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Category Archives: Races

WoW Ironman Challenge

Yesterday on twitter, Vrykerion asked: “How far do you think you could make it in WoW without ever equipping a green or higher item or spending a single talent point?”

I’ve asked myself similar questions before, so after mulling it over for a second I threw out my initial thoughts, “@Vrykerion depends very heavily on your class. I bet I could make it to Outlands at least in all whites/trash.” Which, to clarify, was me saying that I’m sure I could get to Outlands with every single class, but how far beyond that you could go would depend on the class.

We got a few more people to chime in on that discussion as well, during which I accepted the challenge and gave it a name: The WoW Ironman Challenge. Several of us talked about what rules should apply to such a challenge and then Vrykarion made it all official in his post (link in the challenge name).

Deciding to take this challenge means you have to choose your class, and to a somewhat lesser extent, your race.

The Rules
1. Use only white/grey items.
2. No spending talent points. No specialization at level 10. (Regular skill training is fine.)
2. No Primary or Secondary Professions other than First Aid.
3. No means of XP boosting (No Recruit-A-Friend, No Guild, and obviously no Heirlooms)
4. No consumable bonuses (food, potions, elixirs, etc) – Rogue Poisons allowed
5. No enchants.
6. No Groups. (Since clarification was requested: That means no dungeons, no Dungeon Finder, no battlegrounds, no anything that puts you in a group and no grouping up with people to quest or anything.)
7. No Death Knights.
8. No Glyphs

There you have it. No gear with stats on it (including enchants), no talent points or spec. No means of increasing your experience gains or having other people helping you. No items that boost your stats at all, including consumables. No professions other than First Aid.

We’re currently discussing whether Rogue’s should be allowed to use Poisons and whether or not we’re going to allow Glyphs to be used. Poisons fall under the category of consumables, but they’re also the Rogue’s form of class buffs (though why Blizzard doesn’t make them spells like the Shaman instead of purchased goods is beyond me). Glyphs we just overlooked initially so we’re bringing it up now just to be sure we’ve got everything covered. Updated with the answers to these questions. Rogue poisons will be allowed. Glyphs will not be allowed.

Initial Thoughts
My first thought with this was Troll Hunter. Hunter being the top choice because you can kite for days while dealing solid damage which can pretty well negate all of the disadvantages of taking the challenge in the first place. Troll because they deal extra damage to beasts as well as having increased regeneration which would further increase the advantages while minimizing the disadvantages.

I don’t think there’s an easier choice available for a challenge like this. Pet classes have a clear advantage since the pet can make up for some of your loss of damage, while also adding a level of defense. Casters would follow next, and melee bringing up the rear.

Horde racial abilities would be more helpful as they increase damage output. Some Alliance racials could prove rather useful, Draenei healing and Night Elf defenses in particular.

Races
I’ve had a fair amount of information concerning races on this blog over the years, and my time spent with twinks has made my racial min/maxing second nature. Generally speaking, Horde races have aggressive racial abilities that would help them in this challenge by adding power in combat that is otherwise lacking from gear without any stats. Alliance races typically have defensive racial abilities that would help them in the opposite manner, helping them survive the longer encounters.

Without going too much into detail, let’s look at the advantage that each race would bring to this particular challenge:

Alliance
Draenei: +1% Hit, 20% heal over 15 seconds,
Dwarf: +1% Crit with guns, 10% damage reduction that also removes poison/disease/bleed effects
Gnome: +5% mana pool
Human: +3% Spirit
Night Elf: -2% chance of being hit, Shadowmeld to allow combat reset
Worgen: +1% crit

Horde
Blood Elf: Defensive silence that also restores 6% mana or 15 Rage/Focus/Energy
Goblin: +1% Haste, can launch a rocket to deal ranged Fire damage
Orc: Increased Attack Power and Spell Power for 15 seconds, +5% pet damage
Tauren: +5% Health, 2 second AoE stun
Troll: +5% damage to beasts, +1% crit with bows/thrown, +10% health regeneration, +20% haste for 10 seconds
Undead: Restore 35% health and mana by consuming a corpse

The racial traits I listed are ones that help with this challenge in particular by providing stats you otherwise don’t have access to because of the gear restrictions, or which provide a benefit which can make up for that lack of gear-based stats.

Classes
Class choice is the most important piece of this puzzle. Choosing the right class can make this challenge much less challenging while choosing the wrong class can make it very difficult. In general, pet classes will have the most advantage followed by casters and then melee classes.

Pet classes (Hunters and Warlocks) have an advantage not only because they have a pet adding to their damage dealing or which can take hits for them, but also because they are more easily able to kite mobs which will allow them to eventually kill the targets no matter how low their own defenses may be. The Hunter is the top dog here because their spells are based on Focus, rather than mana, which restores itself over time which means that they can literally kite a mob for as long as it take them to kill it.

Casters have an advantage over melee because their damage is only based on their stats, both for the power of the spells as well as how many times they can cast it from a limited mana pool. Melee classes still have their power based on their stats, but their damage is based very strongly on their weapon damage. For some level ranges that’s not going to be much of an issue, but in the second half of Vanilla content some classes are extremely limited in their weapon selection for this challenge, which is going to make those level ranges significantly more difficult than they otherwise would be.

Druid: great versatility, great healing, good kiting, decent crowd control
Hunter: fantastic kiting, pet assistance, non-stat-based energy source
Mage: some kiting ability, great crowd control, “free” damage via Arcane Missiles, good buff spells
Paladin: great healing, great buff spells
Priest: great buffs, great healing, poor mana management
Rogue: good survivability, non-stat energy source
Shaman: good heals, great buffs, best stat versatility
Warlock: pet class, great crowd control, somewhat easily renewable energy source
Warrior: non-stat energy source, “free” healing, good buffs

My thoughts on how these classes are ranked, from easiest to hardest: Hunter, Warlock, Druid, Mage, Shaman, Warrior, Paladin, (Death Knight), Rogue, Priest.

I put the DK in there, even though we’ve disqualified them, because I think that’s where they would stand if you were to immediately replace all of their gear with grey/white items after rolling them and before doing any quests.

Research
Last night I did a little research on weapons, looking primarily at ranged weapons for Hunters and at interesting items I could use in slots such as jewelry. I had both better and worse results that I had expected going in.

For most classes, the weapon you use is going to be pretty key to your performance; casters being the exception. I knew going into it that low level white/grey weapons would be pretty easy to find because that’s what most of the gear at that level is until you start getting into greens and then blues from dungeon drops. I wasn’t expecting their availability to drop quite so drastically in the 30′s though.

Ranged weapons are pretty common up to level 31 at which point they become nearly non-existent until you reach Outlands. From level 31-59 there are only four ranged weapons available, and all four of them are trash items that drop from mobs, and the only one that has more than a 4% drop rate only has a higher (7%) drop rate if you kill elite mobs for it.

Once you get to level 60 you can buy a weapon that should serve just fine through all of the Outlands content, and other vendor weapons open up at 70 to get you through most of Wrath content. The best ranged weapons you can get for this challenge come from Cataclysm dungeons and raids, and can be equipped at level 74. They offer almost twice the DPS of everything you can get in Wrath content (101.6 DPS vs. 55.9). The bad news is, those level 74 trash drops are the best option you’ll have for the rest of the challenge.

I haven’t had a chance yet to do my research on the other classes, but I’ll get there before too long. For casters I’ll be looking at armor since weapons will be nearly pointless for all of them (Shaman and Druids being the exception). For melee classes I’m looking mostly at weapons since they are key.

Now You Tell Me
While my initial thoughts were to roll a Troll Hunter to overcome as much of the challenge’s pitfalls as I could, I’ve not actually decided what I’m going to roll for this challenge. I’m not sure yet whether I’m only going to do this once, or if I’m going to do it on multiple toons, either. Maybe I should go with the Hunter to see the challenge on easy mode and do another class as well to see just how hard it can really be.

I want your opinions on this challenge, though. What do you think will be good race and class combinations for this challenge? What combinations would you like to see me attempt with this? If you’re going to join in the fun, what combination(s) are you going to try out yourself?

I wouldn’t mind doing this on more than one toon, as I think it’s an interesting way to level the character that can show you how powerful a class truly is, or isn’t.

If you decide to join us in the Ironman Challenge, keep us informed of your progress through comments, email, twitter, or a blog of your own if you have one. I’m also opening my Notebook to anyone who accepts the challenge and would like to guest post their experiences with it here on my blog.

 

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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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Overlooked Changes

Today we’re going to look at some of the things that have changed in the recent patches that not everyone knows about. Blizzard did an excellent job of leaving things out of the patch notes this time around and it’s been a bit of an interesting search trying to find them all.

I’m sure I don’t have all of the things that have gone unnoticed listed here, so I certainly welcome your input on anything else you may have noticed that others seem to have missed, or which did not appear in any of the patch notes.

Mailboxes in Starting Zones
In case you aren’t aware, every starting zone now has a mailbox in it. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about their plans to roll new alts which include running to the next town to get their bags, gold and gear – but you don’t have to.

All of the mailboxes are pretty close to right where you load after creating the character. If you start a little ways off from where the first quest-hub is then that’s where you want to look as it’s generally right beside the main building in the first hub.

Generalized Professions Trainers
In those second towns that you used to have to go to in order to find your first mailbox, you’ll now find a new type of NPC called a Professions Trainer. They’re almost always located right beside the Trade Goods vendor if you need to know where to look.

These NPC’s allow you to ask about any of the actual professions, not tradeskills, to get a general idea of what they do and how they work. After asking about a specific profession you’ll also be able to train that profession from the NPC.

The good news is, you can no get started on any profession you want without having to hunt down your trainers in specific cities (looking at you, JC trainers). The bad news is, they can only train you up to skill level 75, and they will not train you in the next level of the profession. In order to progress you’ll have to find a trainer specific to your profession.

Dual Specialization and Class Trainers
You can now purchase a dual spec at level 30 (down from 40) and it now costs only 10g (down from 100g in beta, down from 1,000g in 3.5). You still get it from your class trainer, so if you need to know where to buy it just ask a guard for the nearest trainer.

You can also find class trainers for every class in all of your faction’s major cities. The one class that might be an exception to that is the Death Knight, and the only reason I don’t know is because I haven’t thought about looking. Having a portal directly to my trainers kind of removes the need for me to care about where else I can find them in the world.

Battlegrounds and Dungeons
Battlegrounds are now split up into level ranges of 5 rather than 10, so level 10-14 and 15-19 are two separate brackets now and so on up the level range, with 85 being in its own.

You can also queue for some battlegrounds at lower levels than you used to. I did a post on that earlier this week, so if you want the details on that you can read about them here.

That post also includes the new level ranges for the 1-60 dungeons. Most of them stayed the same or at least pretty close to what they were before, but others made some fairly significant changes. See Stratholme and Scholomance for some big eye-openers.

Alliance and Horde Racial Tabards
You can now purchase tabards for each of the 6 races of your faction, including the Goblin and Worgen that aren’t playable yet (for 5 more days, woot!). These tabards give you reputation for killing mobs inside dungeons – all mobs, in all dungeons, at all levels.

You can purchase the tabards in the major cities from vendors you’ll find near or next-to the flight master. Here’s a reference for where you need to go to buy each one:

Stormwind: Humans
Ironforge: Dwarves and Gnomes
Darnassus: Night Elves and Worgen
Exodar: Draenei

Orgrimmar: Orc, Troll, Goblin
Undercity: Undead
Thunderbluff: Tauren
Silvermoon City: Blood Elves

You get the most reputation from running dungeons of your own level, though it is possible to grind rep from dungeons both above or below your level as well.

If you start wearing a tabard and 15 and chain some random dungeons you should become Exalted after about 10 dungeons worth.

[Edit: One more thing about the tabard vendors - They're all riding the racial mount. So if you're heading to the flight master in SW and see an NPC on a horse that wasn't there before, he's likely the tabard vendor. If you go up to the flight master in Org and you see a Troll on a raptor next to an Orc on a wolf next to a Goblin in a tryke - you've just found the tabard vendors.]

Rare Spawns Give HUGE Experience
Thanks to my buddy @Etherjammer on twitter, it appears that Rare Spawns now give you about 15x as much experience as a normal mob of the same level when you kill them. So that’s roughly the value of a quest or two. I haven’t seen anything official on rare spawns, so maybe there’s a formula or maybe certain ones just have certain values or something. I’m not sure what’s going on in particular, but it’s safe to say that if you see a rare spawn – kill it. Or tame it, maybe, if you’re a hunter, but in general – kill it.

Guild Professions Lists
I still see people asking around for links from certain guild members, or asking if anybody has Profession A and so on. If you pull up your guild window you can select “Professions” from the dropdown box up at the top and then view the professions and recipes of everyone in the guild. There’s a checkbox in the bottom-left corner of the guild window that lets you toggle online and offline players, so you can even see the professions of people that aren’t currently logged in.

The new professions windows also allow you to search. Typing words into the professions search window will bring up any items in that profession that contain the word(s) either in the title or in the description. You can also do a search by materials. For instance, if you can’t remember the exact name for that special twink/BoA strength enchant, but you do remember that it uses Righteous Orbs, then you can type “righteous orb” into the search window and it will pull up the Crusader enchant if the person knows it.

If you do a search and don’t get any results then you can repeat that search for the rest of the guild members listed as having that profession. I’m told there’s supposed to be a way to do a guild-wide search with the professions windows, but I haven’t gotten it to work yet so I don’t know if it’s just broken or if it’s not really implemented. But either way it’s not working for me right now.

Dungeon Quests
In running random dungeons I still have people asking the party to share quests. As far as I’m aware, all of the dungeon quests that require you to actually be inside the dungeon are given to you inside the dungeon itself. So if you zone into the entrance of a dungeon and there aren’t any quests for you to get, it’s because you’ve already done them all or you aren’t eligible for them.

There are still some quests that send you to the area where the dungeon is found that still get listed as being in or from that dungeon, but they’re completed outside of it so sharing them would do you no good anyway. If someone drops group in the middle of the dungeon and another person comes in to replace them, then you do want to share with that person since they zone in next to you instead of at the entrance where the quest givers are located.

The slight exception to this rule is found in the next section.

Class Quests
The old class quests are gone, but there are new class quests available to take their place. The first of these quests is available at level 20 and from what I’ve seen they all involve going to SFK to get certain items. The reward for all of these that I’ve seen on my own toons so far is a weapon or off-hand item.

There is at least one other class quest that you get like this that requires a higher level, but I’ve only found it so far on my 80 Mage so I’m not positive what the level requirement is.

The class quests come from your class trainers in the major cities. I’m not sure if you can get the quests for trainers found in other locations or not.

Flight Paths [Edit: Added]
My thanks to @Christman for reminding me about the flight paths. There are now Flight Masters/Paths in all of those 2nd towns I mentioned above (examples: Sin’jin Village, Razor Hill, Kharanos, Goldshire, Bloodhoof Village, etc).

You can also see all of the flight paths on your map now, for both factions. In order to see them you have to have either explored the part of the map that those flight paths are located in, or have an addon that removes the unexplored effect from your map.

I use the Mapster addon which shows me the full map and allows me to put a transparent, colored “fog” over the sections that I haven’t actually explored yet. So I’m able to see the full map, including flight paths for both factions, at all times and I have a green colored fog that hangs over portions I haven’t explored yet so that I can track that as well.

Reduced Cost: Respecialization [Edit: Added]
Another thing I just remembered is that the cost to respec has been changed. It’s not longer a set amount that increases each time you do it, the cost is now based on your character’s level.

I haven’t done it enough or on a broad enough level range to figure out what calculation they might be using for it, but I did a respec on a level 13 Priest and it cost me 11s and some change.

 

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Leveling Overview: Cataclysm 1-10

Beta Build: 4.0.1.12942
Spoiler Types:
– New features
– Low level class abilities or traits
– General impression of starting areas (no specific lore)

With my beta key firmly in hand, and the client downloaded and installed (after 38 hours), a lot of my leveling now is done in the beta rather than the live, and it’s most likely going to stay that way. I don’t want to leave the blog hanging or go off in another direction with it, so I’m going to keep right on blogging about leveling, just with a Cataclysm touch in mind instead.

I’m going to stay away from spoilers as far as the game itself goes, but I am going to talk about new abilities, where you get them, how you get them, and so on and so forth. There will be some small spoilers in relation to those topics, so if you don’t even want to know what abilities are changing and such, then you’ll probably want to ignore me for a couple more months until it comes out live. I’ve said it since Cataclysm was revealed to us in BlizzCon 2009, that it will launch in November and I still believe that that is true.

Each post that I make in relation to Cataclysm prior to its actual launch will have a disclaimer at the top noting which type of spoilers (if any) you’ll find in the post, along with the beta build number associated with the information in the post.

For this post I’m going to talk about leveling for all of the races and classes up to level 10, just to give you an idea of how they’re going to feel coming right out of the box.
Turn the page to find out more…

 

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Plans for Cataclysm

I’m looking ahead a bit towards Cataclysm right now, trying to decide what I want to do. Me being me, the first thing I’m probably going to do is run a ton of alts and not even bother looking at end game. I might rush my Mage or Druid to 85 for the sake of doing it and getting some gold from the new profession mats, but most of my time will initially be spent on trying out all the new starting areas.

I know without a doubt that I want to level one of every race, and one of every class to at least level 20. That much I know for sure. What I haven’t set in stone just yet, is which races with be teamed up with which classes. So today that’s what I’m aiming to do is to solidify, or at least narrow down, those choices and set a firm plan for the new expansion.

These combinations are because I want to see the game from each class’s and race’s perspective. The characters that get rolled for this will end up getting deleted almost without exception. After reaching 20 with them all I’ll delete them and then reroll the ones I really like on my real server(s) to actually play them and level them beyond 20.

Existing Knowledge
We know we’re getting some new combinations of races and classes in Cataclysm, and while there are still several things that might change in it, here’s what we know so far for new combinations:

Orc: Mage
Undead: Hunter
Tauren: Paladin, Priest
Troll: Druid, Warlock*
Blood Elf: Warrior

Human: Hunter
Dwarf: Mage, Shaman, Warlock*
Night Elf: Mage
Gnome: Priest
Draenei: nothing at all…

*Warlock: Recent blue posts indicated that Warlock has been added to Dwarf and Troll, which are the only combinations (that I know of) that have been added since the initial announcement in Blizzcon ’09.

From that list alone there are already some that draw my attention, and some that I couldn’t care less about. The ones I have no interest in are: Orc Mage, Tauren Priest, Troll Druid. The rest I’m at least somewhat interested in or excited about, and a couple I’m really excited to try out. Neither of the Tauren options really do anything for me, but I think that’s because I’m not a huge cow fan to begin with. Surprisingly I’m actually excited about all three Dwarf options as well as the Gnome addition. Surprising because those are two of my least favorite races in the game.

We also know that we’re gaining two new races which have their own class combinations.

Worgen: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Priest, Rogue, Warlock, Warrior
Goblin: Hunter, Mage, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior

My initial thoughts during last year’s Blizzcon were Worgen Druid and Goblin Shaman, straight out of the box. Since then I’ve changed quite a bit.

I’m not super thrilled about the Worgen Druid idea anymore. I might go ahead and do it, especially if I decide to level Feral this time, but I’m just not quite sure. Adding wolf to the mix of possible forms for the druid sounded really cool, but since my existing druid is an inscriptionist I can already turn myself into a wolf so it’s not quite as appealing from that standpoint. While I like the shapechange mechanic of the Worgen, I don’t really like how that plays out for casters. I don’t quite see the whole “I cast stronger spells because I now have teeth and furs!” thing makes sense. It’s sort of like the Orc racial in that regard where yeah it still works, but eh, only just.

Goblins I’m just really not all that into. I like some of the things we’ve seen about their starting area, but…I don’t know, they just don’t appeal to me. I may end up going with the generic Goblin Rogue and turning him into my Horde bank alt, but the more I think about it Warlock seems a more appropriate feel for them as I picture a Voidwalker or Felguard standing watch over me as I take care of my transactions. Hunter, Mage, and Priest just don’t scream “goblin” to me, so I’m not thrilled there at all.

Looking over the list right now I’m leaning towards…Feral Druid, BM Hunter, SPriest, or Warrior for the Worgen, and Sub Rogue, Elem Shaman, or Warlock for the Goblin. Though I don’t like the idea of Worgen casters much, I love the thought of a shadow priest look applied to the wolfman. Other options for the goblin just don’t appeal to me.

Decisions, as They Stand Now
The combinations I know for sure that I want to level in Cataclysm is pretty small. If they made some other combinations open up, such as the Night Elf Warlock, I’d be all over that. Since they haven’t though, this is the list I’m going to work with for now, and if things change then things change.

Druid: Night Elf (Worgen)
The ones in parenthesis are ones that I’m considering as replacements. I know I want to level another Druid, but I’m not sure on the race. I do know it’s not going to be a flipping Troll with their hideous skins as they are right now. I really wanted to roll a Worgen Druid when Blizzcon announced it, but now I’m not that into the idea. It’s still a possibility though given that I’m not super thrilled about rolling yet another Night Elf Druid.

Hunter: Human and Undead
I don’t have the slightest clue how in the world we’ve come this far in the game and still not seen Human Hunters. I mean…seriously? Human’s can’t kill things with a bow by now? It’s about time, so I’m going to make it so. I’m also rolling an Undead Hunter because it’s one of the two combinations I’ve always wanted for the Undead. They haven’t given us Undead Paladins yet, but I’m not giving up hope on that one. One of these days, to Fel with the lore, I’ll have an Undead Paladin.

Mage: Draenei (Night Elf, Troll, Undead)
The mage is going to be a Draenei, but I really don’t know why. Actually, I do know why. I don’t like Spacegoats, but I had to use one somewhere to see their new starting area. They make good Mages (nothing like throwing a racial HoT on yourself before casting Ice Block to get the full heal without fear of dying after all. I’ve always been curious about a Night Elf Mage since Shadowmeld is such a wonderfully useful ability, so it’s still a possibility. I may go Troll if I don’t feel like another Warlock, or possibly Undead just because I love Undead so much.

Paladin: Tauren (Human)
Paladin isn’t a very hard choice. Since cows are getting the priesthood I figured I might as well roll one and give that cowtank a shot. Human is really the only other race I care to have as a Paladin that we have access to. I’d take Undead in a heartbeat if they gave it to us, and the same for Orc, but they haven’t so I can’t.

Priest: Gnome and Blood Elf (Priest)
Priest gets two races this time around. The Gnome simply because I don’t want a Gnome of any of the other classes available to them. I hate Gnomes. They’re the only race that comes close to Trolls on my hate list. I know some of my tweeps love them, but not me. I could handle their size, and the squished look of their gear if they would just change their voices and stupid sayings like, “My! You’re a tall one!” I hate them, but I have to see their starting area so I’m rolling one anyway.

Priest also goes to Blood Elf because I love the male’s cast animation for healing spells. I think the spiffy twirly braids of the female dwarf is the only animation that comes close. If something looks stupid I can’t play it even if it’s cool. If something looks cool, I can play it even if it sucks (to some degree).

Rogue: Worgen (Night Elf, Goblin)
Rogue goes to the Worgen where I can be both agile and brutal at the same time. It’s one of the best combinations for the race in my opinion. I hate that their racial ability makes their spells stronger from a believability standpoint. I just don’t see how my fireballs would hurt any more than normal just because I suddenly get hairy and grow fangs; it just doesn’t compute with me. So I’m going melee with them instead.

Shaman: Dwarf (Goblin)
Shaman is for Dwarves. I gave a lot of thought to making my Dwarf a Mage or possibly a Warlock. Mage was my initial thought as a nod to one of my favorite fantasy series, the one that got me started on them in the first place, The Belgariad which was written by the late David Eddings. In that book was a twisted, disfigured dwarf “mage” named Beldin who worked some of the most beautiful magic in the world as a balance to his ugliness. He turned into beautiful creatures and he was a horrible, disgusting figure when in his natural form. I love the character and the image. His most well known animal form is a blue banded hawk, so if Dwarves could be Druids I would leap at the opportunity. Since they can’t be druids though, I’m going to combine Beldin with another character from the books, Belgarath, which was another “mage” and known for taking the form of a wolf. So I’m ditching the Mage class for the Spirit Wolf form of the Shaman and using the Dwarf race to tie the two together into one.

Warlock: Goblin and Troll
Warlock of the Demonology variety goes to the Goblin because while I see most people going Rogue with them for bank alts, I’m going Warlock because I picture my Goblin not as a thief but more as a loan shark. And rather than slitting your throat and stealing your purse, I’m just going to have my big friend here, the Felguard, bash in your face if you don’t give me my money back. Now here’s the 10g you need and I expect to have 50g from you sitting on my desk by Tuesday morning.

Warlock of the Affliction variety goes to the Trolls. My most hated race in the entire game. There’s really nothing at all that I like about this race. I’m going to take them anyway though so that I can have him dance with his Imp. I don’t want to miss any of the starting areas from their race’s perspective, otherwise I wouldn’t be rolling one to begin with.

Warrior: Orc
Warrior is the favored class of the Orc. It’s a strong, brutal race of warriors and that’s the kind of thing I can really get into. When I think Orc, I think big axes and splitting skulls, and right now the Warrior is the best class available to them for doing that.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2010 in Class, Leveling, Races

 
 
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