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Category Archives: Player vs Player

Twinkin’ Ain’t Easy

..N’aw, but it sure is fun.

Making a twink, a true twink, is a time investment just like any other project that you set out to achieve in WoW. Sometimes the time investment is small, especially at lower levels, but sometimes it’s a very long and sometimes even hard process. Just like farming for raid drops or doing arenas for PvP gear, you never know what kind of surprise obstacles or opponents you might have to face and RNG follows its own desires, bowing to no one.

My twinking bracket of choice has been level 19 from the first time I was introduced to the concept of twinking and non-world PvP in general. With the (fairly) recent addition of Free to Play accounts and the level 20 twinks that spawn from them as well as the changes to the PvP brackets to be split into 5-level spans rather than 10, I’ve found that I actually enjoy the 20-24 bracket even more than I do the 19.

Today I wanted to give you a quick glimpse at the 24 twinks that I’ve been working on this past week and also to talk about some of the challenges that you’ll face in this particular bracket.

Securitygard, 24 Paladin

Current Stats
Spec: Protection
Health: 2063 (no buffs)
Mana: 920 (no buffs)
Prof 1: Mining 225
Prof 2: Skinning 73

Securitygard is currently my “main twink”, the one I’m enjoying the most and have done the most farming with to obtain his gear. In that screenshot he’s actually wearing his LFG gear, but a lot of the pieces are shared among the seven gear sets that he currently has.

I initially wanted him to be Holy, but something didn’t quite feel right so I took him down the Protection tree instead. I’m currently working on a more heavily strength-based set of gear for him right now so that I can try him out as Retribution as well, but I’m definitely satisfied with the performance of Prot at the moment.

I’m pretty satisfied with the majority of his gear, except for the rings. Gnomer runs haven’t been all that kind to him in the ring department thus far. I really hate the look of those green boots, so I’m looking forward to transmogrifying those away. With the exception of those Gnomer rings, the only thing that was hard about farming his gear was finding out where all the quests linked together in Duskwood to be able to open the quests that I needed for my gear.

The major challenges he’s facing right now include: AGM trinket farming to replace Rune of Duty, and continued Gnomer farming for rings (2x Charged Gear of the Bear, +7 Stam, +6 Str).

Bubblebooty, 24 Priest

Current Stats
Spec: Holy
Health: 1673
Mana: 2795
Prof 1: Mine 225
Prof 2: Skin 225

Bubble was actually my first 24 Twink, which is why she’s also the only one with maxed professions. I have farmed a good portion of her gear, but not all of it. I have been very impressed with her BG performance since I made the switch from Discipline to Holy. Discipline is a very powerful spec early on because of the stat scaling with the strength of Power Word: Shield and the relatively low burst damage classes are capable of, and Penance is a very versatile spell (not to mention one of the coolest looking/sounding animations in the game). However, Holy brings significantly stronger healing via talent points, a chance to proc free and instant Flash of Light casts, a 2 minute cooldown that instantly restores 30% of your health, and Holy Word: Chastise which is an instant cast that both deals damage and interrupts the target.

Gear is actually one of her biggest issues because deciding on which pieces are the best isn’t as clear cut as most of the other classes. There’s a pretty good balance in the available gear, which makes it hard to decided whether you want +2 Stam versus +1 Intellect versus +5 Crit, and so on.

She’s had the same rotten luck in Gnomer that Securitygard has in regards to the Charged Gear rings. I would really like to get her a pair of the +6 Intellect, +7 Stamina rings out of there eventually. She’s also in line for the AGM trinket, which unfortunately has a lot of competition on Durotan.

Cowchpotato, 24 Shaman

Current Stats
Spec: Resto
Health: 1543
Mana: 2115
Prof 1: Herbalism 59
Prof 2: Engineering 225

Cowchpotato is my most recent project, who I was prompted to level after seeing another Tauren Shaman in action. I really like the male Tauren’s casting animations for some odd reason, so I bumped him up the chain ahead of Gutlikefish (Blood Elf Rogue). I’m still undecided right now whether I want to leave him as Resto or if I might be better off going with a DPS spec. I really like Resto, but at the same time it just feels like it moves too slow and is too weak in comparison to my other twinks. I’m going to give Elemental a shot next, and then I might see how mean I can make a two-handed Enhancement since I don’t have decent weapons for him to dual wield.

Gear is once again a major concern, only this time there’s a twist – enchants. Cowch is on a different server, which means that I don’t have access to all of the enchants that I spent so long farming and buying on Durotan. I do have an enchanter there, and I have been farming for recipes on him as well, but I’m missing some pretty key enchants there. I also don’t have access to more than just a handful of heirlooms, as you can see from the fact that I’m wearing a cloth robe instead of a leather/mail piece. I hate wearing off-suit gear when I know there’s an equal or better option available. I’m farming honor for that on my 85 Druid, but I’m taking my time so I don’t get burned out on farming.

The gear itself has been an issue for him too. Some of the items that I researched as being his best gear is listed in Wowhead as being available in the current patch, but I just cannot figure out where their chains start. I read up on all of the comments and did everything I found in there, but I still can’t find the start for either his belt of his gloves.

Gnomeregan – City of Random Loot
If you’re at all interested in twining in the 20-24 bracket, then Gnomer is one place you definitely want to keep an eye on. You F2P people out there don’t have to worry about it since all of the boss drops require at least level 24. For the rest of you, Gnomer is where it’s at. Here you’ll find gear with some of the highest attribute totals, highest bonuses to secondary attributes, and some of the best On Use and proc abilities available in this bracket.

Most of the blue drops from Gnomer do have set attributes, and most of the more highly sought after drops here have a decent drop rate. However, some of the best gear from Gnomer are blues with random enchants, and one of those only drops from a rare spawn.

Random Enchants
Charged Gear Ring
Emissary Cuffs Bracers

The Charged Gear will be the most commonly farmed item here as most twinks are looking to get their hands on a pair of them. This ring always has +4 Arcane and Nature Resistances on it, and then the random enchant which can be anything from +10 to a single stat, to +6-7 to two stats, to +12 Dodge. Most players will look for balanced rings that give 6-7 Stamina and their primary attribute, though some classes (Rogues, Hunters, Mages) tend to lean towards +10 to their primary attribute.

The Emissary Cuffs are the leather gauntlets of choice for any class wearing them. These bracers always have 5 Arcane Resistance, plus their random enchant. The enchants available are basically the same as the Charged Gear, except that all of the values have been reduced by 1. Again, the “norm” is to look for a balanced enchant that offers +5-6 to Stamina and your primary attribute, with some exceptions made for those looking to max out their attack stat and/or their crit chance. Note that when you look at this item on Wowhead, it will only have two enchants listed by the item, but you can find the real list of available enchants in the comments section.

Bracket Challenges for 20-24
There are a few new challenges that you’re going to face in the 20-24 bracket that you’re probably not used to if you’ve been running 19′s.

Interrupts is first on the list, because there are a lot of classes that have them now. If you’re a caster, prepare to be interrupted. A lot. Rogues and Shamans are the most common source of this followed by Mages (who’ll also Silence you) and Feral Druids, but you’ll also get it from several other classes in the form of crowd control.

Which brings us to number two, Crowd Control. Rogues gain a slow (Crippling Poison), Shamans gain a slow (Frost Shock), and Warlocks get a charm (Succubus) and a talented AoE stun for Destro locks (Rain of Fire).

Increased Health Pools is both good and bad. You’ll see average health pools of about 1,000 (give or take 200) in this bracket from all of the F2P accounts, about 1,500 from your average partial-twink or glass cannon build, and 2,000-3,000 from full twinks and those built around survival. If you’re a damage dealing class/spec that doesn’t have a whole lot of burst to your name then this can pose a real problem for you.

Premades are another real threat in this bracket. Because of the new focus on F2P twinks, people have started making level 24 Twink guilds to combat them. There’s a bit of a spike of these twink guilds right now with the popularity of F2P, but there’s a good chance it will die down over time. I’m not saying premades are common in this bracket, only that they’re more common here right now than in 19′s.

Carrying On
I’ll continue to farm the items I need and the professions I’ve been slacking on for the three twinks that I mentioned here. I’m going to play around with the spec for a couple of them as well, just to make sure I’m playing the one that I enjoy the most for each of them. I’ll probably have updates of some kind to share with you as I go along as well.

I have one more twink that I know for sure I’m going to roll, though I haven’t decided on the class just yet. I want to go with either a Rogue, Hunter, or Feral Druid. I’m leaning mostly towards the Rogue, but both of the other two are appealing as well. What do you think? Rogue, Hunter, or Feral?

[Edit: Removed Skull Bash from the CC list, added it to the Interrupts list.]

 
6 Comments

Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Player vs Player

 

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Heirloom Farming Methods

[Update 09/17/13: Conversion rates between Honor and Justice Points has been increased from 375>250 to 500>250, causing a significant increase in the amount of farming required.]

Heads Up – F2P Heirloom Guides Coming Soon
During the past couple of weeks I’ve had a lot of increased traffic on my heirlooms guides, and I’ve had more contact from readers than I have for quite a while. With F2P twinking on a rise right now a lot of people are wondering why I haven’t bothered to cover the PvP heirlooms in my guides. In short, I have.

PvP heirlooms, in general, are not as powerful as PvE heirlooms. PvP heirlooms are defined as those that grant a bonus to Resilience, while PvE heirlooms are those that do not. PvP Heirlooms don’t often show up in my guides because they aren’t as good as PvE heirlooms and if I’m going to write a guide then I’m going to do it with optimization in mind.

However, for the sake of all those F2P players, there will be an heirloom guide soon that’s directed specifically at you and how to go about farming heirlooms for each class taking into account the amount of time it takes to farm Honor and the relative value of PvE pieces versus PvP pieces.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog post…
There are multiple ways to farm heirlooms in the game right now, some of which are faster than others. Prior to Blizzard making the change that now allows us to convert Justice Points to Honor and vice versa, some of the heirlooms were theoretically out of reach for players that did not take part in the activities that rewarded the type of currency used for the different heirlooms. Thanks to that change though, the heirlooms can be purchased by players who enjoy any combination of questing, PvP, and PvE.

Today we’re going to take a look at the possible farming methods and how quickly you can farm certain heirlooms. First I’ll explain the various farming methods, and then I’ll give my opinion on which methods of farming I suggest for different types of players.

Methods of Farming

Farming Justice Points (JP)
Cataclysm Instances: 140 per dungeon, 7 per week = 980 JP/wk
Cataclysm Heroics: 70 per boss (varies by dungeon)
Weekly Wrath Raid Quest: 138 JP
Honor Conversion: 375 Honor = 250 JP 500 Honor = 250 JP, no limit
To see a full list of the ways to farm JP, see Wowhead’s listing of Justice Points (JP).

Heirloom Costs: Armor 2,175, Shoulders 2,175, Weapons 2,175-3,500, Trinkets 2,725

I mentioned this type of farming first because the Justice Points are the currency for the majority of the heirlooms available, and because between the JP and Honor heirlooms, JP are almost always the better choice.

Easy Farming: As far as easy farming goes, running the seven random Cataclysm dungeons each week is the “easiest” way to farm JP. The few times that I have farmed dungeons for JP, it took me 1-2 evenings worth of LFG to finish all seven. You never know, even in normal dungeons, how good or bad the rest of the team will be in LFG, and you may or may not be able to talk guild members into doing this farm with you to speed it up. [Update: As I am no longer actively playing WoW, I don't know what the easiest way to farm straight JP is right now.]

Fast Farming: The fastest way to farm JP, that I know of, is to actually farm Honor instead and then convert it to JP. A few months couple of years ago Cynwise wrote a post called The Carrot and the Stick which talks about this a bit. Because of how much of each currency you earn in relation to the activities that grant them, you can earn Honor at a significantly faster rate than you can earn JP, making the conversion rate of Honor -> JP faster than farming JP itself. In the time it takes me to farm seven dungeons for just 980 JP, I can farm roughly two whole heirlooms worth of Honor.

Heroic Farming: While most people farm Heroics for extra Valor Points, each heroic boss does reward JP as well. How much JP you get per dungeon depends on how many bosses the dungeon has to offer. Do you want to run dungeons that have seven bosses for more JP/dungeon, or do you want to run dungeons with only 3-4 bosses for more JP/hour? How much time you have to run them is the real deciding factor. If you’re farming Heroics anyway, you might as well get some heirloom profit out of the deal too.

Farming Honor Points
Heirloom Costs: Armor 2,175, Shoulders 2,175, Weapons 2,175-3,500, Trinkets 2,725

The PvP Heirlooms that originally appeared in Wintergrasp are purchased with Honor. In most cases, the PvP heirlooms are not as powerful as the PvE heirlooms. They can be better for PvP at some levels because they all offer Resilience, but they gain that stat at the expense of other stats so in most cases you get better heirlooms from JP than you do from Honor.

The great thing about Honor is that it can be farmed on any toon from level 10 on, which is especially important for free account players since they don’t have access to a character that can farm JP. It’s also good for people on new accounts who like to do PvP while they level since they can buy heirlooms even without having high level characters.

The most efficient way to farm honor is to do so on a high level character because the higher your level (and your opponent’s level) the more Honor you receive, and the higher your level the higher the Honor rewards are from completing battleground tasks such as capturing flags/nodes or destroying towers/gates/NPC Leaders. But, just because you get more honor at high levels than you do at low doesn’t mean you can’t farm for heirlooms on low level toons.

Honor Farming Without PvP: There are two ways you can farm Honor without doing any actual PvP. First is the Wintergrasp daily quests which each reward 24 Honor. The only quests there that require some form of PvP are the ones that want you to destroy enemy siege vehicles or to protect your own siege vehicles, all others can be done with no PvP at all (you can kill NPC’s for the one that asks for 10 kills). Winning Wintergrasp gives you Honor as well, and since Cataclysm I have not seen more than 8 people in WG at one time, making the battles extremely fast and easy. Losing Wintergrasp should give you honor as well, but I honestly haven’t lost in Wintergrasp since Cataclsym so I have no idea how much it is.

If you control Wintergrasp then you can take advantage of the second type of PvP’less Honor farming, which is Northrend dungeons. While your faction controls WG, all Northrend dungeon bosses reward Honor in addition to their normal rewards. During Wrath you got Stonekeeper Shards for killing the bosses while in control of WG, but with the currency consolidation of Cataclysm those shards were converted to Honor.

Thirdly we have Northrend’s PvP Daily Quests in areas such as Grizzly Hills’ Venture Bay. You will get flagged for PvP while you do some of these quests, so it’s possible that you’re opening yourself up to being ganked by passers by, but in my experience most of Northrend is pretty well dead right now and you shouldn’t have a problem. This honor grind isn’t especially fast, but it is a way to farm honor and gold at the same time, and one of these quests in particular is infinitely repeatable for 9 honor each time. It’s the quest that makes you pick up a small container of something that causes you to move incredibly slow while carrying it, so it does get very boring but at least it’s possible.

Fast Farming: If you want Honor fast there are a few options. Tol Barad is first on the list because it gives high amounts of honor regardless of win or loose, it’s typically finished quickly, and so many people are killed in such short bursts of time that Honor adds up fairly quick. Second is the Call to Arms (CtA) and/or Random BG queues. Call to Arms is most beneficial when it’s applied to battlegrounds that are already known for high honor rewards such as Alterac Valley (AV), Strand of the Ancients (SotA), and Isle of the Crusader (IoC). Call to Arms happens every weekend, while during the week your only option for bonus Honor is Random BG queues. [Update: TB is still a decent source of Honor, but now almost nobody actually goes there so it does take time and you'll often end up there alone and you may be the only person there the whole time or you might find yourself up against a group of 4-5 people with the same idea and you get slaughtered. Still a decent source of honor considering time investment, but it's not exactly fun these days.]

Wintergrasp is still a fairly decent place to farm up some quick Honor by doing the quests and scoring a victory. It’s an easy place to score a quick 200 or so Honor.

Farming Champion’s Seals
Seals/Day from Daily Quests: 14
Seals/Day from Heroic ToC: 3
Heirloom Costs: Armor 60, Shoulders 60, Weapons 60-95, Trinkets 75

The heirlooms that you purchase with Champion’s Seals are the same that you purchase with Justice Points.

In order to farm Champion Seals you need to have completed the full quest line in the Argent Tournament located in Icecrown. Once you’ve opened all of the quest lines you need to select the Champion’s Purse as your reward for all of the daily quests as each one rewards a single Champion’s Seal. You’ll also get another three from doing a full clear of Heroic ToC each day.

You can easily get 14 Seals per day solo, and may or may not need help clearing H-ToC. If you just do the daily quests then you can earn a new heirloom piece every 5-6 days. It’s a slow process compared to the other types of heirloom farming, but it does offer other side benefits such as earning gold and racial faction reputation, and extra Seals can go towards purchasing pets and mounts.

If you’re not in a hurry to farm heirlooms with this method, then just doing the daily quests and skipping the Heroic ToC clears. Doing this will add 1-3 days of farming per heirloom. I haven’t tried to solo H-ToC, so I don’t know how easy or hard it might be. With level 85 characters I suspect that it will be fairly easy to two-man the heroic version.

Farming Guild Reputation
Available Heirlooms: Cloaks and Helms
Heirloom Cost: 1,200g (Cloaks), 1,350g (Helms)

This grind is a different type of grind. Rather than earning rewards that you use to purchase the heirlooms this grind rewards you with the ability to purchase them in the first place. Both of these types of heirlooms are purchased with gold, and both require you to be Honored with your guild. Your guild itself must also be level 10 to unlock the Cloaks for purchase, and level 20 to unlock the Helms.

This is the only way to get access to heirloom cloaks and helms, and I suspect that Blizzard will keep it that way.

For some people 1,200g is nothing at all, while for others it really can be quite a grind. When you look at purchasing all of the different helms and cloaks available those numbers can really add up quick as well. There are a lot of different ways to earn gold in WoW, and I’m not about to go into details on the various ways. If you want easy gold farming, do your daily quests at level 85. If you want a bit more work, start playing the auction house. If that’s not enough, start playing the auction house while maximizing your characters professions and flipping potentially lucrative items.

Farming Fish
Required Fishing Skill: 1+

There’s only one fish farming heirloom, but it’s also the only way to obtain this heirloom and the only one of its kind as of the current patch (4.2).

The Dread Pirate Ring requires you to win the Kalu’ak Fishing Derby which takes place every Saturday at 2 PM server time, lasting for 1 hour or until someone claims the prize. In order to win you must be the first person to catch and return the Blacktip Shark to the quest giver. You can catch the shark in any Northrend fishing pool, and there is no specific rank of fishing required in order to catch it. If you decide to farm for this heirloom, be aware that this tournament typically lasts for less than 10 minutes.

If you’re serious about farming for this ring, I suggest you do a little research before hand. If you would like to know how to best go about winning this tournament, I direct you to the master fishermen of El’s Extreme Anglin’.

Farming Suggestions

In this section I want to address you, the reader, to help you decide what kind of farming might be best suited to your particular playstyle.

Raiders
If you classify yourself primarily as a raider, then you’re likely in the habit of running heroic dungeons, and you probably hit the JP cap regularly. If this is the case, then farming for heirlooms is part of your normal activities (as you likely are already aware). In addition to your regular Heroic runs though, try to add in the seven Normal dungeon runs each week as well. As a raider you likely have gear that far outclasses the normal dungeons, which should make running them significantly faster (especially if you have a full group of raiders running them).

If you’re in a guild where the players who raid are set and you’re already geared far beyond heroics and JP purchases, then your next best option is most likely PvP. If you’re already fully geared beyond the usefulness of heroics then you’re probably sick of seeing the dungeons and can’t stand the thought of farming them anyway and PvP could provide a nice change of scenery for you.

Also keep in mind that the Honor -> JP conversion doesn’t have to wait until you have an entire heirloom’s worth of Honor. If you have 2,000 JP and you’re trying to buy an heirloom that costs 2,175 then the fastest way for you to get those extra points is probably going to be a quick trip to Tol Barad which should get you more than enough Honor for a single conversion that will give you another 250 JP to get that purchase. Mixing and matching activities like this doesn’t hold you back in farming for heirlooms. Just keep an eye on how much you need versus how easy it is to obtain more and what you have the time to do.

Some raiders like to enjoy their downtime away from the raid and take it easy. For you I suggest the Argent Tournament farming of Champion’s Seals. There’s a good chance that those of you who fall into this category have already farmed this area for every mount and pet it has to offer, but it’s still a legitimate method of heirloom farming if you’re still looking for heirlooms.

PvP Haters
People who can’t stand PvP, like my wife, will most likely stick to farming Heroic dungeons and/or the seven weekly normal dungeons for their Justice Points. Since you’re not going to participate in PvP, the next best option to dungeons is going to be the Argent Tournament.

If you fall into this category, refer to the Raider category directly above. You’ll follow that same advice, minus the PvP portion. Since you’re not into PvP, you have little reason to bother with even looking at the PvP heirlooms. However, there are still three items that the PvP vendors offer that don’t have an equivalent item from the PvE vendors: Battleworn Thrash Blade (procs extra, free attacks), Pristine Lightforge Spaulders (plate caster shoulders), and Inherited Insignia of the Horde/Alliance (PvP trinket with Resilience).

Of those three items, the one you’re most likely going to be interested in is the Pristine Lightforge Spaulders as they are the only piece of plate-caster heirloom armor in the game. You may or may not be concerned about the Thrash Blade, it’s a good weapon if you like to use enchants that proc, but even then it’s outclassed by most of the JP heirlooms regardless. Very few of you will be interested in the Insignia as it’s a PvP trinket and very little PvE content has enough crowd control for you to concern yourself with having it.

PvP Lovers
If you’re into PvP, then you’re already on the fast track for heirloom collecting. Arenas aren’t going to help you with heirlooms unless the season is about to restart. Arenas award Conquest Points which cannot be used to purchase heirlooms. Non-Rated Battlegrounds are the primary source of Honor points, and that’s what you need for heirlooms.

Most Honor heirlooms are overall weaker than the Justice Point heirlooms. While most of the stats will be either the same or very close to one another, the Honor heirlooms replace one or more attributes from the JP versions with a bonus to Resilience (a PvP stat for those that aren’t aware). That’s why PvE heirlooms are usually more powerful than their PvP counterparts, because Resilience isn’t always useful (especially in PvE where it’s almost worthless).

If you’re going to farm for the PvE heirloom via PvP activities, you’ll have to convert your Honor into Justice Points to buy them. It costs 375 Honor to purchase 250 Justice Points, so you’re taking a 33% loss during the conversion. That’s a pretty hefty conversion fee, but you can still farm Honor more than 33% faster than you can farm JP, so you’re still ahead in terms of time investment.

Most heirlooms have a similar item on the other side of the PvP/PvE fence, but not all of them. A couple of the items that are PvP only are: Battleworn Thrash Blade (procs extra, free attacks), Pristine Lightforge Spaulders (plate caster shoulders), and Inherited Insignia of the Horde/Alliance (PvP trinket with Resilience). For those three items you need to farm Honor instead of JP, so if you want those then you’re already on the right side of that fence and don’t need to bother with a conversion fee.

You should also consider running at least some of the seven weekly dungeon runs that award Justice Points. Most of these can be done in a reasonable amount of time and doing a couple of them back to back should give you a BG or two worth of JP after conversion. If you can’t stand LFG and you don’t have guildmates that want to run normals, then by all means forget about these and stick to PvP.

Solo Gamers, Questers, and Altoholics
If you fall into this category then there’s no clear cut path that you’re going to follow by definition of this classification. If you like PvP at all, then PvP is your fastest source of heirlooms with the assumption that you don’t mind doing quite a bit of PvP. If you’re the type that likes to dip their toes into a bit of everything then you’re actually in a pretty good spot for heirloom farming because you can get all of the different types of currency and use them as needed.

While doing straight PvP farming is faster than doing straight PvE farming, the fastest method possible is to actually combine the two methods by taking advantage of all of the options that grant large amounts of JP and Honor. Take advantage of Tol Barad when you see it up. If you don’t like PvP much, try to stick to the large groups and assist the other people rather than running off and doing your own thing. You can also help in TB by driving the siege vehicles to the towers if you’re on offense or going to destroy those siege vehicles if you’re on defense. Take advantage of Wintergrasp as well, as participation is usually very low which means victory is often easy, and the quests there are very quick and easy to do for extra Honor.

Whether or not you participate in the Argent Tournament is up to you. Since these types of players are more likely to spend time on multiple characters, you may or may not feel that a third form of farming is worth your time. JP and Honor can both be mixed and matched as needed because of the conversion, where Seals are Seals are Seals, end of story. On the other hand, doing these dailies on multiple characters every day means you can get basically one heirloom every week per character. So if you have three characters that will farm all of the quests, then you’ll be able to buy roughly three heirlooms every week. It might not be as effective at mass farming as PvP or dungeon runs, but it’s also less time intensive and can be done here and there as you have time as opposed to long stretches dedicated to dungeons or BG’s.

Trial Accounts
Your only option for getting heirlooms is to farm Honor in battlegrounds. F2P accounts that participate in PvP are twinks even if they don’t want to be twinks because those accounts are forced into the 20-24 twink bracket. Farming Honor can be a real struggle for you, especially if you’re only getting WSG queues and have problems with capturing flags.

Warsong Gulch is the single-worst battleground in the entire game for honor rewards, and farming kills by camping the graveyard does almost nothing to counter this fact. If you are on a trial account and are specifically farming honor to get heirlooms queue for Arathi Basin. Do everything in your power to get the gold together to buy your mount, and then go to AB.

When the time comes to decide whether you want PvE heirlooms or PvP heirlooms, there are a couple of things to consider. First there are some PvP pieces that while lacking secondary stats do have higher +Stamina values which might be appealing to you. Second is that PvE heirlooms cost significantly more than PvP heirlooms because of the 33% conversion fee. To give you an idea, take a look at the comparison below of Honor values between both types of heirlooms.

Honor Values
PvP Heirlooms: Armor 2,175, Shoulders 2,175, Weapons 2,175-3,500, Trinkets 2,725
PvE Heirlooms: Armor 3,375, Shoulders 3,375, Weapons 3,375-5,250, Trinkets 4,125

As you can see, once the conversion is taken into account, that’s a lot of honor farming on a character who might average anywhere from 30-150 honor per game. Also, keep in mind that if you are going to do the JP conversion, there’s still an Honor cap of 4,000 so if you get anywhere close to that number you need to start converting to JP so that you don’t end up losing honor from already being capped. Only the cheapest JP heirlooms can be purchased with a small enough amount of honor that you won’t break the Honor cap.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 28, 2011 in Caster, Guide, Leveling, Melee, Play Styles, Player vs Player

 

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Trial Account Twinking: Professions

[EDIT: There seems to be some confusion as to whether or not you're forced into the exp-locked bracket when you hit level 20. Once we have a definitive answer on that I'll update the post to reflect it.]

[EDIT: Alright, we're fairly certain now that the 20's actually are in the real twink bracket which means that you're going to face off against other twinks up to level 24 who have access to better gear and better enchants that you. Do you have what it takes to face potentially superior opponents?]

[EDIT: Definitely twink bracket.]

The newest thing in low level Warcraft twinking right now is Trial Accounts. Meaning that you use a free account that is locked, by design, at level 20 in order to twink a character in the level 20-24 PvP bracket. These accounts have a great number of restrictions placed on them which makes it both harder and easier to gear your toon in the best gear available to them.

We’ll take a quick look at how the trial account works and then jump into professions.

Account Restrictions
There are a lot of restrictions on trial accounts that limit what you can do and how you can do it. Some of them work in our favor (like the cap of level 20) while others make twinking particularly hard (like limiting professions and trade restrictions). From the TwinkInfo Forums:

  • A level cap of 20.
  • A maximum of 10 gold.
  • Trade skills are capped at 100 ranks.
  • Unable to trade via the Auction House, mailbox, or player-to-player.
  • In-game access to public chat channels unavailable. Players are limited to communicating using only say, party, or whisper.
  • Characters will be unable to create or join guilds.
  • Characters are not able to send whispers to other characters unless they have been added to the characters’ friends lists or have received a whisper from a character first.
  • Characters will not be able to invite other players into a party.
  • Characters will not be able to join parties with other characters above level 20.
  • Voice chat disabled on Starter Edition accounts.
  • Realms experiencing login queues will prioritize players who have full, paid accounts.
  • Starter Edition accounts are not eligible for character transfers
  • RealID features are disabled on all Starter Edition Accounts.

The ones that are especially important are the ones in bold.

The Level Cap is the most important here because it defines what you’re doing. You’re capped at level 20 which means you’ll never go over that bracket, which also means you don’t have to turn your experience off in-game which will allow you to twink in the non-locked brackets with non-twinks which removes the biggest penalty you would have otherwise faced as a level 20 twink.

Trade Skills is a big hit, especially when combined with No Trading, which means if you want to take advantage of enchants (and every twink does) then you’ll have to make those enchants yourself, and you’ll have to do it with a restricted professions list. That list of available recipes is what this post is really aimed at, which I’ll get into momentarily.

Being restricted to No Guilds can be kind of tough, but it’s only real drawback in relation to twinking is that you will not have access to the BoA helms and cloaks (not that you could buy them anyway with the 10g cap on money), and that you don’t get any other guild perks such as increased honor gains which would make farming your gear a bit faster.

If you’d like to learn more about the trial account twinking in general, I’ll point you to Cynwise’s guide: A Guide to Trial Account Twinking.

Profession Offerings
Most of the professions offer you at least something, including the secondary trade skills. What they offer, and how important those offerings are, is what you’ll need to look at in order to determine whether or not they would be at all worth while on your free-to-play (F2P) twink.

Remember that with a F2P account you can only increase your professions to rank 100. If you have a racial bonus, those will allow you to go beyond the cap just like they do in the live version which does open up a few other options in some cases. The F2P accounts allow Burning Crusade races (Blood Elf and Draenei), but not the Cataclysm races (Goblin and Worgen), so not all of the racial bonuses to professions are available to you.

Alchemy
Alchemy offers a decent list of elixirs to increase your stats. Alchemy can take up a large quantity of materials, so you would want to either build up a very strong stash or keep it as one of your professions throughout your twinking career so that you could replenish your supply as needed.

Goblins have a racial bonus to Alchemy, but Trial Accounts don’t allow Goblins so 100 is the highest possible rank.

Swim Speed Potion: +100% swim speed for 20 seconds
Holy Protection Potion: Absorbs 300-500 Holy damage for 2 minutes
Elixir of Wisdom: +6 Intellect for 1 hour (Battle)
Elixir of Giant Growth: +8 Strength for 1 hour (Battle)
Swiftness Potion: +50% speed for 15 seconds
Rage Potion: Generates 20-40 Rage
Lesser Healing Potion: restore 140-180 health
Elixir of Minor Fortitude: +27 max health for 1 hour (Guardian)
Elixir of Minor Agility: +4 Agility for 1 hour (Battle)
Minor Rejuvenation Potion: Restores 90-150 health and mana
Minor Mana Potion: Restores 140-180 mana
Weak Troll’s Blood Elixir: Regen 2 health every 5 seconds for 1 hour (Guardian)
Elixir of Minor Defense: +27 Armor for 1 hour (Guardian)
Elixir of Lion’s Strength: +4 Strength for 1 hour (Battle)

Above is a list of all of the potions and elixirs that I would consider stocking up on for my own twinks. I might not actually craft the Swim Speed Potion given that you’ll receive one for nearly every fishing daily you ever do, but if you’ve got extra mats on hand then you might as well make them since you can’t sell them on a trial account anyway. I also wouldn’t make more than a handful or so of the Holy Protection potions unless you see a lot of Priests and Paladins in your matches.

The Swiftness Potion is probably hands-down the single best potion you can get your hands on for a twink. Being able to outrun your opponents is a fantastic benefit. Lesser Healing Potions are decent for keeping you alive, but with so little health return you’re probably better off just trying to outrun them instead.

Blacksmithing
Blacksmithing doesn’t offer a whole lot to F2P twinks, which is nothing new really as it’s always sucked.

None of the races has a bonus to Blacksmithing, so 100 is the maximum skill rank.

Thick Bronze Darts: thrown weapon, +2 Strength
Silver Rod: needed by enchanters
Coarse Weightstone: +3 weapon damage to a blunt weapon for 1 hour
Coarse Sharpening Stone: +3 weapon damage to a bladed weapon for 1 hour
Rough Weightstone: +2 weapon damage to a blunt weapon for 1 hour
Rough Sharpening Stone: +2 weapon damage to a bladed weapon for 1 hour

I haven’t done the research yet to find what the BiS items are for all levl 20 twinks, so I’ve included the Thick Bronze Darts because they’re a solid twinking weapon in the 19 bracket which means they’re likely at least decent for a level 20.

The Silver Rod deserves mentioning if you’re going to be a an Enchanter in order to enhance your gear (since you can’t buy anyone else’s enchants). This rod is only important if the twink you’re playing is going to enchant their own gear, and only if that character is also a Blood Elf since they’re the only race who can get high enough to use it on a F2P account. Even then, there’s only one enchant that will use it, but if you want that enchant then you better get this rod first.

The stones are all buff items that will be good for any non-Rogue. The difference in the types is very minimal, so if you’re going to play a melee character I suggest you at least get into Blacksmithing long enough to make a stack or two of the Rough stones needed for your chosen weapon, and then you can drop the profession right after if you’re not going for the other items.

Enchanting
Enchanting is normally the bread and butter of twinking, in many cases being even more important than the individual pieces of gear. On the F2P twinks though, that’s not the case at all. Enchants will definitely make your toon better, but you’re not necessarily going to be screwed just because you don’t bother taking the time to enchant your gear with the dinky little enchants available with the 100 skill rank limitation.

Blood Elves gain a +10 bonus to Enchanting, giving them access to two more enchants than other races.

Cloak – Minor Agility: +1 Agility [BLOOD ELF ONLY, Requires Silver Rod]
Cloak – Minor Protection: +10 Armor
Cloak – Minor Resistances: Resist All +1

Chest – Lesser Mana: +20 Mana
Chest – Lesser Health: +15 Health

Shield – Minor Stamina: +1 Stamina [BLOOD ELF ONLY]

2H Weapon – Minor Impact: +2 weapon damage to a two-hand
2H Weapon – Lesser Intellect: +3 Intellect to a two-hand
Weapon – Minor Striking: +1 weapon damage

Bracer – Minor Strength: +1 Strength
Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility
Bracer – Minor Stamina: +1 Stamina
Bracer – Minor Deflection: +2 Dodge

Minor Wizard Oil: +7 Intellect to a weapon for 1 hour

The majority of these enchants provide so little benefit that you could honestly skip the profession all together and never look back. A couple of them are worth considering though. Bracer – Deflection is a great option because not only is 2 Dodge actually decent a this level, it also requires only skill rank 1 to cast it, so you could buy the mats from an Enchanting Supplies Vendor, apply this enchant, and then drop the profession straight away.

The strongest enchant is the Minor Wizard Oil which is only a temporary enchant, but it only requires skill rank 45 to make it and you can create a big stash of it and then drop the profession and continue to use the oil.

If you do decide to use Enchanting and then drop it, I suggest you get 2-5 spare copies of each enchant to put onto Vellums just in case you happen to find other gear that you want to try out or you find upgrades that you weren’t planning on.

Engineering
Engineering has always been a favored profession of twinks and PvP players in general. It’s not quite as cool as it would be without that 100 rank restriction, but it’s still a decent choice if you’re looking for a little more utility in the form of explosives. It also offers one of the easier-to-obtain head items that provides stats.

Gnomes receive a +15 racial bonus to Engineering, making a couple of good options available only to them.

Standard Scope: +2 weapon damage to a bow or gun [GNOME ONLY]
Large Copper Bomb: 43-57 Fire damage, 2 sec stun [GNOME ONLY]
Flying Tiger Goggles: cloth head armor, +4 Stamina, +4 Spirit
EZ-Thro Dynamite: 51-69 Fire damage…usually
Coarse Dynamite: 51-69 Fire damage
Crude Scope: +1 weapon damage to a bow or gun
Rough Copper Bomb: 22-28 Fire damage, 1 sec stun
Rough Dynamite: 26-34 Fire damage

The most important item here is the Flying Tiger Goggles which is your best head piece if you’re not going to fish and you MUST be an Engineer to use them. The scopes are good if you’re going to be a Hunter, but otherwise they probably aren’t worth being an Engineer for.

All of the explosives are good, or at least useful, but only the EZ-Thro can be used if you’re planning on dropping the profession. EZ-Thro can be used by non-engineers but it will occasionally blow up in your hand which deals a small amount of damage to you. If it does, then the cooldown is instantly reset and you can try throwing it again. Bombs are great for their stun effect, even if it is only a short one. Dynamite is good for the damage and that they can be used while moving, as well as finding pesky stealthers.

Herbalism
Herbalism’s only benefit is the Lifeblood spell that you get for leveling the profession. Lifeblood grants you 15 Haste for 20 seconds and also heals you over time.

Tauren receive a +15 bonus to Herbalism, but that bonus provides no benefit in this case. Tauren also pick herbs in 0.5 seconds instead of 1.5 seconds like every other race, so leveling the profession is quite a bit faster for them.

Inscription
Inscription does provide at least a little benefit to this range of twinks in the form of Scrolls and an off-hand for casters.

No race receives a bonus to Inscription, so 100 is the cap.

Scroll of Agi/Int/Str/Spir: +3 to the ability for 30 minutes (Battle)
Scroll of Stamina: +3 Stamina for 30 minutes (Guardian)
Scroll of Agi/Int/Str/Spir II: +5 to the ability for 30 minutes (Battle)
Scroll of Stamina II: +5 Stamina for 30 minutes (Guardian)
Mystic Tome: off-hand, +7 Intellect

Jewelcrafting
Jewelcrafting in and of itself doesn’t offer a whole lot as it’s perks are geared towards end game. There are a few items that can be very useful though, and some of the rings and necks could potentially be best in slot. Remember, you can’t buy/trade items from other players, so if JC items are best in slot for you then you’ll have to make them yourself. Again, I haven’t done the research for BiS gear for each class at 20 yet, so I can’t tell you if any of these are at this moment.

Draenei have a +10 racial bonus to JC, giving them access to a few items that are out of reach for other races.

Heavy Stone Statue: heals for 25 every 1 sec for 15 seconds (375 total healing) [DRAENEI ONLY]
Coarse Stone Statue: heals for 15 every 1 sec for 15 seconds (225 total healing)
Rough Stone Statue: heals for 8 every 1 second for 12 seconds (96 total healing)

These statues might not be the best source of healing in the game, but they are very useful when you need them and the channeled nature of the heal works similar to a HoT so you can drop it right before you take damage or just as it starts coming in to try to stay topped off. The great thing about these statues is that even though they require JC to make and they are soulbound, they do not require you to have the profession in order to use them.

So if you want to stock up on some good healing items, throw some stone into making these bad boys and then feel free to drop the profession to replace it with another without missing any of the benefits of this profession.

Leatherworking
Leatherworking offers very little to F2P twinks because almost all of the gear that you can make within the 100 skill rank cap is for low-mid teens. Even the majority of the gear that Leatherworkers can make that are or are close to being BiS gear for 19 Twinks cannot be made with only 100 LW.

None of the races receives a bonus to Leatherworking, making the 100 cap the same for all races.

Medium Armor Kit: +16 armor to chest, legs, hands, or feet
Light Armor Kit: +8 armor to chest, legs, hands, or feet

Additional Armor isn’t bad, it just isn’t great either. With the limited number of enchants available in to F2P twinks these armor kits are your only source of enchants for Legs, Hands, and Feet. You can probably get better enchants for your Chest slot from the actual Enchanting profession, but if you don’t feel like grinding the mats for it then LW is a decent second option.

Mining
Mining is a pretty common profession for normal twinks, but for F2P it’s pretty lackluster. As a gathering profession, Mining provides only this benefit.

None of the races in game right now have a bonus to Mining, leaving the cap at 100.

Toughness: +3 Stamina

I won’t really suggest Mining for a F2P twink. It’s not bad, we can always use another 30 health, but it’s also not great and doesn’t really measure up to some of the other professions. If your class gets no benefit from Haste, then I might consider Mining as one of them over Herbalism, but since Lifeblood also includes a heal effect I’d still prefer Herbalism myself.

Skinning
Skinning has been one of my favorite twinking professions ever since they gave it the bonus to crit. Burst damage has always been a critical part of PvP performance, which is why that bonus to crit at a low level is such an important thing.

The only race that receives a bonus to Skinning is the Worgen which are not available to F2P accounts, making the cap 100 for all races.

Master of Anatomy: +3 critical strike rating

Once you’ve gotten all of the items you want from your professions, Skinning is one of the best options for you to switch to and use for the rest of your twinking career. Extra crit will help any class perform better at this low level in PvP.

Tailoring
Besides giving you a source of bag space that you don’t have to pay for, Tailoring is nearly a complete and total waste for F2P accounts. It can give you some decent gear to get started with if you’re a caster, but none of that gear is likely to be BiS once you reach 20.

None of the races get a bonus to Tailoring, making 100 the cap for all.

I would not suggest you take Tailoring on a F2P character at all. Do yourself a favor and save that cloth for First Aid and any other crafting professions that might use it (Engineering and Blacksmithing especially).

Archeology
Archeology gives you no benefit at all for twinking F2P. I don’t think you can even get beyond collecting trash items with it with the 100 cap.

Dwarves can use Survey in 0.5 seconds instead of 1.5 seconds like all of the other races, but they receive no bonus to it. Not that it matters for F2P.

The only reason to consider using Archeology on a F2P account is to get the money you need to level your other professions. Since you can’t use the AH, Archeology is a decent way to gather gold. Unfortunately, the items you find are completely random and the time you put into it could likely be spent questing or farming mobs for drops that would result in more money in a shorter time span.

Cooking
Cooking is something I normally don’t bother with at all on my twinks because the best buff food they can use is purchased rather than made. But for F2P twinks you don’t have that option because you can’t access the vendor and you can’t buy/trade it from other players. That means that cooking is now much more important as it will provide you with the best Stamina buffs available.

There’s also a spell you get just for having the Cooking profession, which is the Basic Campfire. Most people simply ignore the existence of this spell these days, but it does provide a buff that some twinks actually find useful (+4 Spirit for 1 minute).

No races receive a bonus, so the cap for Cooking is 100 for all.

Seasoned Wolf Kabob: +6 Stamina and Spirit for 15 minutes
Crispy Lizard Tail: +6 Stamina and Spirit for 15 minutes
Redridge Goulash: +6 Stamina and Spirit for 15 minutes
Captain Rumsey’s Lager: +10 Fishing for 3 minutes
Murloc Fin Soup: +6 Stamina and Spirit for 15 minutes
Smoked Sagefish: restores 4 Mana every 5 seconds for 15 minutes
Thistle Tea: Restores 100 Energy

I mention the Lager only as another way to buff your Fishing skill for when you’re trying to get your hands on the Lucky Fishing Hat.

Any of the recipes that give stamina and spirit here will work, just pick the one that has the easiest mats for you to farm.

Thistle Tea is a fantastic Rogue brew. I’m seeing mixed replies on Wowhead as to whether or not this recipe is still available. It will only show up for a Rogue as of several patches ago, but I’m sure either way if this is available still or not. If it is, it’s a good item to have for your Rogues.

First Aid
First Aid has always been a twink essential, but like so many other things that’s not really the case with F2P. The great thing about bandages is that you can use high level versions than you can make, so a 19 Twink can use Heavy Runecloth Bandages even though they can’t make over regular Mageweave. For F2P though, you can’t make those higher versions to use, so you’re stuck with the small ones.

There are no bonuses to First Aid, leaving the cap at 100.

Wool Bandage: Heals 161 over 7 seconds
Anti-Venom: Cures one poison up to level 25
Heavy Linen Bandage: Heals 114 over 6 seconds
Linen Bandage: Heals 66 over 6 seconds

You definitely want to stock up on Wool Bandages. The healing value might suck, but it’s free healing that can save you in a pinch. They’re incredibly easy to make, so there’s no reason for you to skip them.

The Anti-Venom is something I almost never make or use on any of my toons at all. Being in the level 20-24 PvP bracket changes that up though, because now you’ve got some potentially serious poisons to worry about. In the 19 bracket the only poison is the Hunter’s Serpent Sting which really isn’t a threat unless you’re close to dying. In 20-24 though you have two Rogue poisons that might concern you.

A Rogue’s Crippling and Mind-Numbing Poisons can be a deciding factor in 20-24. If you’re a flag carrier (FC) or making a move to either assist your FC or bring down the Enemy FC (EFC) then that crippling poison might cost you the game. If you’re a caster, particularly a healer, then the Mind-Numbing can kill your ability to cast your spells. I’d rather you skip healing bandages than skip this anti-venom which could potentially decide your game.

Fishing
Fishing’s primary purpose for F2P twinking is to get your hands on the Lucky Fishing Hat (+15 Stamina) which is your BiS helm no matter what your class is. You can also get the less interesting Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat (+3 Stamina, +3 Spirit, +5 Fishing, Free fishing lures) from the fishing daily quests.

Once you’ve got your Lucky Fishing Hat, you can forget about this profession. There’s no racial bonus to fishing, and no reason for one either, so it’s capped at 100 as well.

Maximizing Professions
If you want to go all out, fully maximizing your F2P twink, then you’re going to have to dance around various professions to get all of the gear and buff items that you might need. That means you’re going to spend a lot of time gathering materials to level a profession only to turn right around and delete that profession to pick up yet another which you’ll also have to grind for.

[NOTE: This is by no means the only way to level your professions, this is simply my suggested path if you want to seriously min/max every profession out there.]

Non-Caster Classes
UPDATE: Unless you’re lucky enough to find Light Leather in chests or as drops, you’ll want to get Skinning long enough to get 6 Light Leather so that you can make your Engineer goggles, then drop it for Blacksmithing and carry on from Step 1 below..
Step 1: First Aid, Cooking, Fishing, Mining, Blacksmithing (Hunters can skip to Step 3a) [Mine/BS]
Step 2a: Blacksmiths make/stock Sharpening Stones and Weightstones as desired [Mine/BS]
Step 2b: If you’re a Blood Elf, be sure to make a Silver Rod before dropping Blacksmithing [Mine/BS]
Step 3a: Drop Blacksmithing, replace with Engineering [Mine/Eng]
Step 3b: Engineers stock bombs only if you’re staying Eng, otherwise get Googles and EZ-Thro [Mine/Eng]
Step 3c: Hunters stock Scopes as necessary for bow/gun upgrades [Mine/Eng]
Step 4: Drop Engineering, replace with Jewelcrafting [Mine/JC]
Step 5: Stock up on Statues, also craft any rings/necks that you need for BiS [Mine/JC]
Step 6: Drop Mining and Jewelcrafting, replace with Skinning and Enchanting [Skin/Ench]
Step 7: Use Enchanting on gear if you have BiS already, or on Vellums if you don’t [Skin/Ench]
Step 8: Drop Enchanting, replace with Leatherworking [Skin/LW]
Step 9: Stock up on Medium Armor Kits, Light will work if you don’t feel like grinding leather [Skin/LW]
Step 10: Drop Skinning and Leatherworking, replace with Herbalism and Inscription [Herb/Insc]
Step 11: Stock up on Scrolls (rank II) [Herb/Insc]
Step 12: Drop Inscription, replace with Alchemy [Herb/Alch]
Step 13: Stock up all potions/elixirs relative to your class. Stock Swiftness Potions. [Herb/Alch]
Step 14: Drop Alchemy, replace with Skinning [Herb/Skin]
Step 15: Profit.

I mentioned above that Hunters can skip Blacksmithing, that’s mostly because the stones/weights that BS can make apply only to melee weapons which you should almost never use. It doesn’t hurt for you to have them, but it’s kind of waste of time/mats for so very little return. Also note, that unless you’re going to use a gun or bow, there’s no reason to stock up Scopes.

Caster Classes
UPDATE: Unless you’re lucky enough to find Light Leather in chests or as drops, you’ll want to get Skinning long enough to get 6 Light Leather so that you can make your Engineer goggles, then drop it for Engineering and carry on from Step 1 below..
Step 1: First Aid, Cooking, Fishing, Mining, Engineering [Mine/Eng]
Step 2: Engineers stock bombs only if you’re staying Eng, otherwise get Googles and EZ-Thro [Mine/Eng]
Step 3: Drop Engineering, replace with Jewelcrafting [Mine/JC]
Step 4: Stock up on Statues, also craft any rings/necks that you need for BiS [Mine/JC]
Step 5: Drop Mining and Jewelcrafting, replace with Skinning and Enchanting [Skin/Ench]
Step 6a: Use Enchanting on gear if you have BiS already, or on Vellums if you don’t [Skin/Ench]
Step 6b: Stock up on Minor Wizard Oil, one of the single best buffs available to you [Skin/Ench]
Step 7: Drop Enchanting, replace with Leatherworking [Skin/LW]
Step 8: Stock up on Medium Armor Kits, Light will work if you don’t feel like grinding leather [Skin/LW]
Step 9: Drop Skinning and Leatherworking, replace with Herbalism and Inscription [Herb/Insc]
Step 10: Stock up on Scrolls (rank II) [Herb/Insc]
Step 11: Drop Inscription, replace with Alchemy [Herb/Alch]
Step 12: Stock up all potions/elixirs relative to your class. Stock Swiftness Potions. [Herb/Alch]
Step 13: Drop Alchemy, replace with Skinning [Herb/Skin]
Step 14: Something, something.
Step 15: Profit.

Casters can skip Blacksmithing all together because the sharp/weightstones will be replaced with Wizard Oil and you have no need for the Silver Rod since the only enchant it gives access to is Agility which you won’t be using anyway. If you decide you would rather have the Agility enchant, just grab steps 1-3 from the non-caster list and then continue on in this list.

Overall Overview
For those of you who don’t like using explosives and who do plan on using Fishing to get your hat, feel free to skip Engineering all together unless you’re a Hunter. Hunters will want those scopes to increase the damage of their primary weapon. I put Engineering early on for both progressions because it’s good to get those goggles in place early and wear them until they can be replaced with the fishing hat. I’ve been in that stupid fishing tourney dozens of times and I’ve never caught that stupid fish. Ever.

If you’re not good at remembering to use consumables in mid-combat, you probably want to skip Jewelcrafting unless you need some of the jewelry for your gear, as the only other benefit is the healing statues which will be most helpful during or right after combat when you might otherwise forget. You could macro your food and your statues to the same key if that would help you, though you might end up wasting a few statues if you forget. You could also macro it to other spells you might use in combat such as Herbalism’s Lifeblood spell or something like a Warlock’s Lifetap so that you have healing coming in. There are some ways to use it without focusing on it, but it can be a pain if you’re not used to such things.

If you’re not already aware, you want to pay special attention to the fact that Scrolls now count as Battle/Guardian Elixirs, meaning that you can’t stack them on top of potions. Some scrolls (like Stamina II) are stronger than potions, though so you’ll want to stock up on all the ones that you might need for your class/spec.

Maximizing Within Reason
If you don’t want to follow that crazy min/maxing plan from the previous section, here’s what you can do within reason to still get a lot of the buffs that professions allow without throwing away tons of time and gold that you spend leveling various professions.

If you’re going to dip into Blacksmithing, only make Rough Sharp/Weightstones unless you need that Silver Rod (Rogues and Hunters). Feel free to skip BS all together, regardless of your class.

If you’re going to dip into Engineering, the Flying Tiger Goggles are the most important item to get because of the random drop rate of the fish you need from the tournament for the Lucky Fishing Hat and the low(ish) chance of the Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat dropping from your sack of loot from the Fishing daily. If you’re a Hunter, the Scopes are a good investment since there are no other ranged enchants you can use, but 2 damage is only 2 damage so you can skip it as well. The EZ-Thro Dynamite is good, but the recipe is a drop so you might never be able to make them. Feel free to skip this profession all together as well.

Jewelcrafting is only a “must have” if you find that it’s the source for your BiS rings or necklace, otherwise it’s only good for the statues which are by no means critical. If you don’t have BiS gear to get from this, feel free to skip it.

Leatherworking only offers the armor kits, and they aren’t especially important for anyone either. You’re going to level Skinning anyway as it’s one of the best to end on, so I would suggest you at least get Skinning and LW together long enough to make a stack or so of the Light Armor Kits to put on your gear, and then feel free to drop it. If you want, you can skip it all together as you’re really not missing out on much even with Medium Armor Kits.

Enchanting is good, but even it isn’t critical as most of the options really kind of suck. It’s +1 of this or that and while those bonuses do add up over time, they’re not that big a deal either. The one exception I’d make to that is for casters. If you’re a caster, I would definitely take up Enchanting for the Minor Wizard Oil at the very least, and also the +3 Intellect enchant if your weapon is going to be a staff.

Inscription’s Scrolls and Alchemy’s Elixirs/Potions make them two of the strongest professions to dip your toes into. If you want to go with just one or the other, Alchemy is the definite winner. Inscription’s off-hand is great for casters, but if it’s not BiS for you then go ahead and skip Inscription.

Alchemy has just too many good buffs to too many different things to skip. If you don’t like buff potions or feel they’re wasted because the effects wear off on death, then just make restorative potions (health/mana) and Swiftness potions, and skip all the rest of it.

Mining isn’t bad, but it’s not great either.

Herbalism is one of the best professions you can pick for it’s healing and Haste buff, though not great if your class gets nothing from Haste.

Skinning is probably the most overall beneficial profession for every class as no matter what you’re doing you can benefit from increased Crit.

Cooking is great for it’s buff foods since other options are extremely difficult for you. I won’t suggest skipping this for F2P though I typically skip it for every other toon I roll.

First Aid is something I certainly suggest you take the time to level, for the Anti-Venom if nothing else. Yeah, the bandages do suck at this level, but you’re going to face a lot of Rogues in PvP and removing that crippling/mind-numbing poison can be a really big deal sometimes.

Fishing is the key to the best twink hat that money can’t buy. I urge any twink to try for this hat whenever you can, F2P or not. It might not have the best stats overall when compared to the BoA helms, but otherwise it’s the top dog and when it comes to F2P it’s definitely the best.

So to sum it all up, level those secondary skills and make sure you’re using professions that give you benefits that your class can use.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2011 in Player vs Player

 

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Shadow Priest PvP Guide

PLEASE NOTE: This guide was written in 2011 and has not been updated since. Some of the information is still applicable, but as far as actually playing the class consider all of this incredibly outdated.

It occurred to me a few days ago that I haven’t actually put anything related to Shadow Priest PvP on the blog since shortly after I first started. Since that’s really the only thing I’ve done on that toon since the time I first got into arenas, I think it’s time I shared some of what I’ve learned.

As Fox Van Allen of WoW Insider was looking for Shadow PvP sources for his article this week, I decided I’d better fire up that speech-to-text software and get my virtual blogging fingers moving.

Getting Your Rear in Gear
The first step of getting into PvP is your gear. If you’re starting from scratch then your quickest method of gearing is crafted gear, which will be consist of pieces from the Bloodthirsty Embersilk and Bloodthirsty Fireweave sets. Overall, the Embersilk set has more pieces with the stats you’re looking for, but you should look at Fireweave as well just in case there are pieces you’d rather have from it (the Fireweave Pants in particular). The only set bonus on these is a 2 piece that grants +400 Resilience, which most likely stacks if you want to grab at least two pieces from each set for twice the bonus.

These new crafted pieces are actually really good, almost as good as the Vicious pieces. While they’re very close in raw stats, even higher in some cases, than the Vicious gear, they have a comparatively weak set bonus and no sockets where the Vicious gear has 8.

From there you’ll have to start your grinds of Honor and Conquest points to purchase better gear. Honor farming will get you the Vicious Gladiator’s Raiment and Vicious Gladiator’s Investiture sets. The Raiment set is the DPS version, and Investiture is the “healer” version. I list both of them because even though the healer version is supposed to be for healers, many Shadow Priests will still prefer it over the Raiment for the 4 piece set bonus since the DPS 4pc kind of sucks.

Blizzard has discussed methods of preventing Priests from getting dual 2pc bonuses by taking some pieces from both sets, but as far as I know they haven’t actually done it yet so you can still double-dip in the Vicious sets, or you can go for the 4pc bonus of your choice. The Raiment gives you Crit, Haste, and Mastery while the Investiture gives you Spirit (Hit), Crit, and Haste. The Raiment 4pc lowers the cast time of your nukes while the 4pc Investiture makes your PW:Shield remove movement impairing effects and make you immune to slows for 4 seconds when cast on yourself.

Regardless of which Vicious set you aim for first, make sure your first purchase is the gloves for an extra 3 seconds off of your Psychic Scream cooldown. Gloves are cheap, and they’re the only piece that offers an additional bonus on top of just raw stats, so they’re your best initial purchase.

Once you start farming your Conquest points via Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds, it’s time to start grabbing Ruthless Gladiator’s set pieces. The set bonuses and which stats are given from which set remain the same as the Vicious set, they just have higher values of the attributes. If you want your gloves to be your first Ruthless purchase instead of your first Vicious, that’s fine as well.

I’d give you a Wowhead link to the Ruthless gear, but those links are a little odd right now. If you want to look at individual pieces then you can do a search for “Ruthless Gladiator’s” on Wowhead and it will pull up the list for you. Once Wowhead gets the items linked right, I’ll add a link to the post, but right now the set bonus is linking back to a set a few seasons ago so I’m going to leave it out for now.

Are You Ready? (Stat Goals)
There are a few stat goals that you want to meet before you get started with PvP, though what goals you have is going to depend on what PvP activity we’re talking about.

If you’re just now getting started and BG’s are what you’re focusing on, then just go in there with whatever you’ve got quick and easy access to. If that’s all PvE gear, that’s fine. If you can get your hands on some crafted pieces or have some Honor points sitting around for Vicious, then grab what you can and keep on going.

If you’re getting ready for Arenas, then you want to shoot for around 1,500-2,000 Resilience before you get started unless you aren’t too bothered by losses. If you’re looking at RBG’s or more serious Arena play, then you want to shoot for a minimum of 3,000 Resilience before you get too serious about them.

Spell Penetration is a pretty big deal. If you’re new to BG’s then whatever you can get is better than nothing. If you’re looking at serious play though, then you want to shoot for the cap of 240. This cap is easy to hit, you can do it with a cloak and a ring, or a cloak and an enchant and call it done, but make sure you don’t skip out on this cap. Only Mages can actually reach that 240 range, while all of the other classes can be covered by just 195. Mages can deal some crazy burst damage though, so I suggest you aim for 240.

Hit is another important stat, and PvP being PvP, the cap on hit is fairly low. Shoot for around 4-5% hit, preferably through the use of Spirit rather than the actual Hit stat so that you’re getting mana regeneration out of the deal as well. A lot of off-set PvP gear will give you the option between a piece that offers Hit and another that offers the same amount worth of Spirit – always go for the Spirit piece. You’re shooting for somewhere between 400-500 Spirit to hit that cap.

Spec’tacular (Shadow PvP Spec)

Above is spec that I prefer to use in the arenas. I didn’t put any points Improved Shadow Word: Pain which other shadow priests often ask about, mostly because I rarely use my DoT spells when doing arenas, which is my preferred method of PvP at level 85. I also didn’t put any points into Paralysis, even though it’s another CC ability, which is another question often asked. This one I don’t use mostly because it’s only situationally useful, and in my arena teams our first kill target is usually a caster which makes limiting their movement worth very little.

Improved SW:Pain isn’t bad if you’re actually using your DoT’s. If I were focused on larger arena teams or BG/RBG’s then I might try to find points I could place there. Paralysis can be good, especially against melee teams or in other PvP settings, I just don’t take it as a matter of personal preference for my 2v2 setups.

Glyphs
I use the glyphs that best fit my playstyle. With 2v2 being my focus, I’m primarily dealing damage via nukes rather than DoT’s and using my glyphs for extra survivability or utility.

Prime: Dispersion, SW: Death, Mind Flay
Major: Psychic Horror, Fade, Mass Dispel
Minor: Fading, Levitate, Fortitude

Dispersion reduces the spell’s cooldown, which is especially useful to me in arenas and RBG’s. SW:Death causes the cooldown to instantly reset itself once per 6 seconds if you cast it on a target below 25% health and it doesn’t kill them, which is almost always when you’re dealing with PvP targets because of Resilience; it’s one of the most important glyphs you can take if you’re going to do arena. Mind Flay is the only damage spell that I use in every match regardless of my opponents or which form of PvP I’m doing, so I take it over SW:Pain because I know I’ll utilize it no matter what.

Psychic Horror is one of the most useful spells we have access to, so reducing it’s cooldown by any amount is worth it to me. Fade is great for reducing the cooldown of its spell which allows me to break movement debuffs with Fade instead of having to potentially waste something more important like Dispersion. Mass Dispel is one I value a lot for reducing the cast time of Mass Dispel down to 0.5 seconds, as the reaction time on removing a Paladin’s bubble can easily be the difference between victory and defeat, and not removing a DK’s ice cubes in time can cost your team a BG match.

The minor glyphs are all pretty boring. I use Fading only because there’s so many freaking Frost DK’s out there right now slowing me every 2 seconds, so reducing its mana cost is a real bonus. Fortitude is for those Purge-happy Shamans out there removing your buffs like nobody’s business, cutting the cost of reapplying the buff in half. Levitate is there just because I hate dealing with reagents and never want to find myself needing to do a crucial BG jump only to find in midair that I have no reagents.

Your Tears Fuel Me… (Crowd Control and Cooldowns)
Arena matches are more or less decided by two things: Crowd Control and Cooldowns.

Crowd Control
We have a few different forms of Crowd Control (CC) available to us. First up is Psychic Scream, an AoE fear spell. By default this has a 30 second cooldown, which can be lowered by 4 seconds with talent points, and by an additional 3 points with the PvP Gloves. You can also use the Glyph of Psychic Scream to cause the targets to tremble in place instead of runny around crazily, but it increases the cooldown by 3 seconds. I’m not a fan of using the glyph for this spell, but I do love reducing its cooldown for more frequent use. You can use this spell either defensively, causing melee targets to run away from you or your teammates, or you can use it offensively as a spell interrupt or to get some free cast time on a target while he and/or his healer can’t respond.

Next up is Psychic Horror, a talent-purchased spell that causes the target to tremble in horror for 3 seconds and also disarms them for 10 seconds. The default cooldown on this beauty is 2 minutes, though you can lower it to a minute and a half with the Glyph of Psychic Horror which I definitely suggest that you do. Defensively, I use this to strip melee classes of their weapons and to get some distance from them (or closing that distance if it’s a Hunter). Offensively, I typically cast this on healers to either burn them or their teammate(s) down during the 3 second “stun”.

Next we have, Silence which is semi-CC, I guess. It’s a ranged silence that lasts for 5 seconds. The cooldown is 45 seconds long, and sadly there’s nothing you can do to reduce that. Defensively this is best used on enemy casters, Paladins, or Shamans. You can also use it defensively on Warriors, especially when you see them rushing into a group of your team during BG’s as they’ll often use their Shouts which this will stop. Offensively, this is for healers first and DPS casters second. I typically use this on healers unless I’m facing a Mage, in which case I’ll hit the Mage right after he burns his cooldowns.

Then we have the crowd favorite, Mind Control which lets you take control of an opponent for a few seconds. In BG’s I use this to make people jump off of cliffs, or in AV I like to control the tank or healer while they’re fighting our bosses. In Arena this is best used either to remove a healer while your partner(s) focus the DPS, to force people into Line of Sight (LoS) situations, or in a chain AoE effect. The chain AoE effect is Mind Control (which turns them into an ally), Leap of Faith to pull them to you (which also breaks the MC channel, turning them back into an enemy), and then Psychic Scream to fear them away.

Last on our list is the nearly worthless, Shackle Undead. It’s only useful against Death Knight ghouls in PvP. I see very, very few DK’s in PvP actually using their ghouls right now other than to summon and then immediately sacrifice for health. Power shifts all the time though, so you want this somewhere that you can easily cast it even if it doesn’t necessarily merit its own keybind.

Cooldowns
We have a lot of really good cooldowns as well. Some of our cooldowns are also our CC, but here are the others.

Fade doesn’t seem much like a PvP cooldown at first glance, but talents in the Shadow tree cause it to become one. By default its only real use is to make enemy pets drop you as their target, though that typically only works in BG’s against people who don’t really know what they’re doing. The cooldown is 30 seconds, but you can reduce that by 9 seconds with the Glyph of Fade and another 6 seconds with the Veiled Shadows talent. The Phantasm talent in the Shadow tree also causes Fade to remove all movement impairing effects which is why it’s on my cooldowns list. I do use the Glyph of Fade, but don’t get it confused with the Glyph of Fading which just reduces the mana cost.

Fear Ward is a fairly good defensive cooldown, preventing the next fear effect used on the target. It has a 3 minute duration and a 3 minute cooldown, with a glyph that reduces the cooldown and duration by 60 seconds. I don’t bother with the glyph, but I do like the spell itself. The best use of this spell is to use it when you actually need it rather than just starting the match off with it, but it’s hard to judge when your opponents might use a fear and when they won’t so you might want to use it as a starting buff regardless if you’re not good at reading your opponents.

Hymn of Hope is a mana regenerating cooldown, the use of which is hard to really say in a blog post as it can be very situational. It’s a channeled spell that can restore mana to your teammates as well, but because it’s channeled it leaves you vulnerable. If you have a chance to cast it without being harassed then great, but if not then you’re best bet is to get whatever use out of it you can and sick your Shadowfiend on someone either right before or right after you cast Hymn of Hope. Doing this will maximize your mana return. The cooldown on this sucker is a whopping 6 minutes, so don’t expect to be able to use it very often.

Shadowfiend is a really cool mana return cooldown which summons a little shadow monster to go beat up your enemies and restore your mana every time he hits. The cooldown is 5 minutes, but it can be reduced by 10 seconds with points in Sin and Punishment and another 60 seconds with points in Veiled Shadows. The glyph is pretty mediocre, and I wouldn’t suggest it as my Shadowfiend almost never gets killed.

Divine Hymn is an AoE healing cooldown. It’s similar to a Druid’s Tranquility spell, restoring a fair amount of health to targets within range while you channel it. I use it for my 2v2 team every now and then, but most often in BG’s and RBG’s.

Leap of Faith is a fantastic spell, pulling a friendly target to yourself. The cooldown on this one is 1.5 minutes with no way to reduce it. I most often use this to actually save my teammates in arena, pulling them to me followed by a bubble and then a heal if I can afford it and have the time to do so, or to just give them time to run and heal themselves or whatever they can do. However, you can also use this offensively both to pull your melee members over to a target or in a CC combo that I mentioned above which is to Mind Control an enemy, followed by Leap of Faith to bring them to you, followed by Psychic Scream to make them run away. This is best used on healers, but it’s also great for peeling melee off of your teammates.

Dispersion is last up on the list, our keystone talent at the end of the Shadow tree. Dispersion is great for restoring your mana, but it’s also fantastic for breaking out of CC since it removes all roots and snares, and it also reduces all the damage you take by 90% while it’s active. The cooldown on this is 2 minutes, but can be reduced by 45 seconds with the Glyph of Dispersion. I usually use this for the damage reduction, and pretty often for the mana regen as well. I usually cast either a Psychic Scream or a PW:Shield when the effect wears off, depending on the situation. I like to try to force tunnel visioned melee targets to follow me during Dispersion and then CC them where I can LoS their healers before burning them down.

Face Melting (Offensive Spells)
There are two methods of damage dealing that we can use: direct damage and damage over time.

For arenas I almost never bother with DoT’s other than to pressure healers. With so many high-burst classes in arenas right now I have to go with direct damage in 2v2 which means Mind Spike and Mind Blast spam. Using these nukes along with CC, I typically kill my focus target within two rotations unless I’m forced to play defensively. When I’m forced to defense, I will use my DoT’s, but if there’s a healer on the other team I won’t bother unless I can afford the time to cast Vampiric Touch first. I use Mind Flay primarily to set up Archangel procs for mana regen and the damage boost, or to slow melee that are harassing my team, or to slow our kill target if he’s trying to get LoS.

When I’m doing a direct damage rotation I use either Mind Spike x2, Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, or Mind Spike x3, Mind Blast, depending on my current mana situation. To get the most damage out of this rotation you want to build up your Shadow Orbs (at least 1, 3 if possible) through Mind Flay cast, activate Archangel once you’ve got 5 stacks of Evangelism, and then go to town with the nukes.

In BG’s or in 3v3+ arenas I use my DoT’s all the time to keep pressure on as many people at once as I can so that I can then focus my nukes on the healers. When I’m not in 2v2 arena, I also tend to use the majority of my cooldowns and CC defensively, save for when we’re burning down a healer or a flag carrier in which case I’m likely all offense. If you are going to use your DoT’s, then your optimal rotation is SW:Pain, Mind Flay until you get at least 1 Shadow Orb, Mind Blast, Vampiric Touch, Devouring Plague, and then spam Mind Flay.

Devouring Plague deserves a special mention here because it’s our only source of spammable, instant damage. The mana cost for spamming it is pretty steep, but if you need to kill someone who’s low on health or you need to get them within that 25% range so that SW:Death deals its full damage, then it’s worth the price. Typically, I kill targets with SW:Death casts, and it usually takes two casts to kill someone, but for those times that I don’t manage to finish them off Devouring Plague is the answer.

Shadow Word: Death is how I kill almost every target because that’s what it does and it does it well. With all the resilience and healing that goes on in PvP though, I almost never kill a target with a single cast, I have to have the Glyph of SW:Death to instantly remove its cooldown when it fails to kill so that I can cast it again. When I’m not close to killing someone, and I have spent at least 10% of my mana, I use SW:Death if it’s active to trigger the Masochism talent which restores 10% of your mana when SW:Death fails to kill a target.

Heward’s Handy Haversack (Other Useful Spells)
You get bonus points if you know where that title came from, and extra bonus points if I spelled it wrong and you can prove it.

Some spells that you need to keep in mind whenever you’re doing PvP can be the deciding factor in a match.

Power Word: Shield is one of the few healing-type abilities that we can use that doesn’t kick us out of Shadow Form. In my 2v2 team I’m typically casting this on my partner because everyone loves to focus him while they let me melt their faces. When my partner switches to his other toon in the team though, the rolls are switched. Combining PW:Shield with Dispersion, Fade, Psychic Scream/Horror, and Silence make me one of the best kiting machines around which is often an easy when if we’re facing opponents prone to tunnel vision.

Cure Disease does just what it says, and it too can be cast without breaking Shadow Form. Other Shadow Priests are about the only ones you’ll use this against.

Dispel Magic isn’t quite as great as it used to be (no) thanks to current changes which allow only the healing specs to dispel your teammates. You can either remove two Magic debuffs from yourself or to remove 1 buff from an opponent. I don’t often use this offensively, even though I really should, instead I’m typically defensive with this.

Mind Vision is a spell that so many Priests simply dismiss, but it’s so incredibly useful in PvP. It won’t do you much good in arenas because they’re all so small, but in BG’s and RBG’s it’s fantastic. I use this most often to track down EFC’s so that I can tell my team where the flag is going, or to find my own EFC to know his path so that I can move to assist him. It’s also great for spying on other locations around a map such as Arathi basin or Eye of the Storm, though, allowing me to report on the defenses of each location.

Mana Burn is another spell ignored by the PvE crowd, which means a large portion of the PvP crowd forgets it exists as well. If you’re having trouble bringing down a healer, it’s because you didn’t burn his mana first. It’s especially effective against Paladin healers, but it’s a great spell against any caster. Whether you’re better off burning mana or just nuking someone has way too many variables for me to go over, but definitely do not ignore this spell, especially in arenas.

Holy Nova deserves a mention just to find those stinking Rogues, Druids, and Mages (invisibility). You don’t want to spam this because of its mana cost, but it’s the only proactive method you have to finding stealthers.

Mass Dispel is last up on this list. It’s an AoE dispell that can clear up to 10 debuffs from your team and up to 10 buffs from your opponents. The most important thing to remember about this spell is that it can dispel buffs that are otherwise impervious; namely a Paladin’s bubble and a Mage’s Ice Block spell. Letting a Paladin be immune to everything for 10 seconds is never a good idea if you can help it, nor is allowing your whole team to sit frozen in a Death Knight’s Hungering Cold spell. Mass Dispel can take care of all of that. And don’t forget to use the glyph that goes with it, reducing its cast time from 1.5 seconds down to 0.5 seconds.

 

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Priest Leveling: 30-49 Holy

Project High Heals
Holy Priest 1-29

Today we’re going to take a look at the next level range for Holy Priests. I’ve been doing quite well on my Holy Priest, Psynister. In the project High Heals portfolio he’s intended to do most of his leveling via dungeons, though that has slowed down for him a bit since getting to Outlands. Queues are taking quite a while, and it’s actually DPS slots that are hard to fill. I guess everyone’s busy leveling tanks and healers right now.

That’s the short and sweet update on Psynister, now lets take a closer look at how to level your own Holy Priest.

Playing a Holy Priest
As I mentioned in the first Holy Priest post, I was a little concerned about leveling a Priest and doing so with a healing spec. Most of that came from their low level problems with mana, but also because I knew my damage was going to suck. My recent experience leveling a Shadow Priest helped me overcome the first of those, while I found the second to not be nearly as bad as I was anticipating.

I don’t hesitate to say that low level PvP as Holy really sucked. I did a pretty fair amount of PvP on Psynister, though of coarse not as much as I did random dungeons. I found that in early PvP I just didn’t have the output on either the healing or killing side of of the fence to really do much of anything. Either my heals were crap, or I ran out of mana too fast to really be useful, or the opponents saw me healing and focused me down. Life in PvP as Holy is freaking hard.

Healing dungeons is, of course, where I definitely shined. Most dungeons I can heal almost entirely with Power Word: Shield and Renew, with a few Heal casts thrown in from time to time to help keep the tank topped off “just in case”. When the group was doing well with agro I had no problems at all. When DPS started to pull threat though, things got pretty chaotic and my mana issues really started to show. In dungeons where AoE damage exists it’s just downright brutal. Priests don’t have access to AoE healing at this level, the best you can do is throw bubbles/renew on multiple targets and hope for the best, but that drains your mana quick. (There’s another answer, called Lightwell, but I’ll get in to that later.)

Otherwise, I found playing a Holy Priest to be very fun in Dungeons, not so much in PvP, but also surprisingly powerful in questing.

Holy-Specific Tips
Leveling as Holy isn’t too dissimilar from leveling as any other spec, it’s all in how you go about doing it. The most important thing to remember early on is not to waste your mana. Once you’ve got the mana management under control there’s no stopping you.

Questing – Your biggest hurdle in questing is your damage. You get almost nothing to buff your damage output as Holy, because you’re basically designed to be a healer. Using the Glyph of Smite becomes key for that reason, because increasing your damage output means you’re also spending less mana. Originally I had taken the Engineering profession to make use of explosives as a way to both increase my damage and decrease my mana consumption, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that it wasn’t necessary so I switched his professions.

Healing – Power Word: Shield and Renew are your best friends in this level range. I usually trade off between using those two, casting the next when the first wears off. Flash Heal is usually a waste of your mana, so you really want to save this for when there’s a real emergency. Heal is a great spell that I do use quite a bit thanks to its low mana cost. Mana is still an issue in the lower portion of this level range, so do your best not to using healing spells when they aren’t needed. You don’t have to top everyone off all the time if they’re not taking enough damage to require it.

Remember that your job as a healer is to help your group live long enough to kill the mobs. It’s not your job to see that everyone in the group has full health all the time, and it’s not your job to make sure nobody ever dies, you’re just there to keep people up until victory is achieved. Heal those who need healing in order for the group to be victorious. If you have a high DPS player who’s constantly pulling threat and causing you to spent a ton of mana to keep both them and the tank alive, let them die. You’re not there to enable morons, so save your mana for heals that matter and resurrect him when it’s over.

PvP – In PvP you’re usually going to need to rely more on your expensive heals and cut back on the slow, cheap heals. Bubbles and Flash Heals are very common in PvP, so expect to see your mana fluctuate a lot. In the 40′s you’re going to face Rogues, Warriors, Feral Druids, and Ret Paladins that are going to destroy you and everyone else. Melee DPS is incredibly powerful in the 40′s, so much so that I’m almost to the point that I refuse to even take part in PvP if my character is in the 40′s brackets.

Important Spells & Abilities
Note that all numeric values are taken from the level 29 version of the spell for the purposes of this post.

Level 30-39

  • Shackle Undead (32): Shackles the target undead enemy for up to 50 seconds. The shackled unit is unable to move, attack, or cast spells. Any damage caused will release the target. Only one target can be shackled at a time.
  • Shadow Word: Death (32): A word of dark binding that inflicts Shadow damage to the target. Deals three times as much damage to targets below 25% health. If the target is not killed by SW:Death, the caster takes damage equal to the damage inflicted upon the target.
  • Levitate (34): Allows the friendly party or raid target to levitate, floating a few feet above the ground. While levitating, the target will fall at a reduced speed and travel over water. Any damage will cancel the effect. Lasts 10 minutes.
  • Mind Vision (36): Allows the caster to see through the target’s eyes for 1 minute. Will not work if the target is in another instance or on another continent.
  • Greater Heal (38): A slow casting spell that heals a single target for 992 to 1152.
  • Mind Control (38): Controls a humanoid mind up to level 52, but increases the time between its attacks by 25%. Lasts up to 30 seconds.

I went ahead and listed Shackle Undead just because it’s really the only form of CC that you have access to. You’re not very likely to cast this while you’re leveling save for a few zones scattered here and there. There are a few dungeons that it’s useful in, such as Scholomance and Stratholme, but most of the time this spell is pretty useless. But, when you find yourself healing a group in Strath and the stupid tank refuses to taunt the stinking skeletons flinging Frostbolts at your face, a shackle will shut them down.

SW:Death is a great spell for finishing off targets who are low on health. The real benefit of the spell though is when you combine it with the Glyph of Spirit Tap, which causes SW:Death to restore 12% of your total mana when you kill a target with SW:Death. I suggest you grab that glyph the second you train this spell and start practicing the art of stealing all the killing blows. Just make sure you don’t accidentally kill yourself when casting it.

Levitate is a pretty cool buff, I especially like it for being able to walk on water. If you’ve ever read my Mage guides, you’ll also know I have a deep love for things that let me jump off of cliffs or dismount in midair and survive, so I love casting this thing all the time. The only drawback – you can’t jump when it’s active and that bugs me something fierce.

Mind Vision is a really cool spell, one that I absolutely love for PvP. Need to find out where your EFC is going to so you can heal him? Mind Vision! Need to know where the EFC is hiding so you can direct the assault team? Mind Vision! Need to help a group of clueless PUG’s in LFG find their way back to the group? Mind Vision!!! I use LFG a lot, and I’m real big on farming low level content for drops, mats, or to rush lowbies through it. This means I’m very familiar with almost every dungeon map and can guide people to the group through almost any of them. I had to do it twice in Scholomance as many players who started in late BC or after have never even been there.

Greater Heal takes a while to cast, but it’s the single largest heal we have. I typically use this on a tank who’s low on hit points, right after I bubble him, or when he’s currently immune to a new bubble and needs a large heal.

Mind Control is one of the most enjoyable spells we have. There are few things I love doing more in PvP than making someone jump off of a cliff and die. In PvE I like to use it in dungeons to injure certain adds, pull additional mobs, or provide my own group with buffs from the mob. You probably won’t use it a whole lot as a healer outside of PvP, but it can definitely be fun to play with. In places like Alterac Valley, it’s especially fun to Mind Control the enemy tank or healer and then watch your mini-boss destroy people.

Level 40-49

  • Prayer of Healing (44): A powerful prayer heals the friendly target’s party members within 30 yards for 367 to 387.
  • Binding Heal (48): Heals a friendly target and the caster for 564 to 724. Low threat.

Prayer of Healing is your first real AoE healing spell. It’s not great, but it’s pretty much like casting Heal on everyone at the same time. The good thing is, you’re getting that healing out to the whole team, the bad thing is, the heal itself is relatively weak. At this level range though, it will likely save you from a wipe if you need it. A very important note about this spell though, especially for PvP, is that it does not require line of sight to heal your team, so you can use it to heal through walls.

Binding Heal is a great spell. It costs the same amount of mana and cast time as Flash Heal so it’s definitely not cheap, but it heals for just a little bit less than Flash Heal and that healing hits both you and your target. It’s like poor man’s AoE, healing two targets instead of an actual area. The special thing to note about Binding Heal is that both of its heals essentially count as individual healing effects for the purpose of most procs that trigger off of healing or critical effects.

Leveling a Holy Priest

  • Questing Single Mob: Mind Blast, (HW: Chastise), Holy Fire, Smite spam, SW: Death
  • Questing Multi-Mob: [target 1] Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, [target 2] Mind Blast, Holy Fire, Smite spam, [when possible] SW: Death

Questing Single Mob
I pull with Mind Blast mostly because it’s cheap on mana and it has a short cast time. I often follow that up with Holy Word: Chastise to take advantage of it’s stunning effect while I cast the next spell, but with a 30 second cooldown it’s not always available and I don’t worry about it. Holy Fire does good damage with a short cast time, and it applies a DoT debuff. That debuff allows the Glyph of Smite to activate which increases Smite damage, which you’ll cast repeatedly (spam) until the target is dead or near death. At that point you want to finish off the target with Shadow Word: Death. Another of our glyphs, Glyph of Spirit Tap, restores 12% of your base mana over time when you kill a target with SW:Death.

If you’re healing in a dungeon you’ll use a similar rotation for damage if your tank has a lot of survivability and doesn’t need much healing. Whether you’re going to deal damage in dungeons or not, you still want to snipe every killing blow you can with SW:Death casts so that you can get the 12% mana regeneration from the Glyph of Spirit Tap. If you’re not using that glyph, then you don’t need to worry about getting the killing blows, but if you have mana issues then this is your most reliable solution.

Questing Multi-Mob
When I’m facing multiple mobs as Holy I do go ahead and use my DoT’s, but only on a single target. DoT the first target, burn the second one down, and then finish off the first with Smite spam. If you pull more than two, then still just DoT the first target and then leave him alone while you focus on the others so that your DoT’s can actually deal their damage and be worth the mana it costs to cast them.

The higher you get in level though, the less useful those DoT’s become. Now that I’m in Outland I find that casting those DoT’s doesn’t deal anywhere near enough damage to justify their mana cost, and they do very little in the way of actually helping me through the encounter or killing mobs faster. Damage is damage, but I don’t know that I’m actually saving any time at all by using them.

At this level rang, though, the DoT’s are at least pretty decent so go ahead and use them, but feel free to use your mana on bubbles/heals instead and just burn them down one at a time.

How to Heal: 49 Holy Priest
When you’re actually filling your healing role rather than questing it’s probably a good idea for you to have a clue how to actually, you know, heal. The numbers in the next section are based on the level 49 version of the spell, unmodified by talents or gear.

Healing Spells
Flash Heal: 28% base mana, 1.5 second cast, heals for 744-864
Power Word: Shield: 34% base mana, instant cast, absorbs damage
Renew: 17% base mana, instant cast, heals 145 every 3 sec for 12 sec.
Heal: 9% base mana, 3 second cast, heals for 372-432
Greater Heal: 27% base mana, 3 second cast, heals for 992-1152
Prayer of Healing: 26% base mana, 2.5 second cast, heals party members within 30 yards for 367-387
Binding Heal: 28% base mana, 1.5 second cast, heals target and caster for 564-724

Resurrect: 60% base mana, 10 second cast, non-combat resurrection
Cure Disease: 16% base mana, instant cast, removes 1 disease
Dispel Magic: 16% base mana, instant cast, removes 2 harmful magic effects

Your most expensive spell as a healer continues to be PW:Shield. The damage that it absorbs is pretty significant even though you’re not using a Discipline spec. I do use this quite a bit, but rarely will I use it on anyone other than the tank or myself. Flash Heal and Binding Heal are tied for the next highest base mana cost, and for cast time as well. Flash Heal restores more health to the single target, but Binding Heal restores almost the same amount of health and does so to both you and your target making it my usual preference if I’ve taken any damage at all.

Greater Heal is next on the list of highest mana cost, but it’s the single largest heal you have available to you. Talent points can cause some of your other heals (Flash and Binding) to reduce both the cast time and mana cost of this spell which can really help if you need to put out a lot of healing a short amount of time. It does have a long cast time, but the heal is worth it if you have either a bubble or a renew up to help bide the time you need to get this big boy off.

Prayer of Healing comes next, and thank the Light we finally have some AoE heals! Granted, it doesn’t heal for all that much, but it’s a shorter cast time than Heal and restores roughly the same amount of health as a Heal, except it does it to your entire party. Also, this heal does not require line of sight to heal your party, which is extremely useful in PvP especially. You can use this when fighting bosses in AV by standing on the other side of a wall or even outside the building all together. You can use it in Arenas when you’re pillar humping, or in WSG when your flag carrier is on the roof and you’re down in the flag room.

Talent Spec: 49 Holy Priest

  • Holy Concentration (+2) 3/3: Increases the amount of mana regenerated from Spirit while in combat by an additional 30%.
  • Divine Touch 2/2: Your Renew will instantly heal the target for 10% of the total periodic effect.
  • Lightwell 1/1: Creates a Holy Lightwell. Friendly players can click the Lightwell to restore health of 6 seconds. Attacks done to you equal to 30% of your total health will cancel the effect. Lightwell lasts for 3 minutes or 10 charges.
  • Spirit of Redemption 1/1: Upon death, the priest becomes the Spirit of Redemption for 15 seconds. The Spirit of Redemption cannot move, attack, be attacked or targeted by any spells or effects. While in this form the priest can cast any healing spell free of cost. When the effect ends, the priest dies.
  • Serendipity 2/2: When you heal with Binding Heal or Flash Heal, the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing spell is reduced by 20% and mana cost reduced by 10%. Stacks up to 2 times. Lasts 20 seconds.
  • Inspiration 2/2: Reduces your target’s physical damage taken by 20% for 15 seconds after getting a critical effect form your Flash Heal, Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, Penance, Prayer of Mending, Prayer of Healing, or Circle of Healing spell.
  • Chakra 1/1: When activated, your next Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Mind Spike or Smite will put you into a Chakra state (see below).

With mana problems still plaguing you, Holy Concentration can be a real Light-sent blessing by increases your mana regeneration during combat. I chose to go with Divine Touch next since Renew was still one of my primary forms of healing at that level, and having it heal for 10% of its effect right when you cast it gives us both a small form of instant healing as well as allowing the rotation of bubble > renew > bubble to be even more effective.

I decided to pick up Lightwell next because I finally started to get into situations where healing more than one person at a time was really important and not just because people were being stupid. When you get into dungeons in your 30′s and 40′s, particularly Scholomance, you’re going to start facing AoE damage a lot more. You’ll see some of that in instances like Shadowfang Keep earlier, and Maraudon later on as well. While Lightwell doesn’t actually provide any AoE healing, it does allow your entire party to get their own HoT effect on demand by clicking to activate it, and it really has become a wonderful addition to my healing abilities.

I decided to go ahead and pick up Spirit of Redemption (or Fail Angel as it’s often called) next, mostly because I was getting th crap kicked out of me in PvP and wanted some options to heal when things went bad for us, and also because I had a string of random queues where the freaking tanks had no idea what a taunt was nor how to generate AoE threat which meant my face was served up as an appetizer. Being able to heal even after you’re dead seems like more of a raid tool, but it really does help in other situations as well.

Serendipity is the talent I mentioned earlier in the article that allows you to reduce the casting time and mana cost of your Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing. The main reason I took this was, again, because of our otherwise lack of AoE healing abilities. When things get hairy I try to Flash Heal/Binding Heal the two most injured target, and then either use Greater Heal on a target near death or Prayer of Healing for a smaller heal on the whole group. Doing this gives me the ability to dish out a solid amount of healing across the entire party in a fairly short amount of time. I do find it more useful in PvP than in LFG, and it would be even more useful in a raid.

Inspiration is a talent that I skipped early on because I had no need to reduce damage on my tanks when they almost never took any damage in the first place. The further I got though, the more useful something like this would be, so I picked it up. Whenever you get a crit with almost any of your healing spells, the target gains 10% damage reduction for 15 seconds.

And the last talent we get in this level bracket is Chakra, which is a completely new feature in this expansion. When you cast one of the triggering spells (listed in the description above), you enter a Chakra state related to the triggering spell. This Chakra state is basically a buff that stays active until cancelled. I’ll give more detail in the next section, but basically using Chakra either makes you better at single target healing, AoE healing, or better at dealing damage while questing.

Substitution: Serendipity isn’t for everyone, and its not nearly as useful in 5 mans as it is in raids or PvP just because of the nature of what it does and how you have to trigger it. If you don’t want to take this on a character you’re just questing on or doing a lot of LFG, then switch these two points out for Tome of Light which will reduce the cooldown on your Holy Word spells by 15%, allowing you to use HW:Chastise (in particular) more frequently.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

Now that we get some instant healing to Renew from our talent points, the instant heal from the Glyph of PW:Shield seems an even better fit. I still did the majority of my healing through this level range with nothing more than bubbles and Renew, and I love this glyph. Renew is still another great option, and it is the one that I chose for my second slot at level 50, but until then I think PW:Shield is the better option.

Major Glyphs

  • Glyph of Spirit Tap: When you kill a target with your SW:Death and yield experience or honor, you instantly receive 12% of your total mana over 12 seconds.
  • Glyph of Smite: Your Smite spell inflicts an additional 20% damage against targets afflicted by Holy Fire.
  • Glyph of Psychic Scream: Targets of your Psychic Scream spell now tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear, but the cooldown of Psychic Scream is increased by 3 sec.

You’ll have to make a decision at level 32 as to whether you want to switch immediately to Spirit Tap or hold off until level 50 when you get your second set of glyph slots. If mana is still your main problem, then make the switch to Spirit Tap. If you’re doing just fine with your mana, then keep Smite if you’re going to do a lot of questing. If you’re more into dungeon running then Spirit Tap is probably your best choice, but Psychic Scream is still a really good option if you find there’s a need for AoE fear to be used.

My personal preference is to switch to Spirit Tap at level 32, and then add Smite back in when you reach level 50.

Minor Glyphs

Minors being minors, they all pretty well suck. Levitate is the most important one to me, personally, because I hate dealing with reagents, and it provides the most literal benefit. Reducing the casting cost of buffs is all fine and good, but you almost never need to reapply them during combat (outside of PvP) which means if you’re worried about the mana cost then you can just sit down right after buffing everyone and drink back to full.

Chakra
At this level you can only activate half of the real usefulness of Chakra, simply because the other half requires another talent point which you won’t get until level 51. However, Chakra is still useful by itself and it is important to know what it does and how to use it effectively. Since the next guide will include that talent point we’re missing, I’ll go back over Chakra and its interaction with the other half of it next time.

There are three Chakra states that you can enter, and which one you enter is triggered by a different group of spells. Each state also provides it’s own benefit.

Chakra State: Serenity
Trigger Spells: Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal
Effect: Increases the critical effect chance of your direct healing spells by 10%, and causes your direct heals to refresh the duration of your Renew on the target.

Serenity is the version that I use most often when healing dungeons. Making our direct heals 10% more likely to crit means more chances to proc other effects such as Inspiration, not to mention the increased healing in general that comes with that crit chance. It also allows direct heals to refresh Renew which means I can essentially recast Renew on my tank by casting Heal on them, which is only half the mana cost.

Chakra State: Sanctuary
Trigger Spells: Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending
Effect: Increases the healing done by your area of effect spells and Renew by 15% and reduces the cooldown of your Circle of healing by 2 seconds.

I don’t use Sanctuary all that often, but really only because I don’t see a ton of AoE damage. It does make Renew 15% better which is great, but I find Serendipity to be more useful in general. In this level range our only AoE heal is Prayer of Healing, so the only real benefit we receive is the extra healing from Renew compared to Serenity buffing all of our direct heals.

Chakra State: Chastise
Trigger Spells: Smite, Mind Spike
Effect: Increases your total damage done by Shadow and Holy spells by 15%.

Chastise is great for questing. It finally provides us with a damage buff that we’ve been missing all this time. And it’s basically a 15% damage increase across the board for us since it buffs both Holy and Shadow. It’s odd that a talent so deep in the Holy tree would buff Shadow spells, but who am I to argue with extra damage, right?

Gearing Up Your Priest
For Holy you’re looking first and foremost at Intellect on your gear. Intellect provides Spell Power, Mana, and Spell Crit, all of which you’re interested in. Next up is going to have to be Spirit because Priests will do struggle with mana at low levels. Haste comes next as it makes your Renew tick faster and it also allows your heals to cast faster which is really useful when your best filler heal has a base cast time of three seconds.

Cloth is your only option for gear of course, and lucky for us all cloth gear is caster gear, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. Weapons can be kind of hit and miss, though there are quite a few good staves that drop in dungeons. You can find some decent off-hand weapons from dungeons these days as well, but one-handed caster weapons are pretty rare at low levels.

Even though I have access to some of my Hand Me Down gear, a mace with +22 Intellect being one of them, I didn’t use them on the Priest because I wanted to be as pure as I could to what another player might be since Priests are well known for their mana issues right now.

Macros

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cast Smite
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

I use this type of macro for all of my attacks (Smite, Holy Fire, Mind Blast, SW:Pain, Devouring Plague) mostly so that I have an auto-target and auto-attack built into the spell cast.

#showtooltip
/cast [@focus] Power Word: Shield

This is my “heal with sammich” macro, it allows me to cast my bubble directly on my focus without having to bother with targeting and such. I set the tank as my focus as soon as the group is created and hit this button when the spell wears off.

I use a variation of this for Renew, Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal…basically all of my healing spells, as well so that I can easily heal an instance with one hand while eating a sammich with the other and watching YouTube on the second monitor. LFG can be pretty boring these days when you have a tank with fully enchanted heirlooms who also knows how to play their class well, and I use these when I’m bored and don’t feel like clicking Healbot.

 

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