Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Are Cataclysm Heroics Too Hard?

Are Cataclysm heroics too hard?

Are they harder than heroics at the end of Wraith? Heck yes. We don't over-gear them.
Are they harder than heroics at the beginning of Wraith? Yes, I believe so. I don't remember group makeup being important (besides the obvious healer/tank/3 dps thing), and I don't remember CCing.
Are they harder than BC heroics? Not sure, since I never ran them at level.

But there's several other things going on here that make difficulty harder to judge.
First, we've all been revamped. This hit some classes and specs harder than others, and we didn't have much time to get used to the new status quo before Cat.
Second, Blizz has decided to change the way we heal with Cat.
Third, we have far less control about who we end up grouped with (if pugging) and far less knowledge about them.
Fourth, CC/interrupts/stuns/kiting hasn't been needed for pretty much all of Wraith (unless you PVP), so most people are anywhere from a little rusty to completely unfamiliar with them.

Honestly, if we were coming into Wraith heroics this way, I suspect we'd find them pretty difficult as well.

But I think the better question to ask is "Are Cataclysm heroics fun?" Well, not for me thus far. Running with my guild makes them more entertaining, but I still haven't enjoyed one yet. I do them because I need gear to raid, not because I want to.

The unforgiving group makeup problem is really the deal breaker for me. A suboptimal group makeup, even if everyone in the group is a great player, makes for lots of wipes and frustration. Don't have enough stuns or cc? Then certain trash pulls are nightmares, nightmares that reoccur over and over again.  Call me a wimp, but I really don't enjoy that sort of thing. Most of the boss fights I've gotten to see I thought were great (except for the tornado boss since that's a little too RNG dependent), but the trash, ugh.

So for me, I think the answer is that, yeah, they are. They're too difficult for me to have fun in them, and I have to wonder why, with Blizz introducing the random dungeon finder to make it easier to run stuff, that they went to such a difficulty level. Seems counterproductive to have this tool to make finding dungeon runs easier, and then bring out a bunch of heroics that discourage pugging due to group makeup and difficulty level.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's been a busy week here, and I went holy

First there was...

Then there was... and yes it took me long enough.

Then my guild leader had a request. That I go holy. Since I kinda need to relearn how to heal anyway, I figured why not try it. So far, well, I've managed to heal one boss. While I picked up some power auras from Tales of a Priest (which is a great resource, btw), I'm not sure what they mean yet. Plus, I keep forgetting I have this nifty group heals. Guess I spent too long playing whack-a-mole with flash heal and pw:s. But I'll get it, eventually.

But while figuring this out, there was also...

And yup, in that last one I'm healing as holy. It was the second try at the boss, who has a fairly brutal aoe (it might not be so brutal if I knew wtf was going on, but since I didn't...), and I got shiny shoes. You can see the power auras, and I know one is circle of healing's available, and maybe the other one's something to do with Chakra? While I understand the chakra thing in principle, in practice I'm a bit too busy trying to figure out which spells I need to be using to keep people alive without going oom. Quite frankly, right now the entire chakra thing is another layer of complexity, one I really don't need.

 As a disc healer in Wraith, I used pw:s, flash heal, penance, and prayer of mending almost exclusively. In Cat, disc throws in Archangel and smiting when possible, plus using heal and possibly renew. The challenge there is figuring out when you can dps, when you need archangel, and trying to make the two mesh somewhat.  Or at least that was my (very) limited experience healing while leveling.

As holy in Cat, so far I have Renew (which I like), Heal, Greater Heal, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, that other group heal spell that I can't remember the name of, and the occasional free Flash Heal. And I have three chakra states, each which makes that Holy Word thing do something different. Of course, that assumes I remember I have chakra states and that holy word thing and am not just fairly frantically figuring out how to keep the tank up as far as possible while keeping the dps above 50% and not running oom every pull. Okay, so I'd be worrying about the last bit as disc as well, but holy just seems to have this added layer of complexity that it really doesn't need.

I can't help wondering if that's one of the reasons holy was buffed so much. The OPness of it right now induces people to try it that otherwise would look at the complexity and go "nope, not for me".  I suspect part of my own problem comes from being a mostly single-target healer for so long. That, combined with new tools, old tools I actually need to use now, and a resource I need to pay attention to,  makes holy quite a challenge for me.  Good thing I can always queue as shadow and go quest for a while for a break, right? Or hit an alt.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Click-casting and you: A primer

Given that many people are trying new things in Cat, I figured I'd write a guide or two on various things. This one is on click-casting, keybinds, and how to figure out what to bind to what.

First off, what is click-casting? It's the ability, primarily used by healing classes, to mouseover a target either in raid frames or party frames, and heal them with a click.  It's faster than selecting the target, then hitting a heal.

Second, how do I do this? Well, you have several options. Me, I use the addon Vuhdo, which is a raid frames and click casting addon. Other people use Grid (a raid frames addon) and Clique (a clickcasting addon) together, or simply use mouseover macros and the default frames.
Here's the vuhdo wiki.
Here's a couple blog posts about how to setup Grid and Clique.
Here's some info on mouseover macros.

Third, what do I bind to what?
Okay, this you want to think about carefully and have an overall strategy for. I'll walk you through my disc priest setup for Wraith to give you an idea.
       First I figured out what buttons I can use easily. Since I play on a laptop and use a trackpad, I really only have left and right mouse buttons.  But vuhdo allows me to use ctrl, shift, and alt, as well as combinations thereof, to modify my clicks. The combinations aren't really workable for me, so I'm left with 8 click-casting options.
      Left click and right click: these two are the easiest and fastest for me to hit. So, I bound my two most-used spells to them, Power Word: Shield, and Flash Heal. I changed Flash Heal to Heal when Cat hit, but the sentiment of "most used" is still there.
     Ctrl+left click and Ctrl+right click: big heals. I bound my two biggest single-target heal spells, Penance and Greater Heal, to these two buttons. Having my two big heals use the same modifier button helped me remember the bindings when I was learning them.
     Alt+left click and Alt+right click: select target and levitate. Alt+left click is actually the easiest for me to hit, so it made sense to me to bind something I use a lot there, plus I needed some way to select people from raid frames. And as for levitate, well, I like having it keybound, and when I had a heal bound there, I kept forgetting about it. So it made more sense to just bind non-healing functions to alt.
     Shift+left click and Shift+right click: I never used these in Wraith. I believe they were bound to Renew and possibly Prayer of Mending, but I'm not sure.

Since I'm limited in my click options, I tend to be picky about what I bind and don't bind. If I generally only use a spell on one target (renew, prayer of mending, earth shield), or the spell has a cooldown (pain suppression), or does not need a target (circle of healing, holy nova, power word: barrier), I don't bind them to mouseclicks. All those spells are bound to my number keys, and that's how they get cast.

So when considering what to clickcast, and where to bind it, consider:
like functions (aka big heals all using the same modifier button)
ease of clicking (aka bind most used to left and right click)
how spell is used

It's important not to overload your brain. Start small, maybe just with left and right click bound, and gradually increase. If you're moving to click-casting on more than one toon, try to keep the philosophy consistent. For example, my leveling resto shaman has her fast heal and her to go heal bound to right and left click. For my druid, it's regrowth and rejuvenation. For my pally, it was holy light and flash of light (but I haven't looked into pally healing since 4.0).

Hopefully this will help make the wonderful world of click casting less scary. It's my preferred way to heal and I think once you convert, you'll never go back.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

For RL sanity!

We interrupt this normal blog post to bring you this breaking news...

My life is extremely stressful right now, and WoW is adding to the stress rather than decreasing it. Lyllea is not yet 85 (6 bars away) and I have not been on in 3 days. So instead of insightful commentary on healing heroics, or something, I give you random screenshots.

I found this in my screenshot folder. It seemed to fit this post perfectly.
I have an octopus on a stick! Best RP weapon ever. All of this gear has now been replaced, but I am keeping the octopus on a stick. I even named him Stanley. Every priest who dabbles in darkness should have one!

This quest amused me greatly. Oh, and someone get Hastur off my head, please.

I have no idea what the heck is going on in this screenshot. No clue at all, but it looks nifty.

Deepholm is ridiculously beautiful in places.

It's the yellow box graphic bug of DOOM!

It really really annoys me that my armor clashes with my hair and I can't change my hair to match. Seriously, I am so glad I spend most of my leveling time in shadow. WTB red or black hair dye please!

Again, Deepholm is pretty.
 I hope to have things settled and my stress level decreased by the weekend, at which point I get to start gearing up. Good thing I like the Deepholm dailies, right?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My First Night in Cat

First there was...
 Then a lot of staring at a log-in screen
 Then I got to the docks and took a boat
 Then a kraken tried to eat me
 Then I ran Gundrak with guildies to get a guild achieve, a bit of XP (but a very little bit) and some guild XP.
 Then there was a priest (not me) tanking the trash in Blackrock Spire, which was very entertaining. Gotta love really good heals (again not me) and an insanely talented shadow priest.

Then it was back underwater and time for some hardcore leveling. Vash'jir? is very lovely.

And it would have been far easier to level if my quest log had actually told me about quests. Oh well, thanks to the addon Lightheaded (which loads wowhead's quest comments for you) I did okay.

In the process of wandering around there was a ding!
And now I'm trying to figure out how to get back to the beginning of the zone to do the quests I skipped. Sadly, this seems to be beyond me atm, especially since I can't remember the name of the beginning place. Oh well, I shall figure it out.


Really, really sleepy, so I'll make this quick...

Vash'jir is AWESOME. Lyllea's gone up a level and a half in 5 hours. It took me 20 minutes to get on once Cat hit, but totally worth it.

I have many nifty screencaps, and I managed to skip ahead somehow while looking for ore, so I'm halfway through the zone and don't have a mount yet. On the plus side, skipping ahead meant I got ore, and it was FAR less crowded. Now if I could just figure out how to get back to Stormwind to train the next level of mining. I remembered to pick up Old World Flight, and COMPLETELY forgot to train mining. Ooops. Still getting XP from nodes, and hopefully a ton of cash on AH.

And the server first profession achieve was cooking, and it happened before I even got in. Good thing I wasn't trying for one, right?

Hope you're all having a blast with Cat, and I will come back with a proper post with details and screencaps once I get a nap. All-nighters are not my friend.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Almost toasted, but not quite

Well, the sky turned red...

But I didn't die, so I ran up to the top of a tower for a better look. I didn't manage to get it in the screenshot, but I did see a large wing. Guess Deathwing wanted to flame all the lowbie undead, instead of the plaguelands.

The Alliance wants you... to quest in the Southern Barrens!

That's precisely what I've been doing. It's a great zone, really, much better than the old Barrens horde-side.
First off, you have several factions, Stormwind, the Earthen Ring, Cenarion Circle, Ironforge, and even a bit of Gilneas. Yay loads of rep!

Then you have the zone flavor. An embattled Alliance is fighting both against the Horde and against Nature itself. How cool is that? You have quests to, among other things, go save an ambassador, capture a hill for the Alliance (which isn't as easy as it sounds), get supplies, burn down catapults, save people from a burning building, and trust me I could keep going. Want to know what happened to the Tauren village outside Mulgore? Well, you got to find out.

And I just want to keep questing there. I've already gotten the quest achievement, but the storyline isn't done and I want to find out how it ends. That, more than anything, impresses me. I want to know how it ends, even if it isn't a good ending for the Alliance.

I wish I could tell you more about it, like the one questline that seems so ho-hum, until you get into it and it turns so epic, but I don't want to spoil it for you. Just go do it, preferably on an alt of the proper level (30 to 35ish). Anput hit it at 30, which was about right, and she's now 36 and is a bit overlevel for the last bit.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Waiting for Godot. Or Cataclysm. Whichever

Well, the last frantic push to "finish" raiding in WotLK is on. My guild, the ever awesome Murderotica, is 9/12 in heroic 10 man ICC, missing only Dreamwalker, Sindy, and Arthas.  Oddly enough, we had Blood Queen heroic on farm long before we defeated Blood Princes. Go figure. And wow, it's weird to call Murderotica my guild. Silver Dragoons was home for a long time, but now I feel more comfortable when I'm logged on a toon in Murderotica than I do when I'm logged on a toon in SD.  SD's kinda shifted, and I don't spend as much time there as I do in Murder, and I don't raid with them. I miss raiding with Fidelma and Gariath and Jes and Kana, but I'm less thrilled by raiding with some of the new members, and I really don't miss raids that never started on time.

Hopefully on Sunday I'll have a Sindy kill to report. I know we can do it.  And in a couple of weeks, I will hopefully have my very own sexy drake.

Otherwise, there's not much happening in my wow-verse. I'm leveling the rogue like mad, and having a blast wandering around the Southern Barrens. I've dabbled in the new fishing and cooking quests, but my 80s are mostly neglected. Economics-wise, I've been dabbling in the pet and vanishing powder markets, since epic gems are, well, kaput. It does never cease to amaze me that a pet you can buy in Dal for 40 gold sells in the AH for 100g. Yay lazy people, I guess.

I have laid in a supply of coffee for Monday, and while I am not happy about the servers going up at 12 PST (since that's 3 am my time), I am looking forward to my first midnight opening, and 3 hours gives me plenty of time to install, patch, and pray that the server gods look favorably upon me.

Oh, and word of advice. If you want to level quickly, get herbalism and mining as your professions. See the XP in that screeny? That's a bit more than I'd get for a single mob kill.  Grabbing all those yellow dots adds up REALLY quickly.
And yes, that's the rogue's UI. I mostly like it, but if I was raiding with it, I'd do some fiddling, make everything match, that sort of thing. I need to fiddle with Lyllea's UI, the default casting bar keeps showing up and I have to reload ui to make it go away. But since the Cat install will probably break a lot of my addons anyway, I'm thinking it's time to start from scratch again, see what I can come up with.