yourself?

This one was kind of straightforward and didn’t really get much more explanation. He just told us that we should be honest with ourselves and admit if there’s something that we really enjoy about the person we are.

 

I think that the thing I love most about myself is that my personality is very fluid and all encompassing. I tend to reach very odd extremes with everything from my personality to my hobbies. I think a big example for me of this is that I am a competitive raider in World of Warcraft and a Varsity swimmer for my college. To a lot of people, doing both of those things just seems incredibly odd. I think that it’s a way to keep my life balanced and centered around all the things that I surrounded myself with. I don’t want to just give up on any part of my life, and I’m glad that I have a personality that fits into all the different things that I enjoy.

A glimpse at a bigger picture

 

Questions for you

Where are you from?
Who are you thankful for?
What would you like to unlearn?
What do you love about yourself?

If anyone would like to give their own responses to these questions, I would love to read them. They don’t have to be as personal as mine either, I’d appreciate any amount of sharing. If anyone would like to build a Culture Sculpture to go with them, I would love to see it.

Regardless of whether you want to answer the questions or not, thank you for taking the time to read this post.  These thoughts have just been floating around in my head for a while, so I’m glad that I was able to share them somehow.

First of all, I want to apologize for not writing anything for the past two weeks. I was traveling from home to school and then went through RA training. It was definitely a fun experience and I’m glad to be back at school, but I had NO free time whatsoever. Days blended into each other and just kind of dragged on… But anyways…

As anyone who has been playing recently is aware, the Pre-MoP expansion dropped on Tuesday. With it came many of the changes that are a part of the Mists of Pandaria expansion such as account wide mounts (which by the way is the coolest thing that has happened in a long time). It also brought on the talent revamps that are a part of MoP and that bring sweeping changes to every class. The changes specific to Holy Paladins for this patch are outlined in my guide, so I’m not going to go into specifics here. I’m going to use this opportunity to talk about my take on the patch and then how it seems to have affected Holy Paladin healing.

General 5.0.4 Thoughts

I personally think that this is one of the best patches that has been released as long as I’ve been playing (Which for reference is late BC). The patch brought with it so many features that I found to be very interesting and fun.

As I stated already, account wide mounts and achievements are two of the best things ever implemented. EVER. I may be extremely biased because I switched mains and had all my fancy mounts and titles on my druid, but I have a lot of friends who feel the same way. It is really just awesome to have my rare mounts and titles available to me across all my characters. My level 20 characters have their choice of fancy mounts instead of running around on their basic racial mounts or Tyrael’s Charger. Consolidated achievements also did a lot for me since I had quite a few scattered achievements on all my characters. I think my druid (who formerly had most of my achievement points) jumped almost 1000 points just from me logging onto all my characters. I know it may not be that big of a deal to people who don’t like to play alts, but this is my favorite change that was brought by the patch.

I think that another huge thing for me was the talent revamp that changed up so many classes drastically. I haven’t had too much of a change to play because of my training, but the time that I have been able to play has been spent exploring all of my alts. Every class that I enjoyed playing seems to have changed

I raided on my druid through H DS on Wednesday and to my surprise was near the top of the damage for most of the fights. Balance has been changed up so much and given quite a few different mechanics that may not have changed general gameplay much, but that gave the class a serious single target damage boost. It was also fun to have some cooldowns to watch on a spec that never really had anything going on except the Eclipse rotation. I also got a chance to  set up my PvP gear and do a chain of BGs. I have to say, the mobility, survivability, and control mechanics that we got are amazing. I can literally kite any melee class until I can kill them off. It’s feels great to not have to sit and cast at someone to get into Eclipse as well. In general I’m going to say Balance is a success after this patch.

I’ve played through a few of my other characters, but since those are still leveling their way up to cap I don’t think there’s anything too important to say there. Warlocks and Hunters are definitely fun and play well at lower levels. I think that Priests area also very interesting, but I was mostly healing 5 mans so I didn’t get a decent look at questing on that character.

Holy Paladin Healing in 5.0.4

On Thursday I got the chance to get into H DS and heal through it. Before raid I went through and switched my gearing to try to get as much Spirit as possible. This meant gemming Ember for my Meta gem, straight Spirit in Prismatic and Blue sockets, Int/Spirit in Red sockets and Int/Mastery in Yellow sockets (to keep socket bonuses and Meta active). I also already ran with Heartsong, so I kept that the same. As far as trinkets go, I was running with Heart of the Unliving and the Jaws of Defeat for the sake of regen. I ended up using a feast (Int) and and Int flask because I forgot to get the Spirit versions of each before raid. With all this added up, in combat my regen was just about 5.2k mana per 5.

My spec changed a lot throughout the night. I ran with Speed of Light, Unbreakable Spirit, and Fist of Justice all night, but I switch around a lot for the other tiers. I tried to give SS/EF and HA/SW/DP each a decent amount of testing time to see how they worked for me. I will discuss in a bit how exactly I felt about each of them. As for my glyphs, I ran with Flash of Light, Divinity, and Light of Dawn on most fights. I did switch in Beacon of Light for Spine, but other than that I kept those three Glyphs the entire raid.

As for the raid, I think I should state what our plan for the night was as it sets some perspective. Our healers were myself and Fumsy (a Resto Druid), and our tanks were a Guardian Druid and a Protection Paladin. We two healed every fight except for Spine, which we also used a Discipline Priest for. We ran the raid on Heroic mode with the 35% debuff active.

Morchok: The fight seemed to be just about the same as it had been. Fumsy and I each healed a side with 5 people per side. We each had to soak shards, so there was a bit of running around. I found it a little hard to keep up at the beginning, but once I got a hang of healing the instance with my new abilities I had no issue keeping my side up. I felt like I could have done a better job with cooldowns here, but I was a little overwhelmed by new abilities and a new UI to really keep up with cooldowns that I really didn’t need.

Yorsaj: Also worked out just as it always had. During Purple phases Fumsy and I would each take a group to avoid stacking the debuff unnecessarily and my Beacon heals kept up the tank without me having to actually toss her a direct heal. I definitely loved using the my new cooldowns during the non-Purple phases on this fight. Holy Avenger’s burst healing is insane for AoE and when used with Jaws didn’t burn much mana at all. I also enjoyed trying to weave HRs between my DLs during GoAK. That mechanic is definitely one of the more interesting additions to our toolbox.

Zonozz: This fight was a little more difficult than I remember. Our strategy was to have two groups, a ranged and a melee group, to bounce the orb. Damage ramped up rather quickly here and I found myself having to pop cooldowns before Black phase to heal through the tank damage. It was a little surprising, but Black phases seemed to actually be easier than they were before. That may have just been due to our dps killing all the adds very quickly, but for the two Black phases I popped cooldowns out of habit and not really necessity.

Hagara: I was a bit surprised by this fight. I actually let the tank die when Fumsy was in an Ice tomb. The Focused Assault mechanic was doing more damage than I remember, so I was really surprised when it hit the tank so damn hard. Other than that it felt just like it usually does. We stacked in the center for Frost, and with a cooldown the damage was very manageable. I popped my Devotion Aura for Lightning Phase and that damage didn’t seem to bad either. The thing I do remember here is that I was specced into DP for this fight and felt a little underwhelmed by its procs. It procced very rarely for me, although when it did proc I seemed to get strings of procs all at once.

Ultraxion: We two healed so that fight felt a lot easier than it used to be. Between Fumsy and myself there wasn’t any difficulty in healing through the damage that was going out. We also managed to kill it before the Blue buff came out though, so that may contribute to the damage feeling so light. This fight definitely made me realize that I can’t spam HR anymore though. It made me HR>HS for a majority of the AoE ticks so that I didn’t feel strained on mana. Again, DP seemed to proc very poorly on this fight. It seems very unrealiable to me and I don’t like how it seems to happen in strings and not spread out over a fight.

Blackhorn: This fight also posed more of a challenge than I expected. The first phase wasn’t too bad as far as damage went, and it gave me a very good opportunity to make use of Fist of Justice. At times the fire got very out of hand, but the damage felt very limited even when it did. The second phase of the fight is what really ramped up the damage output. We didn’t have very many cooldowns that could help mitigate the Shout damage for the raid, and to me it seemed like the tanks were getting hit much worse than they ever did before. On this fight I also went back to Holy Avenger and the burst that it provided was amazing after Gariona’s attacks.

 

All in all I feel like Holy Paladins are in a very good place. My mana felt a little strained, but I was able to make it through every fight without going OOM. I also feel like all of our abilities have a place in our toolbox and a definite place that they can be used. I personally feel that we have a bright future ahead of us come MoP and all the opportunities that it will provide to test our class.

I know I’m a little late to talk about this, but I think it’s a really big issue and I want to share my thoughts on the topic.

For anyone who may not know this yet, Mists of Pandaria will be released with no raids available. The first raid, Mogu’shan Vaults, will open up the second week of the expansion. The other two raids included in Tier 14 will be opening up four weeks later.

This has been a hot topic of discussion for the past few weeks among anyone interested in raiding. Some see it as Blizzard imposing gating once more as it did in ICC, while others see it as Blizzard telling raiders that it’s okay to take the leveling process slowly.

What this means

Without trying to add any of my thoughts to this, it simply means that there won’t be as much of a rush to hit level  cap for those interested in getting into raids. Where in past expansion raiders had to race to level cap, then grind 5-Man dungeons for gear as fast as possible, all of those players now have a week to do all of that. It will still be a little rushed, especially for anyone who wants to have as much gear as possible for the first raid lockout, but it definitely helps all of the players interested in raiding.

To any raider who plays casually but is interested in the progression race, this is an amazing thing for Blizzard to do. Not all raiders interested in the progression race have the ability to play constantly on release. Since the expansion is coming in mid September, most people will be working or back in school. Most people also don’t have the ability to take a vacation from work for the sake of the game. These are all the people that will gain from this change.

Blizzard Imposing Limitations

As with any big change that Blizzard makes, many people have come out as very opposed to this change. A lot of people are saying that Blizzard is artificially controlling progression. The last time that something like this was done was with ICC where Blizzard released bosses by wings, only releasing a set of 3 or four bosses at a time. To make that worse, they also added in limited attempts for every raid lockout to slow down progression even further. This was a very poor way of slowing down progression and ended up being more of a headache for the top guilds, because they went as far as having a raid of alts to practice content with before attempting it on their mains.

Blizzard may have been seeking to make the content longer lived because it would be the main content for so long, but most of the top end raiders felt there were lulls with the gating when they could have been working on later wings. They wanted to, and were able to continue progressing, but were forced to sit on their hands while bosses that were ready were left in the waiting.

This is far from what was done then though.

The Pros 


First of all, this seems to be more aimed at the people who cannot play as much yet want to raid. It evens the playing ground for the progression race so that most people will start at the same time. The first tier of past expansions has included to races. The first was the race to max level and to get the best gear that was possible right out of the gate. As soon as a guild could get a raid together, the next step would be to get into raids as quickly as possible. Raiders in the more “hardcore” progression guilds almost had to take breaks from their real lives to be able to stay competitive at the beginning of an expansion.

I think the second big pro to the gating that is going to happen is that the instances are going to be released separately. In total, counting Heroic modes, there are over 30 bosses in Tier 14. I think that trying to tackle all of that at once would lead to many raiders getting burnt out. Without the staggered releases, raiders would have had to max level cap, max reputations, raid LFR, and max Valor weekly all while raiding through three instances ever single week. With this staggering, it cuts down the entry to the tier dramatically, and it also makes it so that at some point the progression oriented raiders can cut Mogu’Shan Vaults entirely from their schedule.

I personally think that this change is amazing and appreciate that Blizzard is leveling the raiding race. I will still be playing a lot at release, but I wont feel forced into doing quite as much right from the get go.

I’d like to ask what others think about the staggered raids. Do you think this is a good change for the raiding scene? Or is Blizzard once again imposing limits on its player base?