Friday, August 29, 2008

Moving On - Changing Servers

So my regular updating schedule of Tuesdays and Saturdays has pretty much been thrown out the window at this point. I'm still going to try to post twice a week, but I can't say when exactly that'll be. Hopefully separate enough that you guys don't get too much of my blathering all at once. ;)


I only bring this topic up because it's something I'm going through at the moment. As of this morning, I officially changed servers with Prettyboi. Therefore, he technically no longer exists (as the name wasn't available on my new server). So I just want to talk about all the issues I had with my guild folding and how I dealt with it, since I feel it's a very prominent subject lately with the coming of Wrath of the Lich King.

When I first started playing, I was but a lowly level 30-something Warrior, guilded only because my friends knew me and were hoping to make a tank out of me one day. I never managed to level to 60 before Burning Crusade, but it ended up being just as well - my guild fell apart and stopped raiding shortly before the expansion hit. It seems that a similar trend is happening at the moment. Many guilds are folding and disbanding, giving up their progression or finding further progressed guilds to hop on for the ride before Wrath hits the shelves. Some people say they're quitting so they can have some of their lives back before they devote it all over again with Wrath (and there's something intrinsically wrong with that statement to begin with, but I won't get into that). Others say they don't like the new changes and are going to go play another MMO instead. Either way, right now, a lot of devoted raiders are disappearing, and it's making it very difficult for those of us who still want to play and still haven't gotten to see everything get our chance.

Ever since I moved across the country, I had been unable to raid with my guild any longer. Having a two-hour time zone difference with my guild meant a lot, especially when I got a job that took later hours. The only times I could raid were Sundays, and even then, it was at such an inconvenient time for me that it would eat up my entire Sunday, rather than just the afternoon like it used to. I had eventually come to terms that, rather than finding a new job relatively soon (which I realized wasn't going to happen), I'd be better off finding new guild that raided at my new availability.

I wanted to stay on Mug'Thol, but since the server itself didn't match my times, I couldn't find anyone who would raid late. Can't say I didn't try. So I started looking around on other servers. Initially, I was willing to take anything. But finally, a group of friends talked me out of transferring to any PvE servers. I may have had an easier time finding a guild that way, but it would devaluate all the work I had done on my PvP server. It's really more of a mentality thing than anything else, though. That, and if I screwed up and wanted to come back, I wouldn't be able to.

So the months pass and I still hadn't found anything, and I find out that the guild I'm still a part of is falling apart. I can't say I didn't see it coming - there were certain officers of our guild who had a tendency to instigate arguments, or at the very least, not quell them when they started, which should be a primary function of an officer. In addition, we had a group of raiders who all lived together and when one of them didn't show up, none of them did - so we basically lost 3-4 core raiders every time someone was gone or had an event (it didn't help that most of them were healers or tanks). So between the animosity that was building and the attendence issues, we fell apart.

A couple of guys from my guild whom I am very good friends with approached me and asked me if I'd found a new guild yet. I hadn't, so they asked if they could tag along to find one. I figured there wasn't much harm in it, and I do enjoy raiding with them, so why not? It ended up being a group of four of us looking - which in all honesty was much harder than simply being a lone Prot/Ret pally looking for a guild.

Eventually, between a mix of posting on the WoW forums, posting on Guild Recruitment websites, and making level 1 BEs to run to Silvermoon and spam in Trade channel, we found a guild (just this week, actually). We finalized things in the last couple of nights, and two of us have made the transfer so far. It was really a stroke of luck - we found a newly formed guild whose progression was only slightly beyond our previous progression, and looking for our exact make-up of classes/specs. The only one of us four they didn't "need" was our best geared guy with SWP experience... who I don't think they're really going to turn away. =P

It's a tough decision. Even through I have some friends transferring with me, it will never be the same. I won't be Prettyboi anymore (the name was taken, so I've been forced to rename - and no similar names were available either), and I have to make friends all over again. I had to say goodbye to a lot of people. And there are many I will miss.

But if I wanted to raid and see end-game before the release of Wrath (which I do), I needed to move somewhere new. I don't want to be in the same place I was before with WoW - missing out on the whole end of the game. It was rough, and it took a while, and I don't know yet how it'll turn out in the end.

But I have a good feeling about it. =)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King - The New Holy

Hi guys! Missed me? Before I get into this with my usual grovelling about how I'm always late *coughs* I just want to say thank you to the people who do stick around, and even more so to those who comment. You guys are what make me come back to write more, and I really need the inspiration!

Also, if anyone is going to Blizzcon in October (for those lucky people who got tickets), I will be there if you'd like to discuss anything or just hang out and be merry. Look for a short haired, glasses wearing, petite girl with the name Prettyboi on her badge. I'll probably be accompanied by a guildmate of mine, possibly another if he manages to get a ticket from the opt-in. *crossing my fingers for you, Darn!*

Also, the last poll I posted was the preference of people on Servers. The final response was 25% liked PvP servers, 50% like PvE, and 25% liked both. There were small numbers this time around on the actual people who voted, so all I can conclude is that there are more people who play on PvE servers than PvP servers who read my blog. Interesting, considering I only play on a PvP server.

With that out of the way, let me jump into the WotLK stuff (finally!).


I don't pretend to know anything about Holy, really. It is, admittedly, my weakest spec, and people who outgear Kara DIE when I'm a healer (partially because my gear sucks so bad, but mostly because I'm just that terrible). About the only time I've done well as a healer is as a 2v2 Arena healer with an MS Warrior partner. But being good at Holy is not something that has ever really interested me, since *most* of the time, a Holy Pally gets to hit one to three buttons repeatedly and very few people ever thank the healers. Why would I subjugate myself to a thankless, boring role? (Note: Take my opinion with a grain of salt, please! I mean no offense to any healers, I personally admire you guys for sticking with it - it's clearly something I could never do.)

Anyway, I am reasonably intrigued with some of the direction they are taking with the Holy spec in particular with the upcoming expansion. However, certain aspects of what they tweaked just don't sound right to me. First off, we'll start with the knowledge of the spec I DO have.

When I frequent the WoW forums, there's a list of things that I hear Holy Paladins complain about. Correct me if I'm wrong on any of these:

-Holy Shock is more or less a joke, and the cooldown prevents us from being able to heal on the run like every other healer can
-Lack of HoTs is debilitating
-No AOE heal, on top of lack of HoTs and a weak instant cast make us the least versatile healer
-We rely on downranking for mana conservation, rather than having spells that actually support mana conservation or an active way to regenerate mana (Seal/Judgement of Wisdom requires melee, something a healer should never be doing)

Now, these are some of the fixes seen so far to alleviate these issues:
-Holy Shock's damage ratio has been adjusted multiple times, its cooldown has been lowered. In addition, it's usefulness has increased from being an unreliable clutch heal to a supplemental heal that assists Holy Light.
-We have an AOE HoT as our 51 point talent.
-If specc'd into Retribution, our critical heals also provide a HoT
-We have an Evocation-like ability now.
-We have a shield somewhat similar to Power Word: Shield, only not as strong

Now there's a few problems with these fixes. First off, while we gained one new spell to alleviate some of the problems we have (Beacon of Light), it's very situational and very expensive to cast. Since it turns a specific target into the source of the healing, you have to make sure it's someone who isn't going anywhere and someone who will be affecting the most amount of people to make the spell cast worth its while (casting on the tank to heal all the melee is probably the best bet I can think of, but I'm hardly an expert). Right now, it's more advisable to spec deep enough into Retribution to get Sheath of Light for the HoT on Critical effect, which is much needed by Holy and not really needed at all by Retribution.

I appreciate what they were trying to do with that (make Retribution a somewhat viable back-up healer), but Retribution never asked for that while Holy did. In addition, many of the gimmicks that they want to give Holy, such as Judging to get benefits to their healing, is something that should have been intrinsic to the class design from day one. While I personally like the concept, I don't know how it will mechanically work out. I also doubt other people will go for it simply based on precedence - meaning that they're so used to being Priests in Plate and not being anywhere near the fight that many won't take the initiative to change their play style. After all, with an option much simpler by, ironically, speccing into Retribution, why would they have to?

I don't think the Evocation-like ability is all that helpful either, especially since the main reason you'd need it is if you were spamming AOE heals. You can only spam the AOE heal 3 times in a row before you're out of mana, and all that means is now you can do it 6 times before you're out of mana.

These are really just some basic observations from someone who knows very little of the matter at hand. I do not have a beta account, so I haven't experienced any of these changes, and my understanding of Holy as a spec is quite limited. But for what it's worth, I don't think the Holy Paladin has been "ruined." I just think it's different now. Sufficient? Well, that I can't say without experience. I do think that they're likely lacking in certain areas, perhaps even to the point where they won't be one of the best single-target tank healers anymore. That doesn't leave much for them to be, or give them much use. I also dislike the idea that you have to have so many points in Retribution for the current optimal build. That's ridiculous.

Something needs to be changed. I don't really know what, and I don't know the fix, but I will concede that Holy Paladins had the worst "upgrade" in the Paladin class, and likely the worst upgrade as a healer, overall. I respectfully request that Blizzard take a look at what they did, and find out what works and what doesn't, and quickly. I understand it's a beta and there's time to fix things... but with their focus being spread all over the board, some things *will* be missed. And I wouldn't be surprised if Holy Paladins are one of the ones getting the shaft this time around.