Light & Leafy

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Everything is silent on vent. The raid is traveling in a band of spirits from the graveyard way up to the spire where we’ll face the same boss for the 9th time that night. Suddenly, somebody calls out:

“Ok, so who didn’t have their mini-pet out and caused that wipe?”

And in that instant, the tension melts away. Our warlock sheepishly admits that he forgot to summon his baby crocolisk, and we all share a giggle as we make the long run back to the boss’s lair. The discussion of the wipe doesn’t end there, but that small reminder of why we’re really here keeps it from turning accusatory.

Remember What It’s All About

I’m not sure about anyone else out there, but I play video games because they’re fun. They’re something that makes me happy and relaxes me, just like baking cupcakes or singing in the car on my drive home.

Raiding was something I chose to do because it combined two things that I enjoy: playing video games and spending time with friends. And, in the end, for me to have fun it meant for us to be successfully overcoming challenges (eventually).

Now, in order to do that, we had to be disciplined. We show up each week at the same BatTime on the same BatChannel, ready and raring to go. Vent is quiet during progression pulls, directions are executed without question, wipes are quickly called, and run backs are speedy with new strategies or tweaks discussed along the way.

And even among all that rigidity that keeps us on task, we still take moments to laugh. Some of our computers have slower load screens than others. Some of us have rocket boot malfunctions that paste our toons’ bodies on the vaulted ceilings. But those little distractions, those spaces where we can take a breath, are what keep us sane. Instead of releasing our tension and frustration on each other, we let go of it with a laugh. We chuck happy fun rocks at each other, and use /flirt more than necessarily needed. And then we all activate our Gnomergan Radiation Suites and charge into battle once more.

Not All Sunshine and Kittens

Now, I know I might come off as some hippy unicorn with rainbow braids and pink puffy cloud jewelry (which, let’s face it, if I could have pink puffy cloud jewelry, I would be ALL OVER IT), but the fact is I’m human. With a full range of human emotions, no less!

And being human, there are nights when I feel frustrated, underwhelmed, and downright pissy when a boss I feel should have been dead weeks ago is still taunting us. It’s perfectly ok to have those nights.

What is not ok is taking those feelings and aggression out on the rest of the guild. Its one thing for me to tell the group, “hey, I need to end early tonight. Or move to another boss because my frustration level is at a head and I really think that I’m going to drop kick that gnome if we wipe again.” (Sorry, Scott, it’s just easier to punt a gnome than say a draenei. Or plate-wearing dwarf.).  It’s a completely other dragon to blame my group and angrily dissect their every move. Or, worse, to leave the raid in the middle with little explanation and no backup.

If someone did either of those in my raid group, I’d think two things: One, they don’t really care enough about the TEAM if they’re not even willing to take the adult way out. Two, do I really want someone who’s liable to throw a hissy fit? I mean, I get the frustration, I do. It’s your choice on how you act on it, though.

In the end, the game is supposed to be fun. And I’d rather dance by the flaming brazier or toss paper zeppelins to my friends to lighten the mood than start despising people for wipes for which I was every bit responsible as them.

Oh, hello there! Don’t mind me; I’m still cleaning out the cobwebs surrounding the pages over here. It’s amazing how much dust you can accumulate over 6 months.

I had lost the motivation and inspiration to write for awhile. When Cataclysm first came out, I was so interested in playing the game, that I didn’t want to divide the portion of my week devoted to WoW between playing and writing. Well, that’s kind of changed recently. I’ve found myself with an inordinate amount of free time at work, and with so many ideas bouncing between synapses that I’m fairly certain my head might spontaneously implode if I don’t write some of it down. (Clearly, not only about WoW, but as I have other outlets for those, they won’t take up too much space here).

So what have I been doing in the interim? My healers are all 85 and in varying states of progression. I still favor my priest above all else; I love being holy and I’ve put so much effort and attention into her that I’m quite attached. My guild is still on Terenas, and we’re the same little incestuous family we’ve been for years. As much as I’ve reached out to the community, and made some wonderful new friends, I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.

Oh, and the Matticast! Around December or so, Matt from World of Matticus, put a call out for cohosts for the companion podcast for his site. I feel incredibly grateful and lucky that he chose me as one of the people to work on this project with him. I have an absolute ball recording with him, Borsk, Brian, and Chase every week. They are all so incredibly fun to talk to and smart! So, if you haven’t already given it a listen, check it out on WoM or iTunes sometime.

I don’t know where my new motivation will take me. I think, for the time being, most of my inspiration is coming from personal dilemmas and experiences. I have ideas regarding healing and encounter strategies, of course, but there are also so many wonderful resources out there that I might just be echoing those who have written before me. And there may or may not be a certain dwarven priest who would probably do a little jig of joy if those miraculously appeared on another site. Either way, thank you for being along for the ride.

When I was a newbie priest, a certain someone hooked me onto WoW by promising two things: 1. he would level with me so I could heal all the way to 70. 2. I would have a  veritable menagerie of cute companions that could follow me around at all times. The second point was accumulated along the way, though upon my first login I was presented with a white kitten and a snowshoe hare =)

E. followed through on his end of the bargain; we leveled all the way to 70 together – he pulling every mob in site and me gleefully smashing as many of my heal buttons as I could to keep him alive. It was all I really knew (for awhile anyway). After awhile my isolated bubble of WoW existence turned into a running joke which then morphed into an issue of pride. Even now I can honestly say that Edainne (on Terenas, not her clone) has never once been spec’d shadow. And as silly as it seems, it’s so much a part of her character (or what I envision her to be), that it’s not something I want to let go of lightly.

So, part of my preparation for Cataclysm was to create a Disc/Holy oriented spec  to level with. And now I’d like to share it with all the other masochists healing enthusiasts out there who want to keep their beloved priests smiting away. A couple of notes before we begin:

  • This is my core spec starting at level 80. The talent points you gain along the way can be used creatively.
  • I am NOT gearing this towards people who will be chain running instances. Personally, I like experiencing the lore and story lines that go into questing. I also get endlessly frustrated by random dungeons, and this is supposed to be a FUN experience, not a hair-pulling one.
  • This is NOT the quickest way to level. If your goal is to get to 85 as fast as draeneily possible (or dwarvenly or gnomely or whichever race you choose to play), this is probably not the way for you.
  • On that note, from what I’ve seen in the Beta, it is a little bit slower going leveling as a healer. I think they purposely didn’t try to tune the outside world for healers to level with because duel specs are very easy to come by nowadays, and it would be perfectly reasonable to assume that most people have some sort of DPS offspec.
  • My plan for leveling is to use one of the below specs for questing, and then having a “normal” PvE spec for healing instances with.

Part One: The Discipline Spec

Pros: Bubbles actually last the duration of a fight; reflective shield is AWESOME ; more mana efficient; smite heals you!

Cons: Slightly less damage done than a holy spec; getting low on health can easily turn into a death sentence

The Spec, tier by tier:

Tier 1:

Improved Power Word: Shield (2/2) – Because when you’re fighting mobs that can actually kill you, you want that extra bubble!

Twin Disciplines (3/3) – More damage = killing faster = faster leveling and/or less time getting acquainted with the ground

Tier 2:

Evangelism (2/2) and Archangel (1/1) – Basically each time you smite, you gain a buff that will reduce the mana cost and increase the damage of your smite, holy fire and penance. When you activate Archangel, you’ll consume the stacks of Evangelism refunding 3% of your total mana pool for each stack. It not only keeps you from going out of mana, but the wings are SO pretty. /love

Soul  Warding (2/2) : Reduces the cool down of your shields!

Inner Sanctum (1/2): I used this to jump down to the next tier. It increases the effectiveness of your Inner Fire or Inner Will. If you’re having mana issues, another choice could be Mental Agility (1/3) to reduce the mana cost of instant cast spells.

Tier 3:

Renewed Hope (2/2) – Increasing the effectiveness of most of your heals on a target with Weakened Soul (i.e. you) just seems like a good idea when mobs can bring you to half health in one shot

Power Infusion (1/1)- Because who doesn’t want a mini heroism?

Atonement (2/2)- Your smites heal you! No more wasting time healing when you can just kill  your way back to full health!

Inner Focus (1/1) – Because having a free heal is always a good thing

Tier 4:

Rapture (3/3) – Your shields will break often while questing. Might as well have your enemies restore mana while they’re at it!

Borrowed Time (2/2) – Again, since you’re likely to be recasting your shields every time you enter (or are about to enter) combat, it just makes sense to grant your Penace/Holy Fire/Smite a bit of haste.

Reflective Shield (2/2) – Because who doesn’t love going “neener neener neener” when a Twilight Cultist attacks you only to be smote by the power of your holy goodness!

Tier 5:

Divine Aegis (3/3) – Because you can never have too many bubbles. And it leads to the only spell that made me consider going Discipline full time.

Pain Suppression (1/1) – This is just one of those obvious choices once you start questing in Hyjal or Vash’jr and repeatedly get your face pounded in by geblins or cultists.

Tier 6:

Focused Will (2/2) – It’s not really that impressive if an enemy can take 10% of your health in one swing, seeing as you’re light filled, cloth wearing squishy. Which makes it awesome that as soon as they do, you take reduced damage for the next 8 seconds.

Grace (2/2) – When you’re soloing, chances are this buff will only stack on you (unless you have a penchant for healing any random passerby which, hi! totally understand that!), and increased healing is always a good thing!

Tier 7:

Power Word: Barrier (1/1) – This spell makes me SO happy. And, while in the beta, it got me through a lot of quests I was convinced I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise (not even Guardian Spirit was working on those pulls).

3 Remaining Points – What can I do!

My favorite choices for the last three points you have as a level 80 are either Darkness for the haste buff or Veiled Shadows for the increased uptime on Shadowfiend. Either should be fine choices. You can also put points into Divine Fury to reduce the cast time on your smite and heal spells.

Discipline felt like a great spec for leveling because I never felt the need to constantly heal myself or sit and drink between pulls. I did feel like I killed things a bit slower than I did as holy though.

Part Two : The Holy Spec

Pros: Feels like it hits harder than Discipline; bigger heals when needed; fun chakra states; Chastise!!!

Cons: Less mana efficient; smaller bubbles lead to more push back; no smite heals or power word: barrier /sad panda

Tier One:

Divine Fury (3/3) – Because who wants a slow smite?

Improved Renew (2/2) – Now with 10% more healing to keep you alive after the bubble fails!

Empowered Healing (3/3) – As a holy priest, you’ll be healing yourself more than your discipline counterparts (damn them and their bubble mastery!)

Tier 2:

Surge of Light (2/2) – Free  instant heals that proc when I cast smite?! Yes, please!

Inspiration (2/2)  – Damage reduction is always helpful while soloing.

*Editor’s Note* Yes, you can take Desperate Prayer (the instant self heal with a 2 minute cooldown), but I happen to prefer to put my points elsewhere since I already have 2 free heals from being a Draenei herbalist.

Tier 3:

Holy Concentration (2/2)  – As a holy priest, smiting isn’t exactly mana friendly, so the more in combat regeneration, the better!

Lightwell (1/1) – I found in the beta that if I put this in the middle of a group of mobs and then pulled them to me one at a time, I used a lot mess mana healing myself than alternating smite with heal.

Tome of Light (2/2) – The more often I can stun an enemy with Chastise and prevent them from hitting me, the happier I am!

Tier 4:

Spirit of Redemption (1/1) – The iconic holy priest flail angel! How could you NOT take it?

Serendipity (2/2) – When you’re really in a pickle, and flash heals just aren’t doing the trick, a quick greater heal is just the pick-me-up you need!

*Editor’s Note* Tier 4 for holy priest doesn’t offer much by way of offensive or defensive spells. If there are other talents in earlier tiers, go for them! I’m a sucker for nostalgia and nothing quite makes me think of a holy priest as much as Spirit of Redemption.

Tier 5:

Body and Soul (2/2) – When you absolutely, positively have to get there on time! (Or cleanse a poison….)

Chakra (1/1) – Chakra: Smite is an integral part of a holy priest’s arsenal while soloing, increasing damage done by holy and shadow spells by 15%

Revelations (1/1) – Switching your Holy Word: Chastise to correspond with your chakra state. I found it helpful to enter the prayer of healing chakra during certain encounters so that I was able to use Holy Word: Sanctuary as a boost to my survivability.

Blessed Resilience (2/2) – Like Focused Will, it’s dependent on taking 10% of your health in damage in one hit, which isn’t especially hard to do as a clothie. Another good talent for staying alive while questing.

Tier 6:

Test of Faith (2/3) – Increased healing when you’re below 50% health (it’s surprising how much harder it is to fill your health bar once it’s crossed the half-way point).

State of Mind (2/2) – Now you don’t have to worry about your smite chakra falling away so easily!

Circle of Healing (1/1) –  Because it’s fun, instant, and I love it!

Tier 7:

Guardian Spirit (1/1) – The ultimate “oh crap” button. Saving yourself from certain death when nothing else will!

Wait, what about all the extra points I have?!

I like going into any of the shadow talents above (especially veiled shadows because I find my shadowfiend to be a helpful companion in taking down the resilient cataclysm mobs). There’s also the option of branching into Discipline for Twin Disciplines and Improved Shields.

Leveling as a holy priest requires a lot more active healing than as a discipline priest. Bubbles seem to run out a lot faster than I had expected or gotten used to in Wrath. That being said, the smites do hit harder, and the chastise goes a long way in dealing with mobs. The best pattern I found for effective holy priest leveling in the beta was to cast two offensive spells, then a heal and repeat that pattern (putting up power word:shield and chastising whenever available) until the mob dies.

The glyphs for both specs are actually quite similar. I like using whichever Prime Glyphs are my favorites (for Discipline, it’s Barrier, Shield and Penance and for Holy it’s Guardian Spirit, Renew and Lightwell), and focusing on the major glyphs to take care of my smites – Divine Accuracy (so I don’t miss often), Smite (so I do more damage) and Psychic Scream (so I can have another way of keeping mobs from hitting me without accidentally aggroing more).

So this is my tentative plan for Cataclysm’s release on Tuesday. I’m pretty confident that I can level as a healer to 85 without chain running instances (I’ve done it before), and it’ll be one of those fun challenges I’ll look back on fondly once it’s over.

Or I’ll realize how absurd I’ve been acting. One or the other….

How are you all changing your specs around to accommodate your leveling styles?

Hi! It’s been a long time since I’ve been around, but with the New Year approaching, and with new inspiration for Cataclysm,  I felt the desire to start blogging again. Bear with me while I readjust, and please feel free to send hugs and happy vibes my way =)

Preparing for the ‘Clysm!

So we’re officially 75 hours away from the release date! (Ok, more like 85 if you live in an area like I do that ISN’T having a midnight release. You’re responsible for my pouty face, Best Buy!) I hadn’t really been on my toons except for my teams’ weekly raids, but from right before the shattering until tonight, I’ve been on a little every day, preparing my characters as best I can for the leveling blitz! I’ve moved all my characters to new homes, fully taking advantages of all the Inns I’ve never seen before (Who knew there was more than one in Ironforge!?).  I’ve leveled my little gnome mage and given her some much deserved attention before she gets shelved for another x amount of months until I’ve finished leveling all my healers to 85 and gotten them to the point where I feel like I can let them sit for 5 minutes while I toy around with something that doesn’t involve the end game.

And I’ve mapped out Edainne’s leveling spec. Since I’m a masochist and stubborn, I don’t want to tarnish her record of Never. Being. Shadow. Although, I will say this now –  none of my other characters will level that way. They all have dps specs; I’m not that mean to myself….

Also, having 4 people to instance with makes me dance a little bit in my seat. When we were leveling in Wrath, there was a group of 8 of us or so that would join up and queue together. It made the learning curve SO much less stressful; there wasn’t ever a fear of being cursed out or ridiculed for wiping.

RIP Old Azeroth

I surprised myself a little when I actually felt sad to see the old world replaced by the new order. I thought I had come to terms with the changes, but part of me wished that I had appreciated the Old World a little more before it vanished. I spent my last weeks farming the vanishing reps (and helping my friends do the same), and I didn’t really look around too often. The night before the patch was released, I found myself gazing at the trelisses that used to  adorn the buildings in Stormwind’s (now destroyed) Park District, and realized I had never noticed how pretty they were before. I took some last screenshots, then headed over to the roomier, less densely populated inn in Old Town, and logged out to the Sindragosa load screen one last time.

I do have a little consolation though; even though I never got around to taking all the pictures of Pre-Cataclysmic, Angelya at Revive and Rejuvinate has an AWESOME gallery of screenshots.

Leveling – Oh god, is it fun!

In BC, right before Wrath came out, I remember spending all my time on my 70s just enjoying the new talent trees and having one last hooray at raids that were made much, MUCH easier by the changes. This time around, I’m spending all my time online on lowbie alts. I’m leveling new hordies to experience their side of the stories (plus, my troll druid looks like she had an accident at the Crayola factory; it’s AWESOME), and my mage just feels like the awesome little ball of fire she is.

Plus, the new quests keep everything interesting, and everything flows SO well together. I’m loving the quests being right in the front of the instance when you start; I like feeling like there’s a reason for me going into a decrepit, haunted mansion isolated on an island in the middle of hostile territory. Before it was all, Shadowfang Keep? Uh, I’ll let the werewolves eat the vampires undead so I don’t have to deal with them, thankyouverymuch.  I will admit, though, that I still feel a little weird every time I ding because I picked a flower (Oh look! Peacebloom! <You have reached level 29!>  /anticlimatic shrug).

AMG More Mini Pets!

Clearly, this was my first priority when I patched my game. I mean, really, what else do you when the world explodes around you? I picked up a little Sunflower on each of my healers the week of Pilgrim’s Progress (since 3 of them needed to head out to Undercity anyways for the feasting….mmmm undead turkey!). The PvZ mini game is a lot of fun, albeit a bit more frustrating and not nearly as cute as it’s inspiration, but it is totally worth the singing sunflower. You guys, she stops mid trot to hum to herself!

My priest then headed across the Maelstrom to collect Withers from the new questline in Darkshore. It didn’t take nearly long as I remember it on the Beta (with a level 14 worgen. With no heirlooms. Or Mount…..). As alliance, you basically do all the quests in the new village until you reach the Troll Battle. Once you head back to town, there will be a final quest that gives you Withers as a reminder of the tragedy that struck Auberdine. The quest lines are poignant, especially for anyone who ever quested in Darkshore while leveling, and take about 30 minutes start to finish with a level 80 (not including the travel time to Darkshore).
I think my new favorite pet though is the Moonkin Hatchling. I knew I wanted one when I saw the previews on Blizzard’s new site, but after I was given one as an early Christmas present, I’ve been taking him out every chance I get and just giggling at his preposterously huge brown eyes and his baby drood dance (HIS WINGS DON’T REACH ALL THE WAY BACK!) and his spontaneous flower spawning. It’s amazing I get anything done with him around. Seriously.

So, what have you been doing since the patch that changed the world? Have you been leveling that gnome priest you’ve always wanted? ( I’m making one, even though I have 2 priests already) Are you exploring the shattering and wondering (like I did as I was completing Pilgrim achievement on my druid) where the HELL is the patch of land that connects Northern Barrens to Southern Barrens (Hint: go alllllllll the way to the top of the chasm. Don’t try to jump in the lava and then scale the wall….) ?

Before I get into anything else, I do want to apologize for my silence in the blog, on Twitter, and in the SAN community, I took over a former co-worker’s position, and not only has it been stressful, but it has also thrown me out of my normal rhythm of writing during my lunch break as…well…I haven’t really had a proper one in the last two weeks. I’m now trying to get into a rhythm of writing at home, which, until this post, I’ve utterly failed at doing. So bear with me during this transition. ❤


So it’s here! I didn’t see it until someone emailed it to me at 7:30 this morning, but when I did I just about let loose a raucous burst of giggles in my cubicle. I’m only going to highlight the discipline/holy portions of the preview because in my world, shadow priests don’t exist. Well, maybe they do. I’ve heard rumors. But really, they’re just warlocks that return my mana. This just in! Hardcore Holy Priest Edainne has gone to the darkside (sort of). After deciding to roll a newbie priest on a PvP server that has some of my long-time friends on it, I decided that I would level her shadow (with a healing offspec, of course!). I know. It goes against every fiber in my being. But I will not give up! That being said, I still know jack-squat about being an effective shadow priest, and as such I still suggest you go find a real one to fill you in on the shadow priesty changes announced for Cataclysm (though according to Cassandri in the comments, there’s not much).

Here’s the breakdown we’ve gotten so far from the WoW Devs. If you’re really interested in all three trees and spells, head over to MMO Champion for a complete transcript of what the blues had to say. As with anything regarding the new expansion, anything written here, including opinions, are subject to beta-testing and change.

Masteries and You

In Cataclysm, each talent tree will have three masteries associated it. Think of masteries as bonuses for the tree : the more points you place in a given three, the more benefit you will get from that particular tree’s masteries. As of right now, your main tree will be what you get your masteries from (edited as I had originally used old Blizzcon Information only to be corrected =) )

The discipline and holy trees both have two of the same masteries: Healing and Meditation. Healing is exactly what it sounds like – for every point spent in that particular tree, you will notice an increase to your healing done. Meditation is directly related to your mana regeneration (think of like the current discipline talent, only you get it with each point you spend!).

For me, this is exciting news! Instead of placing points in talents just to earn more spell power or more regen, we can put points into interesting new spells or buffs that will boost our individual playstyle. At BlizzCon, the presiding theme over talent trees was to turn them into something more exciting and less cookie-cutter, and getting rid of all the talents that passively boost your healing output (and thereby make them “mandatory” to take) seems like a way to allow players to be more creative with their spec choices.

Now, Discipline and Holy trees each have one more mastery that is unique to that particular tree. Holy priests will receive a mastery called Radiance which esssentially adds a heal-over-time component to your direct heals. Depending on how large the heal over time is, it could be nice to counter static raid wide damage (think of Queen Lana’thel’s aura or Garfrost’s stacking debuff) or it could be a huge source of overhealing. The Discipline tree will have the third mastery of Absorption which, omgawd nowai!, increases the amount absorbed by shields and aegis and barriers, oh my! It seems like a fairly straight forward concept, and while it might not be shiny exciting mastery of gloriousness, to me it’s still quite an appropriate and dare I say expected mastery for the bubblers. I’ll let a real discipline priest chew on that more though as I am most certainly a holy priest first and foremost and a discipline priest amateur.

New Spells (and Talents!) of Awesomeness!

Yoink! I mean…Leap of Faith

This might be my new favorite spell in the game, if it makes it through the beta-testing. As developers mentioned in their chat yesterday, Leap of Faith is a spell all priests would get at level 85 that on a 45 second cool-down would allow the priest to yank friends out of danger.. That’s right. You can force people to gtfo of the fires. It is the antithesis of Deathgrip!

I love this idea. I don’t know how it will play out, or if I’ll be able to really use it effectively if I’m in tunnel-vision healy mode, but the concept alone wins in my brain. I am going to LOVE yoinking stupid melee dps who purposefully stand in the gosh darn fire because they can’t BEAR to loose their precious dps for one millisecond and force me to heal them through avoidable damage. Ahem.

I also really appreciate it from a pvp standpoint (a flag carrier who’s getting focused on in Warsong Gultch mayhaps), though it makes me a little bit worried for my survivability. If you knew that I could life-grip a person on my team to me if they were in trouble, wouldn’t you just kill me first? I find we already are boosting a giant HAI KILL ME NAO PEESE sign for just being the squishy balls of lights we are. But let’s be honest here. I only pvp’d enough so that I would have to spend beau coup gold to gem all of my alts.

Power Word : Barrier

It doesn’t seem like they’ve fully fleshed out this idea, but I’m drooling over the idea of it. Then again, as only an honorary shield-spamming bubblematic, I may not have any ground to stand on when it comes to discussing awesome discipline spells. But placing a freaking barrier over my group of friends to protect them from harm is the first thing that has really made me think, oh! Maybe it’s time to switch Eda’s spec.

Heal

In Cataclysm, the idea for healers is to have one efficient spell that covers their basic healing needs while everything else has its own niche (Greater Heal being only for situations that really need massive healing and Flash Heal being only for situations where you need that heal quickly, mana be damned). We’ve had this spell before, it just needed some attention after being on the highest shelf in the broom closet of the storage facility for the last two expansions By itself, it’s kind of an uninteresting spell, but the implications that come with it should be very exciting once we get more details about how exactly healing will work come the expansion.

Inner Will

We get to choose armor types! Inner Fire will still exist in its current form, granting spell power and armor. Inner Will will increase movement speed and decrease the cost of instant cast spells. It gives us a choice to make each fight to decide which will be more helpful. Inner Will might be more helpful on future encounters like Saurfang where you’re constantly tossing instant casts (bubbles, renew) on the raid while running around from things like those icky blood beasts. I really enjoy having to assess situations and adapt for new strategies.

Chakra

The developers described Chakra as a Holy Priest talent that would increase a certain type of healing after using a spell appropriate to that type of healing three times. So, imagine you’re healing a tank with Greater Heal. After the third cast, you would be granted a stacking buff that would increase your healing done to single targets. Or say if you did the same with Circle of Healing or Prayer of Healing – your area of effect healing would then be increased.

This was another theoretical talent that I really enjoyed the sound of. Sure, spamming the same spell from the same type may not be your typical raiding style, but being able to increase your specific healing niche for a fight seems like a very practical tool in a holy priest’s arsenal. One of the most enjoyable parts of playing my priest as holy is knowing that no matter the situation, I can handle it. I am the jill-of-all-trades healer, and Blizz seems to be supporting that style by allowing us to choose moment by moment what kind of healer we are.

Imagine if you will, a fight where a dedicated tank healer is needed. It’s you, a holy paladin (assuming they are still the undisputed kings of the single target heal), and a druid healing (assuming again that encounters need three healers). The holy paladin was just bludgeoned to death by a pack of marauding murlocs (don’t laugh, I’ve seen it happen). All of a sudden, the tank has no healer! Now, druids are perfectly able to heal tanks (I’ve done it. That’s the beauty of having so many healers I suppose), but you’re able to switch directly from healing the raid to healing the tank (with increased single target healing!) simply by casting a spell three times. It’s kind of like your very own ruby slippers. Only, instead of taking you home, they take you were you actually need to be.

In Conclusion

I’m EXTREMELY excited for the priest changes in Cataclysm. They seem to have read my mind and taken everything I loved about priest healing and just amplified it; well maybe not Life Grip — I was never creative enough to imagine that. To be honest, I’m just excited about healing changes in general – I like having to THINK about my choices rather than just spamming any and all of my spells with no consequences at all to my mana.

Before I really get to what I want to discuss, let me say this: No, this will not be about the quazi-recent events in our little corner of the internet.  I have nothing to say that hasn’t been said, nor do I feel any personal grudges towards anyone involved. I have had too much stress in my own life to involve myself in anyone else’s drama. That being said, I would like to take time to acknowledge Crankyhealer: Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Before you commented on my blog, I was pretty sure I was writing exclusively for myself and my numerous non-combat pets. You made me feel like I was part of the community before anyone else did, and I’m so very grateful for that. I’ll miss your blog immensely, but please stop by and say hi every now and again ❤

For the first time all week, I finally had a chance to sit at my desk and read the guild forums during my lunch break. My boyfriend had linked a post he had made on the official Blizzard forums discussing the new Icy Touch threat buff Death Knights got on Tuesday with the patch. Now, I don’t really know much about Icy Touch except that when he casts it, it makes him look like he’s a puppy shaking off snow. Cute, really, which is saying something for an undead draenei. Anyways, apparently he feels like it’s causing TOO much threat (as in, using his normal rotation he accidentally pulled off of our warrior and bear multiple times during our Tuesday night raid) and that it could easily be abused by others who haven’t had much experiencing tanking.

A pretty rational discussion followed; people were disagreeing and agreeing pleasantly, offering ways Blizzard might be able to fix the issue without completely gimping their threat. And then a level 80 orc from Illidan said something that made me sick to my stomach.

“we needed the threat buff. also, anyone who says “i’ve been playin a roug since vanila and a dk since then to” needs to die.”

That “roug” was my boyfriend. He had mentioned his experience in WoW before suggesting any of the changes he thought would balance Icy Touch.

What bothers me about that sentence is the “needs to die” portion. I don’t really care too much if you’re a random stranger who comes to a discussion with no proof and simply disagrees. Call him names, if you’re really so upset at his rational argument.  Anything would be better than telling another human being that they NEED TO DIE.

Why is this such a casual phrase? Why is it in the same vein as saying someone isn’t qualified to approach a subject?  Why are people trivializing something that is incredibly sensitive and emotional?

You, who knows NOTHING about the person behind the avatar, thinks he should die. How devastating do you think that would be for his girlfriend? His mother? His father? His siblings? Do you care?

My issue here is that this is what we’ve devolved into as a society. You don’t agree with me so you should be wiped off the face of this planet. You don’t agree with me so you don’t deserve to live.

And before someone out there gives me the excuse that “everyone’s saying it so it’s ok; he doesn’t actually want your boyfriend to die,” I get it. But just because a phrase has been shoved down our throats as a gaming colloquialism, doesn’t mean it’s ok.

Where is this rage and utter disregard for other human beings coming from? Is it, like Tam mentioned a few days ago, stemming from the repressed emotions that are stagnating in our testosterone-laden gaming community? Is it because there’s a level of detachment between our avatars and our corporeal selves?

I don’t have a degree in Psychology (yet…) or Sociology, and I certainly can’t explain everyone’s reason for acting this way.  But imagine you were me, and you were reading a fairly classy (as WoW forums go) post and its fairly classy responses, and all of a sudden some stranger is saying your boyfriend should die. No reasoning. Just annoyed.

I try really hard in anything I leave public to be as respectful and tactful as I can. I’ve refrained from mentioning many horrible pugs or naming-and-shaming on my blog because some part me hopes that if I can write positively and keep a cheerful attitude that it’ll rub off on me and my predilection to be somewhat of a pessimist will dissipate over time. Maybe that makes me a less fun read, but I would never want someone to come here to feel abused or to feel pain on behalf of a loved one.

Yes, this genuinely upset me. No matter how angry someone has made me, no matter how much pain they have brought upon me, I have never uttered those words. Not once.  Because I would NEVER wish death upon another person. I’m kind of a hippy – I want the world to be love and cuddles and puppies. I want to treat others nicely and I never want to intentionally hurt someone. Heck, when I unintentionally hurt someone, I’m wrought with guilt and I’m probably pretty annoying after the ten thousandth “I’m so so sorry.”

Basically what it boils down to is this (and I’m fairly certain that if you’re reading this you’re not likely to be one of those people who casually tosses death wishes around): Your fellow players are human beings.  Even if you think it’s common place, wishing death on someone you don’t know just isn’t friendly, and probably is a pretty unhealthy way to live. Just because you’re nonchalant about it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect the other person. Say what you want to say without resorting to a stinted vocabulary that resorts to profanities and death when you’re feeling upset about something.

I don’t feel like I have a good way to end this; it’s been something that’s bothered me for a long time now and this was kind of the straw that broke my blogging camel’s back. He’s now in traction and seems to be doing fine.

*hugs & love*

Eda

Way back when I started playing WoW, before I was serious about it, Lisa Poisso and Amanda Dean wrote a FABULOUS column at WoW-Insider called “Well Fed Buff” giving players a chance to experiment with their out-of-game playing skills. The column has been inactive for about 2 years now, but I loved it so much I’m trying to recreate it here. While the style of the post is their idea (because I loved it so much), the writing and the recipe are my own.

Pre-Raid Info
Every time I see a mage opening up a refreshment table, my tummy starts to growl. Even though Edainne rarely needs to sit and drink for mana, it’s always nice to have a warm bite of strudel to indulge in while sitting in the cold, dank hallways of Ice Crown.

The Raid Team

1 sheet puff pastry dough
2 large Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
Cinnamon to taste

The Strat

1. Buff The Raid Group Heat oven to 375. Take the dough out of the packaging and allow it to rest.
2. Carefully start to dps. Peel and cut the apples into ¼” thick slices. An easy way to do this is to cut the apples in half across the stem, then halve the apples twice more. Once you have the apple in eighths, carefully remove the remaining core by cutting a “v” in the middle (see diagram below). From there, you can put the apple flat side down on a cutting board and come out with nice, even slices.


3. Stack the raid. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon and sugar. Add the apples, tossing them to make sure each slice is evenly coated. Lightly sprinkle the vanilla extract over the coated apples.
4. Spread out! On a floured surface, roll out the pastry dough so you have approximately a 12”x16” rectangle of pastry. It doesn’t have to be quite even or pretty, just long enough so you can roll the dough upon itself multiple times.
5. Time to kite the adds. Spoon the apples onto the short side of the pastry. Very carefully, pick up that edge of the dough and begin to roll it on top of itself, like you would do with a jelly roll.
6. Kill all the adds before phase 2. Place on a non-greased baking sheet with the seam of the strudel facing downwards. Beat the egg in a small bowl with a tablespoon of water, then brush on top of the strudel before baking.
7. Full out DPS! Bake for 35 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown. Serve immediately, or allow it to cool to room temperature.

Hardmode Achievement: “You say apple, I say….”
If you happen to prefer another fruit, you can substitute it for the two apples. Generally speaking, you’ll need about ¾ of a cup to create the filling. The sugar and flour used are to create the ooey gooey filling, not to change the flavor, so keep their proportions as recommended. Tart fruits really compliment the buttery dough, so try it with pineapple, berries, ripe peaches, and cherries!

Hardmode Achievement: “Doughboy”
If activated, the pre-made pastry dough will vanish and the raid group will have to make this recipe from scratch. NOT recommended for new raiders, as pastry dough is extremely fickle and fragile.

*as a side note: Sorry about the lack of posts everyone! I’ve recently gotten a new set of duties at work that I’ve been spending most of my time training for, and I was sick most of  the last week =( But now that I’m no longer sneezing every 3 seconds, posts should resume a more regular schedule. Thanks for your patience <3*

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One of the most fantastic parts about blogging, especially about WoW, is the community that arises from the common interest; it ends up being so much more than just some random babbling. We email, we tweet, we comment every chance we get. And in it, we build relationships. It becomes more than just sharing boss strategies and class tricks and turns into supporting and caring for each other, in and out of game.

So, in honor of the spirit of community that blogging instills in both readers and authors, a new blogging guild has been formed! Tamarind of Righteous Orbs is the mastermind behind all of this, so I suggest you read this post to hear what he has to say about it all. He’ll be heading up the EU charter of <Single Abstract Noun> on Argent Dawn (Horde-EU).

But what fun would it be to limit the experience to the EU players? Tam’s partner in crime, Miss Medicina, has started the US/Oceanic Charter on Argent Dawn (Alli-US) as well! It’s a safe place for anyone interested in the blogging scene to come and have some fun. Role an alt, transfer a toon that doesn’t see much sunlight! Just stop by and share in the verbosity that is sure to ensue!

As this is most definitely Tam’s lovechild, I’ve decided to copy/paste his rules so not to mince his language:

The guild rules of Single Abstract Noun are as follows:

1. Anybody with even the vaguest passing interest in the blogging community is welcome – which is why it’s a blogging communities guild, not a bloggers’ guild.

2. Single Abstract Noun is a pantocracy – which means, not only that pants are encouraged, but it’s rule by all. The guild belongs to all who belong to it.

3. Use the guild however you like, as a meeting place, for conversation, for running the occasional dungeon, have a million alts, have a single character, whatever you like.

4. There are no rules about respecting other people because GODDAMN IT I’M TAKING THAT AS READ.

5. Leave your wowcock in the stand by the door.

A few things about the servers: both are RP, so if you’ve ever wanted to give it a try, now’s your chance! Also, they’re both quite established. I didn’t notice the US server being laggy or anything as I made my way from Exodar to Ironforge, though it did take me awhile to find a name that wasn’t already taken.

Last night, a group of us had a great time running around Dun Morogh and laughing it up on a lent vent server.

So come all ye healers, tanks, dps! Come have fun and socialize with the bloggers you read and love!

Anyone in the guild can send an invite, and all you READERS out there should come play with us too 🙂 It’s about the community, not whether you write a blog or not.

Etaini (Eh-ta-ee-ni) is my priest over there!

*Side note about the tabard that caused us to laugh quite a bit: Tam’s influence was Larisa of the PPI. Apparently he didn’t really think about what 2 clanking beer mugs would look like on the more voluptuous torso of his female comrades. As Miss Medicina wrote, be prepared for comments about the “nice jugs”.

Deathwing is coming. You can feel in the air. People are reporting minor tremors across Azeroth. In the blog-o-sphere, curiosity was piqued when the blues released some information regarding stat changes to gear in Cataclysm. Greg Street and Cory Starkton hinted at previews of the female Worgen model in the near future during their developer chat on Twitter last Friday. Most bloggers are reveling in this quickening release of data; they’re giggling as they postulate about what changes could mean for their particular niche and eagerly lap up any tidbits the devs  see fit to publicize.

And who could blame us? It’s an exciting premise: the world (of Warcraft) as we know it will be completely destroyed. Barren lands will become lush oasis.  Elemental planes long forgotten will reemerge, bringing with them new threats to civilization. Flying mounts will soar over the old world!

Sometimes my internal monologue turns into that of an excitable puppy: “Oh-gosh-look-it’s-the-new-neighbors-can-I-go-sniff-them-now?-I-bet-they’ll-let-me-sniff-them-and-then-maybe-rub-my-tummy-ohboyohboyohboy! Can-we-go-now-pleaseeeeeee?!” *scratches at door*

Then the “adult” portion of my brain kicks in and reminds me that I haven’t yet seen or done everything I’ve wanted to do yet in Wrath of the Lich King. And my puppy begins to panic.

So, I thought I’d come up with a little list, and cross them off as I’ve completed them. It’s all well and good to be excited about Cataclysm, but I feel the need to take that abundant energy and reroute it towards things I can accomplish now. Some of these things might not be possible after the Cataclysm rocks Azeroth. And I don’t want to leave Northrend with any regrets.

Get my hunter to 80. This should be fairly easy seeing as she’s now sitting at 15% of the way to 73. I only have 7.85 levels to go, and the way Osy’s pushing us to level I’d be surprised if it took more than a couple of weeks. I want to have a pure dps at the level cap as well; normally if I have the choice on a character to dps or heal, I’ll gladly heal. This is putting me out of my comfort zone and giving me something fresh and exciting to play with. And I love my pets.

Get Edainne her dragonhawk mount. Ever since the 100 mount achievement went live, I’ve wanted to get my priest her blue alliance dragonhawk (like the one the flight trainer rides on Krasus’s landing). I think it’s an absolutely gorgeous mount, and really the only thing preventing me from obtaining it is a lack of trying. I need about 5000g and some mind-numbing hours in Stratholme and Magister’s Terrace.  I don’t know if they’ll still offer a dragonhawk come Cataclysm, and I don’t want to regret never getting the one mount I really wanted.

Max out my character’s professions. I know this sounds silly, but I want everyone at 80 to be as close to maxed out in their given professions. I know I won’t want to spend the time once Cataclysm comes out to get my professions up to date before I go off to level my characters to 85, and I really don’t want to have to go back and do them all once my toons are settled at the new level cap.

Create a photo album of all my favorite locations in the Old World. We all know that some zones are going to be drastically…redecorated. I don’t want to forget the WoW I fell in love with.  Some of my happiest memories from leveling my priest were the adventures I had when leveling actually took a lot of work and questing in a lot of areas. My goal is to try to get at least one picture of my favorite area in each zone before they’re gone for good.

Explore all the Zones I’ve Never Been to Before. While I’ve travelled a LOT on Edainne, I’d still love to take the time to really see all that Azeroth has to offer.  I’ve never been to Stone Talon Peaks, or Burning Steppes. I still mix up Felwood and Feralas.

Do a few more of Horde Starting zones. I’ve never really leveled a hordie. I’ve always been curious to see their storylines, but all my friends have always played Alliance, and as I’m a sucker for pretty races, I’ve never even goofed around on anything more than a blood elf or a really cute tauren. Even if I never put too much time into them, I think it would be really awesome to see the Undead and Orc/Troll starting zones.  Heck, I could probably stand to do the human and dwarven starting areas as well!

Earn the title Starcaller and get my Rusted Protodrake. Starcaller Edainne just has a pretty ring to it. I know I vastly outgear Ulduar now, but it’s never lost its beauty for me. I’d rather wipe in there week after week than constantly stare at the same one room as Tirion Fordring parades “challenge” after “challenge.”  I have a pretty stellar (bad pun, sorry) group to finish the last 4 achievements, but coordinating a schedule might prove harder than first assumed.

Defeat the final encounter of ICC and watch the cinematic for myself. I’ve been avoiding lore posts and youtube videos for the last 3 weeks whenever the word “spoiler” shows up in their titles. I don’t even go near the fountain in the center of Dalaran. I have no desire to watch someone else beat the Champion of the Scourge.  I leveled my priest during the Burning Crusade; I never felt connected to Illidan’s story and I never thought I’d come close to killing him. But now? I’m literally 3 bosses away.  Arthas’ story has consumed my characters’ lives for the last year and a half or so. More if you include all the time they were frolicking in Outland while the scourge infestation grew at home.I feel so involved and I want to be the one who sees how all of this ends.

That’s my wish-list for Wrath of the Lich King. I’ve loved this expansion. I’ve loved the accessibility of all the raid instances. I’ve loved the way the lore was woven into every zone and experience my characters have had in Northrend. I’ve loved the difficulty of the hardmode encounters. And the perfect way to send myself into Cataclysm would be to complete at least some of these goals before the world is broken asunder.

Khi over at Tree Burglar suggested a wonderful topic for this Lunar Festival season: as an Elder of the game, what do you recommend for newbies coming into Azeroth for the first time?

I don’t see myself as an Elder. I’m not eternally calm, nor do I strut around with a moonbeam following my every movement (oh but to dream…). Heck, my main has NO influence over the natural world whatsoever; she’s a priest who was given holy powers by a band of interdimensional geometric shapes. When I entered Azeroth, I was guided by a knowledgeable warrior whose friends lavished me with kittens, moths, and prairie dogs; I leveled my priest as holy at a time healing was a stat on items because I had someone there to beat down the monsters for me.

I’m not really making myself look good here. Moving right along…

As Elder’s Assistant’s Sister’s Baker’s Apprentice Edainne, people usually only flock to me for advice when their cookies come out as flat little discs (hint: use a heaping tablespoon of baking powder!). But today, with Khi’s encouragement, I’m here to give novice players some advice to survive their first few adventures in Azeroth!

1. Never, ever buy white-level gear from a vendor. You don’t need the armor that badly. And while it may look cool, chances are you’re going to replace it the next time you hand in a quest. So save your hard earned silver and copper for things you really need, like training! The only thing that breaks this rule is ammunition, but that’s more of a consumable rather than equipment.

2. Set your hearth early and frequently until you make it to a major city. You might be able to get by if you’re a mage, because then you’ll be able to port yourself anywhere you’d like. But for all of us non-Twisting Nether travelers, setting your hearth is CRUCIAL. Otherwise, you might find yourself teleporting to the little beginning area every time you’re forced to use it. It helps to check for an inn keeper every time you make it to a new friendly outpost.

3. Know your tracking options! On your minimap, there should be a little bubble with some sort of icon in the middle of it. If you click on that bubble, you’ll be able to track everything from herbs and mining nodes to trainers and vendors. If you’re having a hard time finding someone who sells candles, or you don’t know where your bank is in a foreign city, this is the place to start.

4.Choose one talent tree and stick with it in the beginning. I know that the first tier of each tree seems to have so many exciting talents.  But honestly, the talents just get better as you get deeper in each tree! Pick a tree you want to start exploring, and as you’re leveling fill out that tree until there are no longer talents you find interesting or useful. If you spread yourself too much at the beginning, you won’t be able to get the really awesome talents quickly (like the loveable Boomkin form or the ability to tame exotic pets).

5. Be polite in the wilds. Occasionally you’ll come across another adventurer questing in the same area as you. Be considerate of their experience. If they’re of the same faction, send a tell to the player (/w <player’s name>) to see if they would like to quest together so you don’t accidentally kill their targets. If they’re of the opposite faction, acknowledge them, and try not to hit the mobs they’re targeting.

6. Team up with other people from your realm! The looking for dungeon feature is a GREAT way to get groups together, especially in early content. But I recommend asking in your server’s looking for group or trade chat first. Even if you only get one or two responses, you may be able to find a new friend on the server to group with more regularly. Then the two (or three!) of you can comb the dungeon finders together, while also being available to help each other on group quests.

7.  Explore! The World (of Warcraft) is an immense universe filled to the brim with countless experiences to be had. It’s up to you find them yourself. Take some time to run around places you were never sent to quest. You might just find your favorite fishing spot, or contemplation nook.

8.  Experiment! Maybe you first started out with a squishy priest and hated every moment of it. Or the Undead starting zone just didn’t resonate with you. Try again! Play both factions. Try your hand at a melee dps or a caster. Maybe a tank is more your speed. Give roleplaying a whirl. Sign up for a heart-racing player versus player battle. There are so many options to your race and class and realm experience, it would be silly to have one bad experience and completely write off the entire game. Maybe in the end, WoW just isn’t the game for you, but can you honestly know until you’ve tried all it has to offer?

9.  Pick up cooking and first aid. It might seem like a hassle to level it, but it’s always great to have band-aids and roasted meat around. The food has been (mostly) updated so whatever you eat will give you some sort of buff to make your experience a little bit easier, and even classes with heals can benefit from having a bandage in their backpack when their mana is low.

10.  Be patient. Relax. It’s only a game. The first few levels might seem difficult, or even boring. But it gets better with time. The spells become more interesting, the game play mechanics begin to make sense. If you’re having trouble with something you can take a break and come back to it when you’re bigger or when your mind is clearer or when you’ve found someone to help. It will be there waiting for you.

And as a bonus, my final piece of advice:

11.  Remember, you’re never alone. Sometimes when you’re playing in a world as massive as Azeroth, it can get a bit lonely. You might feel like you have no one to turn to or that it’s too intimidating to talk to people.  It’s ok. I think we’ve all been there. But that’s what’s important to remember: we’ve all experienced it ourselves. Some of us forget this, and may treat you as disposable, but a great many of us haven’t. 9/10 times if you ask a question in your server’s general or trade chat, someone will answer you. Someone will try to help you. And if you’re reading this blog, or any other blog for that matter, you’re already one step ahead of the game. Blogs are a form of conversation, and most bloggers I know are happy (if not estatic) to help new players who have legitimate questions and concerns. Talk to us. We’re here.

And that’s all advice this apprentice can muster for today. How about you all? What tips would you give a budding WoW Enthusiast taking their first steps into a brand new world?

As a note: if you ever have a question for me, whether its about my preferences, my gaming style, healers in specific, healers in general, or raiding/leading, please feel free to ask away in the comments or to send me an email at lightandleafy@gmail.com


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