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Guide to Walatiki Temple

Walatiki Temple is the first battleground, or Practice Ground, that you get access to in Wildstar. It becomes available for play at level 6, with the first bracket being levels 6-14, the second 15-29, then 30-49, and finally level 50. Walatiki Temple is a 10 v 10 matchup against the opposing faction. Each match lasts for 30 minutes, or until a team manages to capture 5 masks.

In this guide, I want to teach you the basics of this map and give you an idea of what PvP feels like in Wildstar. I will talk about some of the basics of strategy, but I don’t plan to go into too much detail beyond which methods of capturing the masks are best for which situation, and how things like guarding your masks is important.

I will cover the different parts of the map, how to utilize them, where to find the buffs, different routes to take for capturing the flag, timers for respawning after death, timers for masks to spawn or despawn, and some basic strategies for playing the game.

Turn the page to find out more…

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2014 in Guide, Player vs Player, Wildstar

 

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SWTips: Part I

The last few weeks I’ve put a lot of time into playing Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) and today I’m finally getting around to sharing some of my experiences with you.

I know that most of my readers come here for WoW related information on leveling and heirlooms, but for the immediate future I’m shifting gears over to SWTOR. I signed up for WoW’s annual pass so I’ll still be playing WoW at least until October 2012, and hopefully we have a chance to experience Mists of Pandaria by then to see whether or not there’s a chance that I’ll continue longer. For the time being I’ll be breaking my first rule of MMO gaming, which is that I never play more than one game at a time. All of that is for another post and another day.

This is going to be the first SWTips (SWOH-tips) post in which I share all of the nifty little tricks that I’ve found that can help you. This first post is going to be a bit of everything that I’ve found so far instead of being directed at a specific activity or something because I’m more eager to just share some information with you than I am to break this up into several posts.

Also, I’ll apologize in advance for the poor selection of screenshots. Apparently I’ve only taken seven since I started playing, and six of those are of PvP scoreboards. I’ll…try to fix that.

Classes & Advanced Classes
I wanted to start off with this one because it’s probably the hardest thing for people to wrap their heads around if they’re coming from other MMO’s.

SWTOR has 4 base classes per faction. Each faction’s base classes have unique names, but they’re actually the same classes on both sides with different names for everything.

Republic Trooper = Empire Bounty Hunter
Republic Jedi Knight = Empire Sith Warrior
Republic Smuggler = Empire Imperial Agent
Republic Jedi Consular = Empire Sith Inquisitor

Each of those base classes holds the key to the confusion, because at level 10 you choose to take an Advanced Class (AC). Each base class has two advanced classes, and choosing one prevents you from ever having access to the other. So basically the base class is like a tutorial to give you a feel for two different play styles at once. Once you reach level 10 you drop your base class and move on to your advanced class – for ever.

With 2 AC’s for every base class we’re really left with 8 unique classes for people to be. You’ll always be a Sith Inquisitor if that was your base class, but you’re actually either a Sorcerer or an Assassin as far as what your actual class is because it’s your Advanced Class that defines your character.

Each AC has it’s own set of three talent trees to spend points in, and even though one of the three trees is “shared” between both AC’s for every class, the talents themselves often change between the two AC’s. So while both the Sorcerer and Assassin have access to the Madness tree, the talents within that tree work differently for both specs because they’re completely different (caster vs. melee).

As the game stands right now you can pay to reset your talent points, so there is an option to repsec. However, there is (currently) no dual spec option so if you want to switch roles you’ll have to respec. Bioware has discussed, but so far declined, the possibility of changing your Advanced Class. At this time you cannot change your AC once you’ve selected it. So if you decide to be a Sith Assassin, you cannot become a Sith Sorcerer without rolling a new character. While I would personally like to have this ability, I can understand why they would not allow it and I will support their decision on how to handle it either way.

A lot of people get a bit upset at not being able to switch their AC, and that’s perfectly understandable. With the way that classes are handled though, if you were to relate this to WoW you’re basically asking for the ability to class change your Mage into a Rogue, or your Druid into a Warrior, your Death Knight into a Priest. Advanced classes are like classes unto themselves, and asking for the ability to change them on the fly is a bit much.

That being said, with how AC’s are handled in the first place, it can really suck for people to invest time into a character that could be either a Rogue or a Priest only find out at level 20 that you really wish you would have chosen the other AC, or you find that your guild needs a healer but you chose an AC that can only tank and dps and your only option is to reroll another character.

Free Experience
There’s a lot of “free” experience to be had in SWTOR. “Free” meaning that all you have to do is click on something and you get experience for it. These are typically called Codex entries which basically means that you’re exploring and learning about the galaxy.

You get codex entries for all kinds of things. Killing strange creatures, clicking on glowy blue objects, accomplishing objectives in PvP warzones, or talking to special NPC’s. Your character will make codex entries for those which gives you experience and gives you a place to look up information about the subject.

Glowy Blue Items: if you see something in the world that’s glowing with a dull, blue light – click on it. It’s either a quest item that you need anyway, or it’s a lore item that’s going to give you experience for a codex entry. These things come in all shapes and sizes from little datapads the size of your hand to massive rock formations. If it’s glowing, click it.

Monster Codex: If you’re out exploring and you see a strange creature roaming about – click it. In some cases you just need to be close to it and click it, and others you have to attack and kill it. If clicking doesn’t do anything, try to kill it. If you get an entry you get more experience, and if you don’t then just move on and ignore those creatures unless you have a quest to kill some more. Don’t just go for monsters that have health bars though, you can also get entries for friendly beasts.

Datacrons: These will have their own section further below since they’re kind of a big deal, but these are a great source of free experience with the added bonus of also increasing your attributes. Datacrons can be found on (I believe) every planet in the game, and there’s anywhere from 3-6 datacrons on each one. Some datacrons are incredibly easy to reach while other require extensive amounts of jumping, running, navigation, and even team work in order to reach them. I’ll give you some links for how to find these in the Datacrons section down below.

Training Crew Skills: When you first arrive at the Imperial/Republic fleet for the first time on a new character you’ll receive a quest to go train your crew skills and to talk to one of your trainers a second time after choosing the profession. However, since crew skills give codex entries, you’ll get free experience from talking to every skill trainer regardless of which three you’re going to choose and whether or not you’ve already chosen/accepted them. Take a peek at the Crew Skills section below for a tip on how to gain three levels just from talking to these guys.

[Update: Added] Companion Story/Dialogue Quests: As you start to gather your companions you’ll notice that every now and then they’ll want to talk to you someplace private. These take place in either a cantena or on your ship, and your companion will have a quest marker when they’re available. These quests allow you to get to know your companion more, build affection (or lose it) with them, and sometimes assign them special positions or roles within your character’s story. Every time you complete a portion of your class quest that’s somewhat significant, there’s a good chance that at least one of your companions wants to have a chat with you. Quests are quests, and that means experience.

PvP: Player versus Player Combat
PvP is something that I’ve been a huge fan of in WoW for the last 2-3 years and something that I’ve really enjoyed in SWTOR so far as well. In fact, I think I might even go so far as to say that I prefer SWTOR PvP to WoW PvP and that’s actually saying quite a bit.

No Brackets: Right now there is only one PvP bracket, meaning that all characters that can participate (level 10-50) will face each other in the same bracket. There is a mechanic in place, Bolster, which evens the playing field stats-wise (for the most part) so that the only difference between a level 10 and a level 50 is that the level 50 has access to 40 extra levels worth of spells. Don’t let level differences fool you though, it’s entirely possible for a level 10 to kill a level 50 in a 1v1 fight with Bolster. It’s not necessarily likely, but it is possible.

No Cross Server Queues: Because there’s no brackets, there’s also no cross server grouping. Instead, every time you step foot into a warzone, you’re facing other players on your server. Their main reason for doing this was to establish a community. When you’re facing the same batch of people over and over in PvP, you start to recognize names. This was something that had me a bit concerned when I first saw it, but after having experienced it I find that I actually love this feature. This is the one saving grace of Huttball after I got burned out on it, because you can face your own faction there. There are two people that I’ve developed a relationship with in SWTOR PvP because of these two features combined.

One of them I’ve only ever been teamed up with, but as we’re both healers we’ve done some of the most amazing node defense and defending the ball carrier that I’ve ever seen. The other is with an Imperial Agent who I frequently have both on my team and on the opposing team. When we’re working together we can take down level 48’s while we’re in our teens, but while facing each other we’re both the number one kill target for the other. Unfortunately for him, I have stealth.

Bolster: This is a buff that raises your stats to be comparable to those people who are higher level than you in the warzone. Bolster’s buff is percentage based, so it increases your current stats by the percentage associated with your level. What that means is, when you’re in gear that’s appropriate for your level, Bolster will make you as strong as a level 50 character in level-appropriate gear. If you’re undergeared though, that percentage doesn’t increase itself to make up for your lack of gear, it just increases your weaker stats. So if you’re level 14 in level 14 gear, you’ll be about the same as a level 50 in level 50 (non-PvP) gear, but if you’re a level 20 in level 15 gear then you’ll be roughly as strong as a level 50 in level 38 gear.

Resolve: Is a bar that shows up under players’ nameplates that marks how much crowd control (CC) they’ve been hit with recently. When that bar is full (it’s a whitish-bluish color) that player is immune to CC. There is a lot of CC in SWTOR and almost every class has several CC abilities by level 10 (melee force users don’t get reliable CC until level 24). Watch your opponent’s resolve bar carefully when you’re trying to decide whether it’s best for you to CC them or go for the kill as you may find that going for the kill is your only option and that one wasted global cooldown on CC when they’re immune can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Rewards: PvP is actually incredibly rewarding, especially at lower levels. Each victory will earn you roughly 1,000 credits, 40-90 commendations which can be used for gear upgrades, and experience that’s pretty close to what you would get from on-level quests. You can get your first PvP weapon at level 14, and it will take you 5-10 warzones worth of commendations to purchase it, but it will be significantly better than anything else you can get your hands on at that level. Level 20 is when the first set of armor becomes available which is also extremely powerful. Now, just to clarify here, this gear does not have the PvP stat Expertise on them, they’re just gear pieces that you can get only through PvP. Expertise is only available on level 50 PvP gear.

Expertise: This is the PvP stat, the one that increases your performance in PvP-only, and has no effect at all on PvE. This is only available at level 50, and it’s the one thing that make level 50’s harder to kill in PvP than anyone else. Right now a level 50 with full PvP gear on can defend a node form 4-6 people by themselves. BioWare is working towards splitting the level 50’s off into their own bracket once there are enough 50’s to actually have a bracket, but until then this is the major source of imbalance in PvP right now.

PvP: Warzones
There are three warzones in SWTOR at this time, and they should all have at least some amount of familiarity if you’ve done PvP in other MMO’s.

Alderaan: This is a resources map similar to Arathi Basin or Battle For Gilneas if you’re a WoW player. There are three nodes (left, right, and mid) and you need to stay in control of any 2 of those for the majority of the fight in order to win. You can see who controls which nodes as well as the current standing of each team by looking at the icons in the top-right corner of your screen. Your turrets and your bar are colored green, your opponents’ is colored red, and uncontrolled turrets are grey. The longer you control the turret nodes, the more damage they deal to the opponent’s ship, and the faster you win.

The best tip I can give you for this warzone is to always cap the node from the opposite side of the enemy spawn locations. The nodes themselves grant Line of Sight, so unless the opponent has an AoE that they can target to get around the node, they have to spend extra time running in order to get to you and that extra time can be the deciding factor in capping a turret. People are constantly trying to capture these nodes at the wrong angle and letting the enemy hit them with a basic ranged attack to prevent a capture that they could have easily had if they would have taken 2 steps to the side.

Actually, the best tip I could give you is something that’s been chiseled into the foundation of the world since PvP became PvP – FIGHT ON THE FLAGS! Always, always, always fight on the flags. Never let your flag be captured because you weren’t paying attention or weren’t able to react in time because you were too far away from the node.

There’s a lot I could talk about in regards to the layout of this warzone and how to get around quickly and such, but I think I’m going to leave that for an actual Alderaan-specific guide that I’ll write later.

Voidstar: This is a defend and assault style map where each side gets a chance at being both offense and defense. It’s basically Strand of the Ancients for you WoW players. There are three walls that you have to get through in order to reach a computer terminal which is the primary objective. You get through the walls by planting bombs (8 second timer) which then have a 20 second countdown before they explode. The defenders are trying to prevent you from planting bombs in the first place, or defusing them (3 second timer) once you do get them up before they blow the doors open. Once one door is opened in a section, all the doors in that section open and push combat into the next section.

The second and third sections each have another gating mechanic that requires another 8 second timer to open the gate to reach the doors in the first place, but those happen instantly if you get the 8 seconds completed. There are two gates in the second section, and three in the third. Gates are opened singularly, so if you open only the left gate in section 2, the right gate stays closed. As an attacker, you want to open all of the gates, where the defender wants to keep all of them closed only until one is opened at which point their focus should be strictly defending the final doors.

Stealth classes have an edge in this map because they can maneuver around the map and plant a bomb while the defenders are away. That’s why defense and fighting on the flags is so important in this match. You should never leave the doors unguarded if you’re defending. Zerg tactics can sometimes work on this map, but team composition can make a huge difference as well. The team that the most AoE and/or the most CC typically wins.

Huttball: This is the capture the flag map, but with a twist – the flag can be passed around. There isn’t really a true enough equivalent to this warzone in WoW, the closest being Warsong Gulch, but I’m told there’s a somewhat similar map in Rift. I did play Rift, but I never did any PvP so I wouldn’t know. The point here is to grab the neutral ball from the middle of the field and carry it to your opponent’s side of the field to score a point. Killing the ball handler will cause the ball to be passed to a nearby member of your team (I think the person who gets the killing blow gets the ball, but I’m not positive), otherwise you’ll pick it up from the spawn point in mid.

There are 4 levels in Huttball. Ground level which has access to all of the other three and contains two acid pits which deal damage and apply a slow effect to anyone inside them as well as two air traps which launch players in random directions around midfield. The Pit, which is the lowest level and is located in front of the goal area by with no immediate access to the goal. Middle Ramp which has one entrance from the ground floor and then two exits onto the scoring portion of the ground floor, and also contains two fire traps on both sides of the field that deal significant damage. And the upper/outer Ramps that are accessed on the outer edges of the ground floor in midfield, which also contain two fire traps on both sides, and has a single exit onto the scoring side of the pits on the ground level.

Because of the multiple levels and the damaging terrain of this warzone, ranged classes have a definite advantage here. Crowd Control is even more deadly on this map than raw DPS thanks to the hazardous terrain, and knockbacks can really screw with your clutch flag captures.

My most important tip for Huttball is to put the spell to throw the ball somewhere on your action bars where it’s easy to get to. The spell name is “Throw the Huttball” and it does just that. It should show up on your bars by default when you entire Huttball for the first time. If your bars are full though, you can find it on the General tab of your skills window. I have my Throw button assigned to my ‘R’ keybind because I want it as accessible as possible when I’m playing Huttball. If you have the ball and you’re low on health, pass it off to a teammate. If you’re in a bad position and someone else is near the goal, pass it. Do not try to be a hero in Huttball. It’s better to pass the ball and get a point than to try to force your way through four opponents only to die with your face on the goal line and the ball in enemy hands.

Throwing the Huttball does require you to click on a target area when you activate it, you can’t just pass it directly to another team member. If your team is in the AoE they should receive the ball so long as they’re not in stealth. If you’re going to die and there’s nobody on your team to pass it to, you should do your best to pass the ball to an open spot on the map so that it’s reset to the middle of the field instead of falling into enemy hands.

If you’re still confused by all of that, just wait for my post on Huttball where I’ll go into a lot more detail and include screenshots and such.

Companions
Companions are sort of like pets/minions from other games, except that every class gets 5 (6) of them throughout the the game. Each class gets specific companions and they are given to you at specific points in your class quest storyline. You’ll get your first companion between levels 7-12 depending on which class you are and how strongly you stick to your class quest versus every other quest out there. Your second companion, the one who’s only a partial companion (no combat skills) comes with your ship which you’ll get someone in your mid-to-upper teens. The third and fourth companions vary somewhat between the classes as far as what level or what stage of your class quest you get them at, but you should get them in your 20’s. For example, my Trooper has 3 companions while my wife’s Smuggler has only 2, even though we’re at the same stage of our class quests.

You can have only one companion actively helping you in combat at a time. The number of companions you can have sent out on Mission quests (see below) or crafting items for you at one time is based on your level. You can only have two companions crafting/questing until you reach level 25 and open up the third.

Remember, companions are tied to your class quest, so if you’re eager for more companions you should consider cutting back on all of the other quests in the area and focus just on your class chain. There are way more quests available than you need to level to 50 anyway, so don’t feel like you have an obligation to do every quest on every planet before moving on. You can always come back later.

For a great source of companion information, I direct you to swtor-spy.com.

Presence: This is a stat that you’ll find on some pieces of gear which gives no direct benefit to you. This stat instead increases the health, damage, and healing abilities of your companions. If you like to play solo, then this is a good stat for you to stack if you like having your companion out to give you a hand. If you’re more of a group player this you can ignore this stat since companions count against your total group size.

Affection: Is a rating of how well your companions like you (or how much they hate your rotten guts). This increases (or decreases) the success rate of the companion’s Mission quests and impacts the roleplay options you have with that companion, including a chance for romance where it’s available.

Skill Efficiency: This increases the companion’s success rate with a certain skill and also decreases the amount of time it takes them to accomplish it. A mission may say it will take 4 minutes, but with a companion with high efficiency in that skill it may only take 3.5 minutes. Each companion has their own efficiency/critical scores that are already tied to specific crew skills and you cannot do anything to change which skills or what type of bonus they have.

Skill Critical: This increases the chance that your companion will have extra or increased rewards when utilizing your Crew Skills.

Crew Skills
Crew Skills are SWTOR’s version of professions, and for the most part I love them. You, as the player, select three Crew Skills that your Companions will have access to. You get three, and only three. Of those three, only one of them can be a Crafting skill (you don’t have to have a crafting skill, you just can’t have more than one on the same character).

Crafting Skills: Armortech, Armstech, Artifice, Biochem, Cybertech and Synthweaving. These professions all craft gear, consumables, or item mods. You can only have one of these per character. You don’t actually craft anything yourself, your companions do all of the crafting for you.

Gathering/Mission Skills: Archaeology, Bioanalysis, Scavenging, Slicing. These professions are all used to gather items while you’re out questing, and they can be used as mission skills to get specific types of items. Both you and your companions can gather nodes while you’re out in the world(s), but only your companions can go on the Mission quest portion. With the exception of Slicing, these professions all give you the basic materials required by the crafting professions.

Slicing gathers lockboxes which most often contain credits, though it can also give you access to schematics and mission quests for all of the other professions. Slicing received a nerf in the most recent patch 1.0.1 which significantly reduced the amount of credits you can farm with it. Prior to that nerf, I was able to farm 100,000 credits on my level 23 Trooper. After that nerf I get about the same amount of credits from a day’s worth of farming that I used to get in about 3 hours. Exact numbers are still being tested, but it looks like the nerf was fairly significant.

Mission-Only Skills: Diplomacy, Investigation, Treasure Hunting and Underworld Trading. These crew skills, to my knowledge, do not have any nodes that you can gather from, and instead require Mission quests to level. These crew skills are required if you want to be able to make Blue or Purple quality gear with your crafting professions as they are the only reliable method of obtaining the rare materials required to craft them.

Datacrons
Datacrons are shiny little cubes that you can find throughout the various planets of SWTOR. Clicking on them typically gives you a bonus to one of your attributes of +2, though some can give +3-4, while others will give you a Datacron Fragment which you combine with others in special locations to form more powerful datacrons. I haven’t done the combining yet so I don’t know the details for those, but I do know you can do it and have found two of the stations that you do it in, so I’ll know more about it once I find some more pieces and can put them together.

For the best resource I’ve found online for datacron locations, I direct you once again to swtor-spy.com. You can also search for them on YouTube. I prefer video walkthroughs to written instructions and screenshots, so if I can’t find what I’m looking for on one site I’ll try out another.

There are two reasons why you want to hunt these datacrons down. First, because they are permanent increases to your attributes so by not going after them you’re making yourself less powerful than you could/should be. Granted, not all of them are useful for every character, such as +2 Aim on a Force user, but you should at least go for the ones that you can benefit from. Second, these are also Codex entries, meaning you get more “free” experience just from finding them.

More to Come
I’ve got plenty more tips for you, but we’re already pushing 5k words on this one and it’s a big mish-mash of all kinds of stuff thrown together as it is, so I don’t want it to get much bigger.

If there’s anything in particular you would like for me to cover, feel free to leave your suggestion in the comments below. Otherwise I’ll just keep on keeping on with whatever happens to be peaking my interest at the moment when I start writing the next one.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2011 in Crew Skills, Leveling, Player vs Player, SWTOR

 

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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.

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

 

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MoP’ing up the Twinks

Today we’re going to take a look at the talent trees that are proposed for being in the Mists of Pandaria expansion, and how those talent trees might impact twink brackets. As we continue on, keep in mind the fact that this stuff was just announced at BlizzCon 2011 and this expansion isn’t scheduled to come out for who knows how long yet so any and all information here could potentially change.

I’m not going to look at every bracket in this post because there are just too many talents to smash them all into a single post. Instead I’m going to break in into two parts; one for the 10-14 bracket, and one for the 15-19 and 20-24 brackets as the impact on the two should be roughly the same.

I did not attend or in any way participate in this year’s BlizzCon, so I’m only going off of what the MoP Talent Calculator from Wowhead has to tell me, and what I heard people say on Twitter or on other blogs. If any of this information is incorrect, incomplete, or false please notify me of such in the comments so that I can get it updated with the correct information.

Right now we don’t know much of anything about the Monk class, so they won’t be included in this particular post. It is safe to say you better be careful around those pandas with their racial sleep attack though.
Turn the page to find out more…

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior

 

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First Impressions: Shadow Priest PvP

In last week’s Planning for PvP: Shadow Priest post I outlined my plans for gearing up my Shadow Priest who reached level 85 on Saturday. Today I’m going to share what I found in my first weekend of focusing almost entirely on PvP with the Priest.

I’ve made a couple of changes to the plan after finding how I performed, I’ve found a few problems I’m going to have to figure out how to solve, I’ve decided on a spec, and I’ve got a good feel for which classes I can defeat and which I cannot.

Gear Changes
The first gear change is with the gems. I was planning on using my JC gems for Stamina to help me live longer, but I’m finding Resilience to be more useful for survivability. When you play with no Resilience and then you play with a fair amount of it you can really see how significant a difference it can make.

I also got ahead of myself on the gear purchases as I found myself almost reaching the Honor cap over the weekend. I had almost 1800 Honor from all the BG’s I ran while leveling up and then I spent several hours both Saturday and Sunday chaining BG’s while I waited for Tol Barad and Wintergrasp queues to pop. So I already have two pieces of Bloodthirsty Gladiator gear, though I don’t have a set bonus yet since I got the Gloves and a PvP trinket.

“Week 1″, from the Planning post, doesn’t actually start until tomorrow so while I’m still going to buy the gear in the same order I had listed, I’m likely going to fill in other slots with Bloodthirsty gear while I wait to earn the Conquest Points for the Vicious gear. I may also focus on filling both set pieces w/ Bloodthirsty and upgrading to Vicious as I can before bothering with any of the off-set items. We’ll see how easily I get Conquest capped this week and go from there.

Concerning enchants, I think I’m pretty good where I’m at right now on those. The one exception is the weapon enchant. I’ve been using Mending so far which has a chance to heal for about 850 or so, but the proc chance, while high for a weapon enchant, isn’t fast enough to really matter in PvP. I would definitely rather have more damage coming in than a mediocre heal every once in a while. I think I’m going to switch to Avalanche for now and once I get my hands on a PvP weapon then I’ll consider upgrading to Power Torrent.

Warlocks and Death Knights
Kill me.

Over the weekend I found out that Demonology and Destruction Warlocks are mean. Mean as in seeing one leaves me with only two options: run away or die. Oftentimes those two options are only a single option because the Warlocks I’ve been facing just love chasing me down and killing me anyway. I can handle Affliction without too much trouble it seems, though I admit I didn’t take the time to check my opponents in the Armory to see if the Afflocks were perhaps just undergeared or geared for PvE instead.

Unholy Death Knights are more or less the exact same way. If I can’t keep them out of melee range, I’m dead. My only hope is kiting them until their bubble of “hahah, I’m immune to magic” crap wears off and then combining CC with direct damage spells rather than DoT’s to burn them down, then kite with DoT’s working until CC cooldowns are up and repeating that.

Spec
Right now I’m running an 8/0/33 spec that’s working pretty good for me. I don’t have any points in Paralysis right now, but I’d really like to fix that. On the one hand being able to root targets for 4 seconds after a Mind Blast crit could be a real help against some classes (Death Knight, Rogue), and on the other it wouldn’t have much effect on most of the casters at all. It’s a talent I’d love to have, but that I’m not sure I can afford to put the points into.

One thing that deserves a special note is Evangelism/Archangel. I have severe mana issues right now, and Archangel is a fantastic tool for mana regen. If you’re going to PvP as Shadow, do not skip out on Evan/Arch. Shadowfiend is decent when it’s not getting CC’ed or focus fired, Divine Hymn isn’t bad, but if I have the time to safely cast it then I likely have time to sit and drink too. Disperse is good for mana regen, but I often find myself needing to use it as a defensive ability, so it’s not always off cooldown when I need mana. The Glyph of Spirit Tap is good when I can nail a killing blow, but in PvP if it’s not a 1v1 situation it can be really hard to time the cast just right and not cast it too early or too late.

Issues to Work Out
One of my issues right now is the one I just pointed out above, I’ve got mana problems. I did just now start building up my gear, so I’ve got some upgrades coming in the near(ish) future that will increase my mana pool and maybe ease up on the mana usage a bit, but it’s still going to be a problem I think. I might have to look at using the purple Timeless Demonseyes (+20 Intellect, +30 Stamina) in my Blue slots instead of straight Stamina so that I can boost my mana up a bit more. Or I might have to ignore the socket bonuses here and there and go with straight Inferno Rubies.

The next issue is one of rotation. I’ve found three ways to play the Priest that still remain somewhat effective. First, I can just nuke the targets with Mind Spike and Mind Blast spam, and it works pretty well but it’s also high on mana cost. Second, I can use PvE style rotations and load up the DoT’s followed by Mind Flay spam and SW:Death when they’re under 25% health, which is also effective but somewhat costly. Third is to combine the two, using Mind Spike x3, Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, SW:Pain, Devouring Plague, Mind Flay which is even more costly of course, but generally gets the job done. Spreading DoT’s around in a group of PvP is just asking to run out of mana.

While one aspect of the rotation problem is related to the mana issues, the other is that we just aren’t bursty DPS. If I want to burst someone down as soon as possible it has to be Mind Spike and Mind Blast spam, which requires me to stand still to cast. Standing still in PvP is closely related to this thing we call “waiting for the resurrection timer”. Our only two options for dealing damage on the move are Devouring Plague spam (lots of mana) and SW:Death which has a cooldown. Maybe it’s just a gear issue, where I’m not doing as much damage as I’d like to, but I still have some learning to do on how to actually play the class in end game PvP.

First Impressions
Overall I’ve managed to grow more skilled and more confident in my Shadow Priest performance. I do not like how hard mana management is right now in some cases, but I do like that it’s prompting me to get creative in my playstyle and teaching how to fight in those situations.

Shadow Priests in end game PvP don’t play like they did leveling up, so it’s definitely an adjustment. It also changes the feel of the class and I will admit I’m not quite so pleased with the new feel as I was just a few levels earlier. I’m not ready to give up on it or anything, but it’s worth noting that there is a definite change in how it feels.

I enjoy most of the battlegrounds, though I do cringe when Eye of the Storm pops up as Alliance apparently has no idea how to win there. I think my lifetime wins in that place can be counted on one hand, even if you’re missing a finger or two. Of the new BG’s I’m not really that big on Twin Peaks even though it’s a lot like WSG which is one of my favorites. I’m not sure what it is, I just don’t care for it much. Battle for Gilneas isn’t too bad and I like how it looks for some reason, but I still prefer Arathi Basin.

It was interesting to see that multiple times in Strand of the Ancients over the weekend I was able to knock down gates by myself faster than two other people could on the opposite gate. The key has always been to have melee in the tanks, but I kick butt in those siege engines, so I take one whenever I can. It does suck though that Horde understand the whole root/snare the tanks concept and it’s completely lost on Alliance. I don’t think Mind Flay actually has any slowing effect on them though, so all I can do is burn them down. I don’t know if the gates are glitched there or what, but gates don’t stand a chance if I can actually reach them.

Apparently IoC is currently bugged so that the bosses cannot be killed and they deal 92,000 damage even to tanks. So your only option for winning IoC right now is to run the opponent out of reinforcements. The game plan for IoC then becomes to zerg the Workshop (WS) and use the siege engines there to destroy the opposing faction until you can force them into a graveyard and then camp that graveyard with all of the siege so that you just farm the kills until it’s over. I admit, it’s fun watching the bodies fly when you’re doing it the first time, but otherwise it makes the BG really boring from then on.

As for Tol Barad, I’m still not a huge fan, but it does at least switch hands a bit more often now. I love the amount of honor you get there, so I’ll visit frequently, but that place is a beast. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but I think it could still use some improvement. Wintergrasp is very interesting now that group sizes vary from 1-4. Thank the Light you can accomplish almost all of the quests for honor there without having to kill actual players or else the place would be even more dead than it already is. I’ll take some free honor and gold from 20 minutes of my time though.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Caster, Class, Player vs Player, Priest, Professions

 

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Planning for PvP: Shadow Priest

While I am still in search of info on Shadow Priest PvP, I’m content going on in PvP discovering things for myself until I find a decent source that can tell me something I don’t already know. I already have a decent skill set for PvP with the Shadow Priest so until I’m able to learn more I have to focus on other aspects of it, which for right now is going to be the gear aspect.

I need to start dueling other classes to get a better idea of how to take on various opponents in a 1v1 setting, but I’ll take care of that when I reach level 85 so that I’m facing the full package instead. But the gear I can start working on right now. I can’t buy level 85 gear without being level 85, but at least I can start building up the currency needed for those purchases and I can plan those purchases well in advance so that I’m not sitting there at the vendor staring at her inventory for an hour before I decide on what to buy.

I decided to make a spreadsheet to plan out my purchases, noting the cost of each piece and the stats that were on it. I also had to take into account the currency used for each and also establish a starter set so that I at least had a decent start while I built up the currency to purchase the larger pieces. I knew that Cynwise had a recent post where he shared his thoughts on how to get ready for Cataclysm PvP, so I started there.

Step 1: Make a Plan
I started off with the list that Cyn mentioned in his post:

  1. Get the crafted pieces made as soon as you can.
  2. Supplement with good items gained from PvE.
  3. Participate in Tol Barad whenever possible, win or lose. Do dailies for Commendations for PvP enchants.
  4. PvP in regular BGs to grind as much Honor Points as you can to get Bloodthirsty gear, focusing on offset pieces and the 2-pc set bonus.
  5. Participate in as many rated PvP matches as you can, up to the limit of Conquest Points you can gain this week. Focus on gaining Vicious set pieces and weapons first. (As Taugrim points out in the comments below, if your class depends on their weapon, get the weapons first, before anything else.)
  6. Once your Vicious set is complete, start replacing Bloodthirsty offset pieces with Vicious.
  7. Once you’ve upgraded your offset, upgrade your weapons to the Glorious versions.
  8. Skip upgrading the Conquest armor unless you have points to burn at the end of a season (and even then, just consider stockpiling them at the cap.)

Crafted pieces was already at the top of my list because my Tailor has already been maxed and I’ve purchased all of the patterns and the gear was well in hand.

Supplements from PvE are sort of what I’m working on right now. My Priest is only level 81 so I’m just now working my way through Cataclysm content to get her various upgrades. I should really be a good little facemelter and do some research on quest rewards, dungeon drops, and rep grinds to find out which quests give me items I need for the slots I still have open.

TBad when possible will have to wait since it requires level 85.

Running BG’s to build honor I’m already in the process of doing though it is slower than it will be once I hit 85. Rated BG’s I think have to wait for 85 as well, but I’m not sure since I haven’t looked into them very closely yet.

Upgrading Bloodthirsty Honor pieces to Vicious Conquest pieces also has to wait for 85 since I can neither purchase them nor gain the currency for them until that point. Upgrading the weapons falls into the same.

Step 2a: Crafted Pieces
Emberfire Cowl 425 Stam, 283 Int, 189 Resil, 189 Haste
Fireweave Pants 425 Stam, 283 Int, 189 Resil, 189 Haste
Emberfire Robe 425 Stam, 283 Int, 189 Spirit, 189 Resil
Emberfire Boots 316 Stam, 210 Int, 140 Resil, 140 Haste
Emberfire Gloves 316 Stam, 210 Int, 140 Resil, 140 Haste
Emberfire Belt 316 Stam, 210 Int, 140 Resil, 140 Mastery
Emberfire Shoulders 316 Stam, 210 Int, 140 Spirit, 140 Resil
Emberfire Bracers 237 Stam, 158 Int, 105 Resil, 105 Haste

I switched the pants to Fireweave instead of Emberfire because I prefer Haste to Mastery right now. I might change my mind on that later, but for right now I like the Haste more. I considered doing the same for the Robe since Emberfire gives Spirit, which is Hit, where the Fireweave gives Haste, but decided not to. First off, it would throw my whole look out of whack with a bunch of white gear spread around a red robe, and second I’m actually going to need that Hit stat since PvP gear is typically lacking in Hit Rating. But honestly, it’s the look that makes me not do it. At least the pants are hidden under the robe so it won’t throw me off.

I have full suits of both sets anyway, so that I have a starter set for both of my specs, and can swap them out to mix and match as I please.

Step 2b: PvE Supplemental Pieces
This is one of Cyn recommendations that I haven’t done yet. There are tons of items that I’ll have to dig through in this category to find out which ones will really be good for me, and I’d rather do that when I’m closer to the level cap so that I can skip over items that aren’t upgrades compared to the gear I (will) already have.

The most important item here, starting out at least, is going to be a weapon. Hopefully I can find myself a solid one-handed caster weapon to use so that I can make use of my off-hand as well, but I’ll definitely pick up a staff if it’s stats are superior.

Step 3: Honor Pieces
When I first decided to make my list I checked with Cyn on how easy he felt it was to reach the Honor and Conquest caps. Both of them cap at 4,000 points at any one time, but Conquest Points have an additional cap of only 1,343 Conquest per week. His response was that running arena matches maxed his Conquest weekly cap every week quite easily, but that Honor was really hard to cap.

That being the case, I aimed low for my weekly amount of Honor points. Not being 85 yet on my Priest and not really doing much PvP at all on the toons I do have at 85, I had to do some guessing on how much my weekly Honor allowance would be. I didn’t have any current information to with so I just pulled a number out and went with it – 1500 Honor/week. That’s just over 200 per day if I PvP every single day. That’s 3 losses in Tol Barad every day if I do nothing else, or almost half of a single offensive TB victory. Not to mention whatever other BG’s I manage to get into, so I think that’s a safe amount to go with.

I also estimate that I’ll have at least 300 extra Honor to start with before Week 1 actually starts so I’ve added that to the initial pool. I have 1800 Honor right now and I’m aiming to be able to buy at least 1 item and have the extra 300 remaining before I even get started on the weekly allowances.

The pieces purchased with honor are all “Bloodied Gladiator’s ..” pieces, so I’m going to save some space by using “BG’s ..” in place of that when listing the item names.

Week # Honor Earned Honor Cost Honor Balance Item Purchased
1 1800 1650 150 BG’s Mooncloth Gloves
2 1650 0 1650 No Honor purchase.
3 3150 2200 950 BG’s Satin Hood
4 2450 1650 800 BG’s Medallion of Tenacity
5 2300 1250 1050 BG’s Drape of Diffusion
6 2550 1650 900 BG’s Treads of Alacrity
7 2400 1250 1150 BG’s Cuffs of Meditation
8 2650 2500 150 BG’s Band of Accuracy
&
BG’s Band of Cruelty
9 1650 1650 0 BG’s Insignia of Dominance
10 1500 0 1500 Start over, building the full healing set.

I don’t manage to get any set bonuses at all from the Honor gear because I’m going for one Mooncloth piece and one Satin piece. I’m going to get the set bonuses by adding Vicious pieces though as I’m going to build both sets at once.

The reason I’m going for 2 pieces from each set is because first, dual sets give me extra resilience for more survivability early on, and second the Mooncloth Gloves have better stats than the Satin gloves, so I might as well take advantage; right?

I’m working towards filling in my other slots with Vicious gear as well, so anything you see that’s oddly missing is likely because I’m picking up the Vicious version which you’ll see in the next section.

Step 4: Conquest Pieces
My Vicious pieces are being put to use first to finish off my set pieces, and then to fill in my missing slots with the higher quality pieces. Luckily I don’t have to estimate my Conquest points each week because I know exactly how much I can get. Granted, there may be some weeks that I don’t manage to hit the weekly cap, but at least then I know I can just update my spreadsheet accordingly and know how far it sets me back. Hopefully I can at least hit the cap for the first few weeks at the very least so that I can establish my set bonuses if nothing else.

All Conquest items have “Vicious Gladiator’s ..” in their name, so I’ll shorten that in this list to be “VG’s” instead just to save some space.

Week # Conquest Earned Conquest Cost Conquest Balance Item Purchased
1 1343 0 1343 Not enough points yet.
2 2686 2200 486 VG’s Mooncloth Leggings
3 1829 1650 179 VG’s Satin Mantle
4 1522 700 822 VG’s Touch of Defeat
5 2165 0 2165 No item this week.
6 3508 2200 1308 VG’s Satin Robe
7 2651 2450 201 VG’s Gavel
8 1544 0 1544 No item this week.
9 2887 1650 1237 VG’s Cord of Cruelty
10 2580 950 1630 VG’s Endgame

And similar to my Honor Points, moving forward I’ll do the same thing with my Conquest points going for a healing set instead of just DPS.

The first week of Conquest points caps before I can buy any set pieces, and rather than blow it on other Vicious gear I’m going to just hold off for a week to build up some more. That gives me the opportunity to pick up my first 2-piece set bonus on week 2 when I get the Mooncloth Leggings and my second 2-piece bonus on week 3 when I get both the Bloodthirsty Satin Hood the Vicious Satin Mantle.

So the first week I’ll be in mostly crafted gear and then in week 2 I’ll start building my set bonuses, finishing those in week 3, and then moving on to all of the off-set pieces from week 4 on.

Step 5: Gemming
Step 5 will of course take place during steps 2-4 as the pieces become available. I treat my serious PvP gear the same way I do my serious raiding gear, with gems and enchants added as the pieces become available.

My Priest is a 525 Jewelcrafter, so I have access to the JC-only gems, Chimera’s Eyes, which provide higher values of stats than you’ll find on regular red/yellow/blue gems.

Gems
There are only a few different gems I’m going to consider for the PvP gear. All of the socket bonuses are at least decent, so I’m going to match them unless I get the urge at some point to prioritize a certain stat regardless of socket.

The gear itself grants 3 Red, 3 Yellow, 3 Blue, and 1 Meta gem slot. I’m also going to have a belt buckle added to the gear which will open up an additional slot, which I’m going to use as Red.

Red Slots:
Brilliant Chimera’s Eye (+67 Intellect)
*Brilliant Inferno Ruby (+40 Intellect)

I haven’t decided for sure whether I’m going to use my Chimera’s Eyes in the red sockets or the blue. I’m leaning towards blue to start with for the extra survivability, and then switching over to red after I’ve completed my gear sets, but I’m still not sure.

So I’ll either have 4 Inferno Rubies for +160 Intellect, or I’ll have 3 Chimera’s Eyes and 1 Inferno Ruby for a total of +241 Intellect.

Blue Slots:
*Solid Chimera’s Eye (+101 Stamina)
Solid Ocean Sapphire (+60 Stamina)
Steady Dream Emerald (+30 Stamina, +20 Resilience)

I’m leaning towards Stamina for my blue gems, and as I mentioned in the Red section, I’m leaning towards the Chimera’s Eyes being used here at least to begin with. I considered going with Stormy gems for Spell Penetration, but you only need 240 total and I’ll have almost twice that amount from my gear alone. There’s a slight chance that I might go with the green stam/resil gems when I move the Chimera’s Eyes over to the red sockets, so I’m leaving it on the list just in case.

So starting out I’ll have 3 Chimera’s Eyes for +303 Stamina and when I switch them over I’ll end up with 3 Ocean Sapphires for +180 Stamina or 3 Dream Emeralds for +90 Stamina and +60 Resilience.

Yellow Slots:
Mystic Chimera’s Eye (+67 Resilience)
Mystic Amberjewel (+40 Resilience)
Quick Chimera’s Eye (+67 Haste)
Quick Amberjewel (+40 Haste)
*Willful Ember Topaz (+20 Intellect, +20 Resilience)
Steady Dream Emerald (+30 Stamina, +20 Resilience)

While I might get better stats overall going with an actual Yellow gem here, I’m leaning more towards the Willful Ember Topaz. I don’t want to focus too much on survivability as a DPS spec, so Resilience is an option but not my top choice. Haste is tempting, but I’m going to hold off gemming for Haste until I see how well I perform without it. The green gem is another one I’m considering placing here if I do happen to need some more survivability, but again I still favor the orange Ember Topaz.

My initial plan will be 3 Willful Ember Topazes with +60 Intellect and +60 Resilience. If survivability is an immediate issue then I’ll switch those to 3 Dream Emeralds for +90 Stamina and +60 Resilience or 3 Mystic Amberjewels for +120 Resilience, and if I find that survivability is fine and I need more killing power then I’ll switch it up to 3 Quick Amberjewels for +120 Haste.

Meta Slot:
*Burning Shadowspirit Diamond (+54 Intellect, +3% Critical Damage)
Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond (+54 Critical Strike Rating, +3% Critical Damage)
Destructive Shadowspirit Diamond (+54 Critical Strike Rating, +1% Spell Reflect)
Effulgent Shadowspirit Diamond (+81 Stamina, -2% Spell Damage Taken)
Ember Shadowspirit Diamond (+54 Intellect, +2% Maximum Mana)
Forlorn Shadowspirit Diamond (+54 Intellect, -10% Silence Duration)
Powerful Shadowspirit Diamond (+81 Stamina, -10% Stun Duration)

The Meta gem I’m not 100% sure on. Above are all of the ones that I’ve considered using for one reason or another. I’m going with the Burning Shadowspirit to start off with because I have the pattern myself. Spirit Priests aren’t known for their crits, so I’m not sold on the crit gems here though some of them do have some decent additional abilities.

The ones that reduce stun and silence duration have some potential, but only if the CC applies in a given match. I expect that CC to happen in arenas, but in Battlegrounds you can never be sure. With our current mana issues, the 2% Max Mana from the Ember is an interesting option that I’m keeping a close eye on. Mana isn’t as important in a BG setting as it is an Arena setting, but I haven’t decided which of the two I’m going to run more often so it’s on hold for right now.

Destructive sounds interesting with the 1% Spell reflect, but the crit isn’t all that great, and neither is a measly 1% chance. On the one hand it would be incredibly fun to kill someone with their own spell, but at the same time the chance is so small I can’t count on it for anything. Effulgent offers much more survivability, and it’s one I’m also considering.

Step 6: Enchanting
I know which enchants I’m going to use for most of my gear, but I do have a few pieces that I’ve narrowed it down on and need to make a final decision.

Shoulder: Greater Inscription of Vicious Intellect (+50 Intellect, +25 Resilience)
Head: Arcanum of Vicious Intellect (+60 Intellect, +35 Resilience)
Back: Greater Intellect (+50 Intellect)
Chest: Might Resilience (+40 Resilience)
Bracer: Speed (+50 Haste)
Gloves: Haste (+50 Haste)
Belt: Ebonsteel Buckle (adds a Prismatic Socket)
Legs: Powerful Enchanted Spellthread (+95 Intellect, +80 Stamina)
Feet: Earthen Vitality (+30 Stamina, Increased Run Speed)
Weapon: Mending (Proc: Heals when spells deal damage)
Off-Hand: Superior Intellect (+40 Intellect)

Once I’ve had a chance to build up my stash of Maelstrom Crystals I’ll put some of the more significant enchants on my gear. Of those Weapon, Bracer, and Chest will be the first to be upgraded, though the Weapon will probably wait until Blizzard finally releases the upgraded weapons to us.

I’m going to do a little playing around with my weapon enchant at first. I want to start out using Mending as I have in the list because I’ve seen some of what it can do when you’ve got DoT’s ticking on several targets and every time they deal damage you have a chance to heal yourself. The more DoT’s I spread, the more healing I have coming in on top of the healing I naturally generate as a Shadow Priest. The first upgrade will be to Hurricane (Proc: +450 Haste for 12 seconds) to help with my damage output. Once the real PvP weapons become available I’ll upgrade to Power Torrent (Proc: +500 Intellect for 12 seconds) for even more power.

The Mending enchant averages about 850 healing when it procs, and can crit for around 1350. The proc rate is uncertain but reports list it as somewhere between 10% and 17%, and the proc happens any time you damage an enemy with a spell or melee attack. I’ve heard mixed reports of whether or not DoT’s can trigger the healing effect, so I’m going to test it myself and then decide when/if I’m going to switch to a new enchant.

Step 7: Professions Change
Right now while I’m still leveling my Priest she’s going to keep her Mining profession so that she can gather while she levels both for the experience and for the mats. Once I get her to level cap and start getting into the PvP though, I’m going to want to change that out for something more relative to PvP, but I haven’t decided yet what it’s going to be.

By dropping Mining I lose Toughness (Rank 7) which is 120 Stamina, or 1,200 Health.

Enchanting
Enchant Ring – Intellect (+40 Intellect)
Enchant Ring – Greater Stamina (+60 Stamina)

Enchanting gives me the ability to enchant my Rings. Most likely I would go with dual Intellect enchants for +80 Intellect, but if I’m feeling vulnerable I could always go with the Stamina enchant instead. But if I were to use the Stamina enchant I would get the same benefit of Mining (+120 Stamina) and nothing but the high cost of level Enchanting to show for it.

Engineering
Lightweight Bio-Optic Killshades (helm, see below)
Grounded Plasma Shield (Belt: Absorbs 16,200 to 19,800 damage)
Invisibility Field (Belt: Invisibility outside of combat)
Synapse Springs (Gloves: +480 Intellect for 10 seconds)
Tazik Shocker (Gloves: Deals 4320-5280 Nature damage)

Dropping my Bloodthirsty Helm for the Killshades would cost me 213 Resilience and 153 Haste in exchange for a bit of Intellect and Stamina. However, it would also allow me to use 2 Cogwheels in place of gems, so I would trade one Inferno Ruby (40 Int) or Chimera Eye (67 Int) for two Cogwheels suck as the Mystic Cogwheel (+208 Resilience) or and the Quick Cogwheel (+208 Haste). It’s something to consider, but it’s not enough to sell me with the one item alone.

The Plasma Shield could be interesting, providing me with another bubble that I could use when Power Word: Shield is on cooldown or something. I don’t know if you can use it in Arenas yet or not (I haven’t researched Engineering much yet), but it would be useful in BG’s as well. It’s a decent option, but not great.

The Invisibility Shield has some interesting potential if I can use it in Arenas. I could use it to get into position at the start of a match, or I could use it during a match to regroup and reposition if I could manage to get out of combat long enough to use it. It’s gimmicky and it wouldn’t help much at all against certain group setups or in some situations, but it’s not a bad choice otherwise.

Synapse Springs offer a great cooldown for when I need some extra burst, or when I’m about to use my mana cooldowns. By increasing my Intellect it increases my Total Mana value which would allow Dispersion, Shadowfiend, Divine Hymn, Glyph of Spirit Tap, and Masochism to all return additional mana to me while the effect is active. There’s some definite potential for this one.

The Tazik Shocker is an extra bit of damage to use every 2 minutes. It’s not enough to be a huge game changer or anything, but extra damage is extra damage.

Another bonus of the Glove and Belt enchants is that they don’t replace normal enchants, so it’s all extra. If I do go with Engineering then I’ll use the Synapse Springs for sure, and probably the Plasma Shield (if I can use it in Arenas). I’m not sold on the helm alone, especially since it takes an item set slot, but it’s a decent option, and there isn’t a bonus for having all 5 pieces, only 2 or 4, so I’m not losing as much as I otherwise could be.

Tailoring
Lightweave Embroidery (Cloak Proc: +580 Intellect on cast)
Embersilk Net (Use: Root a target up to 25 yards away)

Tailoring offers a very nice cloak enchant that can grant a huge amount of Intellect when it procs. The extra Spellpower from that is nice on it’s own, but just like the Synapse Springs from Engineering, it also has the added benefit of allowing my mana regeneration spells to give me even more mana back by increasing the size of my mana pool. In the case of Shadow Priests, size does matter.

The other benefit is the Embersilk Net which only Tailors can use. It’s a ranged Root which we otherwise don’t have access to (other than the Paralysis talent), which also deals a fairly small amount of Fire damage to the target. It only lasts for 3 seconds, but those three seconds can be significant and so can getting someone to burn a cooldown or trinket cast to get out of it early).

Inscription
Felfire Inscription (+130 Intellect, +25 Haste)

It’s the best shoulder enchant out there for casters, even if it’s not the PvP enchant we’re using already, but 55 Intellect and 25 Resilience compared to 130 Intellect and 25 Haste isn’t too hard to see the winner. 25 Resilience isn’t going to kill you (hopefully), and that 130 Intellect is worth the upgrade.

As I already have an Inscriptionist, yes “Inscriptionist” not “scribe”, I’m not too thrilled about having it on two characters, so I don’t know that this is a big enough benefit to make me choose it.

Leatherworking
Draconic Embossment – Intellect (Bracer: +130 Intellect)

Leatherworking is just a little bit above Blacksmithing for me. I get more potential stats from Leatherworking, but again I have very little use for anything else the profession has to offer. It’s another one to consider, but not very likely.

Blacksmithing
Socket Bracer (Add a prismatic socket to bracers)
Socket Gloves (Add a prismatic socket to bracers)

Blacksmithing doesn’t offer anything real exciting, but it does provide 2 free gem slots that are otherwise unavailable which is 80 Intellect, 120 Stamina, 80 Resilience or 80 Haste just waiting for us to take it.

I’m not thrilled about the idea of leveling Blacksmithing again, but it’s possible. That’s a lot of time, effort, and gold for a fairly small return. Given that it’s a cloth wearer, it’s even less impressive.

Onward and Upward
I’m going to see if I can hit level 85 this weekend on my Priest. I’m fairly confident I can do it, but it’s been about a month since I leveled a character through the end game content so I don’t remember how much time it actually took me on each character. I also have the BoA cloak and the Guild bonus to leveling which I didn’t have on any of the others, so I’ll level faster than before regardless.

What do you think of my plan to get my PvP gear?

How about the gems and enchants? Any suggestions for ones to consider that I missed?

And what about changing professions? Engineering has always been linked to PvP to some extent at least, but do you think I should go there or perhaps another route? Or should I continue swinging my pick axe and not bother changing at all?

 
9 Comments

Posted by on February 18, 2011 in Caster, Class, Guide, Player vs Player, Priest

 

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Looking For Info: Shadow Priest PvP

When I write all of these guides I like to make sure I know what I’m talking about by experiencing all of the content for myself. I don’t write guides for leveling classes until I’ve played them myself, for example, nor do I like to cover level ranges that I haven’t actually participated in personally. Before I even get started on leveling my own toons though, I like to do my own research beforehand.

My own research includes checking blogs that I know are related to the topic in question, checking forums to get multiple opinions on various aspects, and digging deeply into the Wowhead database for things I might have missed. I don’t always catch everything of course, and that’s not why I mention it, but the point is that I like to research things before I get started. That desire to know what to expect ahead of time is the reason why I blog about what I do, to offer other people the kind of help I wish was out there for me when I needed it.

And that brings me to the purpose of today’s post, Shadow Priest PvP. As you know if you’ve been following my blog for the last few weeks, I’m currently working on a Shadow Priest who I just got up to level 81 last night. I’ve been participating in PvP off and on since she was level 10 and quite frequently from the time she hit level 60 on. As usual I like to get into PvP my own way and figure things out as I go, adjusting where I see a need so that I can get better at it every match. Eventually I get to a point, like last week, where I’m doing great, but I want to improve as I know I’m fighting random players that aren’t necessarily skilled at PvP. And so, the search for Shadow Priest PvP began…and ended.

The only sources I can find for Shadow Priest PvP are outdated. I’m sure I haven’t checked “everywhere” or else I surely would have found something. Right? I am exaggerating there just a little bit, I did find a few decent sources of information, but not enough.

The most recent post I found on Shadow Priest PvP that was anything more then “hey I can kill everything but a feral druid” was from over a year ago. I did manage to find a few forum threads here and there that mentioned specific parts of a strategy and some suggestions on spec, but nothing really solid.

So rather than continue beating my head against a shadowless wall, I’m going to take a break from my searching and ask you instead. If you have a link to any decent, up to date information on Shadow Priest PvP I would love to see it. Whether it’s your own or something you stumbled onto for whatever reason, send me a link. Whether it’s blog posts, forums, podcasts, or videos on YouTube; if you have a link (and it’s recent, 4.0+), I want it.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Class, Player vs Player, Priest

 

Tags: ,

 
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