Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm Offering a Service; Do You Want It?

So, over the past few weeks, besides raiding, studying, writing and, on occasion, sleeping, I've been approached numerous times (four or five) to look over a Restoration Druid from every angle, and asked "What am I/what is he/what is she doing wrong, and how can it be improved?" I was provided with World of Logs data, armory information, and sometimes even anecdotes. I went in, looked over all the information, made my suggestions, and then later was given positive feedback, on the few who gave any.

All of what I said above was to ask: do you guys (aka my readers) feel this is a service worth offering, would you partake in it, and how would you feel about some "stranger" on the internet looking over your Druid and going "OMG WHAT DID YOU DO"?

There's always a danger when offering this kind of service, as well. Often times, what I advocate will require major regemming, respecing, enchanting and glyphing. I may make gear recommendations that will cost badges or gold. And after all that, if the Druid in question doesn't improve, well, I'll have no way of knowing if I messed up or if they did, because I'm not going to be able to roll an 80 on every server and follow them around to check up on their progress.

The other thing is, it can take me a lot of time to do these. They are not uninvolved processes unless the Druid is perfectly done (and I have no idea why they would be coming to me for advice) or near-perfect with just a few tweaks. And the ones I have gotten so far...are not near-perfect, so they take an hour or more to sort through and then give suggestions. Especially as I try to give reasons behind these suggestions so there is understanding in the future, rather than just giving them the answers and them having to return later.

And what would I do with it? Many people might prefer not to show their Druid's Pauper to Princess transformation to the internet, so my abilities to blog about it could be limited. I would, in essence, spend hours on individual Druids, teaching them how to gear and gem and enchant, with no benefit to myself other than perhaps a rather delighted person on the other end of my e-mail/IM/Skype. I suppose it sounds a little selfish to say "what do I get out of helping you" but when they take over an hour of work for each individual, you have to think of your own personal time, what you're taking away from to perform a service that isn't saving baby seals or racing for the cure (things which you only get a personal sense of satisfaction from at the time, but are definitely worthwhile).

I bounced this idea off of one of the people who asked me to look over his guild's two Restoration Druids, and he suggested I make it a paid service. In some ways, this makes sense. Give me some amount of money and I'll go over your Druid and pound out all the details. It could be a flat price or a price per thing you want me to go over. And man, if there is a real demand for this it would be insanely nice to have some pocket money, or just be able to pay off an application fee here and there for grad school.

But I'm not an "expert," I don't do theorycrafting. I practice implementation and see what works in the game and I do research, but I can't do my own math; I wouldn't know where to start. I know what works in the game, around where you should be to do what, but I can't sit there and give you the formulas behind different mechanics. And maybe people don't want formulas and would rather just have "this is what works for me, this is what we're downing ToC 25 hardmodes with, this should work for you." And that's awesome because that's what I do.

I also feel uncomfortable using my blog to make money, as weird as it sounds. Yeah, if the guys at Project Lore offered me a job, you can bet I'd snap it up in a heartbeat and brag to everybody who wasn't sick of me yet about being paid to play til I was blue in the face. I had Google's AdSense up for maybe ten minutes before I couldn't figure out how to shutdown the gold farming, power levellng ads and shut them off in disgust. I get offers from people to place ads on my blog, and I am rather clueless as to what to tell them, as I don't really know if I like the idea of ads on my blog, even if they're legitimate and WoW related. Why? I don't know. They look weird or something. But that is not the point!

This all wraps up to me wanting to know the answers to a few questions:
  1. Does this sound like a service you would use?
  2. Would you use it for yourself or your guild?
  3. Would you allow the transformation to be posted on this blog?
  4. Would you pay for it?
  5. What would you consider a reasonable price?
  6. Would your answer to question 3 change depending on if it was free or not?
I'm just testing the water here; I want to know what you guys think. And, man, how often do you get actually asked for your opinion and it's really, really wanted and not just fodder for the other side to push theirs on a pedestal? Not very often.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Let's Try This Again

So, if you remember not long ago, I asked you to send questions to The Elitist Podcast because I was going to be interviewed (look, I even reused the old outdated screenshot from the post). Well, it happened a while ago, but the initial interview had some weird technical difficulty and it had to be trashed.

We're going to try it again! Only this time, Sylly will be with me, too! Twice the Druid fun.

Now, the other thing is, if you sent in a Druid-related, Bellwether-related or blogging-related question, you need to resend it by tonight. More technical fun abounded and somehow they are unable to be found. And getting new, exciting, Sylly-related questions would be awesome!

If you have questions or comments for me, Sylly or the Elitists, send them to Elitistpodcast AT gmail DOT com and hopefully things will work out this time!

And it's kind of short notice, but they need to be in by 7 PM EST tonight. Sorry! And thanks again!

EDIT: It's done! Thanks for everyone who sent in questions :D We can hope there's no technical difficulties this time.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Come Play With Me!

Did you know Vigilant is recruiting?


But recruiting what specifically? At the moment, we're recruiting Priests for healing and Mages for biscuits and AI (and, well, DPS I guess). I think we're also looking for a nice DPS Warrior to give us...Sunders? I don't know what DPS warriors do past "hit things."

Wait, Bell, why're you telling us about recruiting other classes on a blog for Resto Druids and maybe a little bit about Paladins?

Wow, you guys hypothetically ask a lot of questions.

Well, besides what we're actively recruiting, we will not turn away exceptional people who apply, even if we're not specifically looking for the class. What does this mean? It means you may spend a little time on the bench, you may not get into ToC 25 hardmodes right away, but you'll probably be seeing Ulduar (except the harder hardmodes) and normal ToC, and could even be called in to replace absent main raiders for the actually hard stuff!

So, no matter what you are, if you think you've got the stuff, head over to the guild website and apply. But! A little guild information before you go (shamelessly stolen from our recruitment threads):

Vigilant Is a Semi-Hardcore raiding guild on the Dark Iron PvP Server.
We started as a motley looking crew just before patch 3.0.1 as players who loved to raid, but came mostly from guilds who raided too long to justify the forward progress. We all wanted a fixed raid schedule of 3 days a week during normal progression, with players that had enough drive to push a few extra nights at the beginning of new content. During that 3.0.1 time, we formed a strong bond participating in server first warbears when all of us were level 70.

Our raiding progress in early LK had us with Server First 25M Sartharion, Faction First 25M: Glory of the Raider, 25M: Malygos & Related Achievements and 25M: The Twilight Zone. In Ulduar we posted Faction First 25M Hardmode XT, IC, Thorim, Vezax, 3xKnock and Mimiron. Our intention is to continue our high standard of raiding through 25M Trial of the Grand Crusader and into Icecrown.

Our progression raid times are 5:30 – 9:30 PST Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We are currently focusing on Algalon & Hard mode Anub'Arak. We also run several alt TOCs, HTOCs, Naxxes and Ulduars in 10 and 25 man flavors.

Current Content Downed:
All Pre-Ulduar Content Cleared including relevant hardmodes and achievements.
13/14 Ulduar 25 With Mim, Vezax, IC, Hodir, Thorim, XT, FL, 3x Knock Hard modes completed.
14/14 Ulduar 10 with several raid groups having their rusted protos.
5/5 Trial of the Crusader 10 and 25 man
5/5 Trial of the Grand Crusader 10 Man (Hard Modes) + Tribute to skill.
4/5 Trial of the Grand Crusader 25 Man (Hard Modes)

Loot system is Loot Council.

High Demand Classes we’re looking for:
DPS Warrior
Priests (Holy/Disc)

*Any* Exceptional applicant of any class is always welcome.

Our application format is easily accessible at our website:

Current Ranking: 156 US/338 World

We're all kind of (im)mature college-age kids with racy senses of humor, so if that's not your thing, don't apply.

Here's hoping I see you soon.

P.S. For the love of all that is good, if you're a Resto Druid applying, read how to gem yourself first. Please, please, please.

P.P.S. This slacker post brought to you by "Bell has her GRE test on Sunday morning and a Physiological Psychology test on Tuesday and she's TIRED." ToC 25 Hardmode Jaraxxus, Champs and Valks strats are in the works, as well as ToC 10 Anub'arak hardmode strat. Also a Power Auras post. I swear I'll get to it after I assure my future education. Pinky swear, even!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beasts of Northrend, Hardmode (25)

It may surprise some of you who have never been in Heroic Trial of the Crusader (25) that the first string of bosses are, in fact, one of the harder fights in the instance. Those of you who have actually fought these encounters, however, probably know why.

Not much changes mechanically from Normal to Hard modes. The main differences are:
  1. The bosses hit much harder
  2. There are strict time limits before the next boss/set of bosses emerge
  3. There is no speed boost to get out of the way of Icehowl's charge
  4. Icehowl's enrage cannot be removed by Tranquilizing Shot

Vigilant runs a 3 Tank, 6 healer, 16 DPS setup (with about an even number of ranged and melee, sometimes a little melee heavy). This allows for minimal Impales on tanks, no need for a ranged (and somewhat squishy) tank for the Jormungar, and gives us a bit of a buffer should one of the tanks take a bad hit. The downside of this is sacrificing a DPS spot, and with the stringent timers for the entrance of the next boss phase and the final enrage, everyone needs to live and dish out as much damage as possible.

Gormokk the Impaler
For the first boss, we arrange the raid so he is tanked parallel to the boss entrance doors, with the tank on the left and the melee behind the boss on the right. Ranged and healers spread out around the boss in a semi-circle, not standing too close to one another. This is to prevent Fire Bombs from landing on too many people at once.

A good idea is to angle your camera up so that you can see above Gormokk, and watch the bomb trajectory in the air. Though sometimes difficult with needing to also keep track of debuffs, health pools and snobolds, if you can manage to see it you can often avoid the patch of fire all together.

Your tanks should be on a rotation, calling out when they are taunting off of each other. They should also be using cooldowns regularly towards the end (as Gormokk will have more stacks of Rising Anger), and calling out to the healers with cooldowns to use them. They will want to taunt at 2-3 stacks of impale, and waiting (hopefully) until their stacks fall off to taunt again.

When Snobolds go out, it is a time to prioritize. If the snobold lands on a ranged or a healer, that person needs to immediately move into the melee. This will allow it to be cleaved. All DPS who can quickly ramp up DPS should switch to this snobold to remove it, while those who cannot (such as a Feral Druid who would have to build up bleeds) should simply try to cleave it. Ranged DPS should switch as well, especially if it is a snobold on a healer or tank. Snobolds on tanks must also be DPS'd off quickly to reduce their chance of being stunned and killed.

Snobolds on melee DPS, however, can be ignored for the time being. They do not present a serious threat and are not worth the DPS sacrifice on the boss. They will be cleaned up either near Gormokk's death (in the case of having a good head start on the Jormungar timer) or during transitions and submerges.

Acidmaw and Dreadscale
After 2 minutes and 20 seconds, Acidmaw and Dreadscale will be announced, and ten seconds after this, Dreadscale will strike. Gormokk needs to be dead by this point. Immediately, everyone should move away from the door. It's possible for a Jormungar to go for a squishy melee DPS right off the bat, and if they die without the Jormungar being damaged or gaining threat from anyone else, they will despawn, wasting your attempt. It's also a good idea to use Hand of Protection on the tank with the most Impales (or the longest duration remaining), immediately followed by Hand of Freedom to remove the Hand of Protection.

You will have a grounded worm and a mobile worm, and throughout the fight their positions and status (grounded or mobile) will switch. You should always have two tanks on the mobile worm and one on the grounded worm. However, on the mobile worm, only one tank should be in front of the boss at any time, and no DPS, healer or other tank should stand in front of the worm. The mobile worm should be moved in a circle around the outside of the room, only being moved after it drops a cloud of poison (to reduce poison spread over the whole room).

Whenever the first tank gains the debuff (be it Burning Bile or Paralytic Poison), the other tank should taunt the boss. However, the second tank should only taunt after the first tank has been hit by the worm's spewing attack. If the second tank taunts off prior, the first tank will remain the target of the spew and the Jormungar will turn to face that tank to use its attack, hitting everyone that tank is near and likely causing a wipe.

You may notice there's no map for this fight, but that is due to its highly mobile nature and the Jormungar's ever-changing positions. There are some keys to remember, however. Everyone should spread out. This will reduce the chance of a mass of people being debuffed with Burning Bile or Paralytic Poison. Healers have priority of position. If a healer is near you and you are a DPS, move away from them. They need to be able to reach the tanks and/or raid to keep them alive. Their targets may often be on two different sides of the room, while you will only have one target to position around.

Unless you are trying for the achievement, Acidmaw should die first. According to personal preference, you can blow Heroism/Bloodlust as soon as your tank has a nice hold on threat to burn him down. When attacking any grounded worm, your melee should be able to self-divide into groups to minimize possible spreading of Paralytic Poison (and, later, prevent Burning Bile explosions that decimate half your attack force). They should also check behind themselves to ensure they are not going to be launched into patches of poison when the grounded worm whirls around.

Managing debuffs is important in this phase. People with Burning Bile need to seek out people with Paralytic Poison to burn off the debuff, without damaging people in the raid too much and without standing next to each other (blowing each other up for multiple sources of damage). When Acidmaw is dead, everyone with Burning Bile's only job is to stay away from other people (and, if you're a healer, keep healing, or a ranged DPS, keep DPSing). You can very easily cause a wipe by blowing up other people in the raid, so just be safe.

When Acidmaw is dead, all DPS should (obviously) switch to Dreadscale. Dreadscale will enrage, so it's important to make sure adequate healing is on the tank. Keep performing as you did when Acidmaw was alive, and you should have your kill. Make sure to monitor your timers; Dreadmaw should be dead or near-dead by the time Icehowl arrives.

Three minutes after the beginning of the worm fight, Icehowl will emerge. A tank needs to pick him up immediately and bring him to the center as soon as possible. Your raid needs to then arrange yourselves around him in a circle, as spread out as possible (including melee; use the sides and back).

This is important for two reasons: to prevent a large portion of the raid from being hit with the Arctic Breath, and to prevent stacking when Icehowl uses Massive Crash to knock people into the walls (and perhaps making them unable to see through someone else's character model). Healers should be spread out evenly to be able to cover people caught in Breath.

It is important, while arranging yourself, to look behind you. Will you be knocked into the few patches of lingering poison? Are you going to be knocked into a doorway (boss entrance doorway is okay, smaller doorways are not)? Are there a lot of people around you? Move. Make sure wherever you are is well-positioned both for your role and for boss mechanics. Remember, you have no speed boost and no recovery from an enrage. While it is possible one tank may survive the enrage through stacking cooldowns, it is also very likely you will be down many DPS from the Whirl or random threat before his enrage wears off.

Something else important to note is not to charge into Icehowl too early while he is running at the wall. Even if he seems to have hit the wall, wait a moment before charging in, as you may get caught in front of him, causing an enrage. This happened to one of our Feral Druids and, while not his fault (other raid members confirmed that his charge had been immediately after Icehowl had hit the wall), it is better to be safe than sorry. If you still have Heroism/Bloodlust, when he is stunned and against the wall is the time to pop it. When he comes up, resume your positions, rinse and repeat, and you should have a dead Icehowl.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Secret is to Complain

I have found that as soon as I start whining about something, life comes back and slaps me upside the head to go "Why did you moan and cry about this? It's all better now and you just look stupid."

Vigilant downed Twin Val'kyr in 25 man Heroic last night!

If you'd like to watch our kill video, there's a link to Filefront here where you can download or stream it, recorded from the view of one of our Ret Paladins, Comandantes. I'm the tree in the bottom right you can barely see, who is soaking.

That's right, I was still soaking, but this time, way less stress and much more fun.


Well, when I'm able to get up the strategies (which we switched up a bit), all will be revealed! Unfortunately, I have some papers to write that are due today (one at one, one at midnight) you'll just have to be patient!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Crucial Roles and Failure

Currently, my guild is working on hardmode Twin Val'kyr in ToC 25 (we've beaten it several times in 10). We've tried many different strategies, but they all revolve around one thing: soakers.

If you're not sure what a soaker is, it's a person who is the opposite color aura of the group they are closest to, and their job is to soak incoming orbs before they hit the raid, as well as dodge their opposite color orbs so that they do hit the raid (and thus buff damage). A soaker has to be highly mobile, as standing still to cast is a bit of a danger to them, depending upon persistence of orbs.

But because the soaker's job is so vital, and because they are a little ways out of the group, when they mess is very, very noticeable. And if one dies, it can often cause a chain reaction for other soakers to die, as they suddenly have to cover a wider range, with more chance of being swarmed by the wrong color orb. You can take a hit from one opposite color orb, but more than that and you're generally dead, if you're not a tank.

My guild spent 3 hours, 25-26 attempts, last night on this fight. I was a dark soaker for the light side the entire time. Sometimes I could execute it perfectly til a wipe; many other times I died early. Some of it is RNG; you have nowhere to go and too many orbs of the wrong color flying at you, and your Barkskin can't soak that much damage, or you get a debuff of the opposite aura at the wrong time. Some of it is a split decision gone awry; you make a pathing choice under pressure and it puts you into a dead end of your own design. Some of it is lag; with so many orbs flying around, spell effects and people packed into one space, your computer can hiccup you into a stack of death, or your latency can show the orbs to be farther away than they actually are. Some of it is just being human; it's a high pressure fight, you have a high pressure job (run, soak, dodge, heal, stay alive), and you're going to mess up.

The worst part is the feeling that you messed up, you know you messed up, and it's likely your mess up is going to cause a chain reaction of deaths, either from orbs getting through or because your other soaker(s) now have to cover more ground (making their jobs more stressful and have a larger margin of error). Besides that, your mess up is obvious, when a soaker dies, it's a Bad Thing. You can lose a DPS or two so long as your damage can keep up with shields and the enrage timer. When a soaker dies, it's often a multiple blow: you lost a shield for the raid and, in our strategy, likely a healer.

The only fight that has stressed me out more was trying to two-heal hardmode Anub'arak 10 with a Disc Priest, and not by a lot. Playing a role that is so crucial that, within the confines of the encounter's start to finish, you have a very low margin of error (and your errors in fact increase the others' margins of error), tacked onto a job that already had a low margin of error (raid healing for auras requires intense upkeep, especially on those with Touch of Light or Touch of Dark when there is no aura switching) is very taxing. And the knowledge that not only did you mess up, but some of the things you messed up to are out of your control while plenty of others were and you just made a stupid split second decision, and sometimes you're not even sure which ones are which...

Let's just say I feel rather terrible about last night and the wipes I contributed to. I feel even worse because I don't know if I am even improving at the job. I really hope I am, because we have 17 attempts left for tonight.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gemming Your Resto Druid

I could argue that, compared to many other classes, gemming for a Restoration Druid is exceedingly simple. There are two appropriate metas for the healing Druid, and two styles of gemming your gear. These styles, however, are not solely dependant upon meta choice, but rather are based upon personal preference, needs, and even profession. The choices of gems for a Restoration are also extremely varied, but it is important to know which ones are going to give you more bang for your buck, especially with epic gems being somewhat expensive.

Meta Gems
Insightful Earthsiege Diamond
The Insightful Earthsiege Diamond is a good chunk of Intellect (increase of mana pool size and spell crit) and has a chance to restore mana with every spell cast. It requires one gem of every color, making it an easy meta to fill the requirements of. One Nightmare Tear/Enchanted Tear/Enchanted Pearl can completely fulfill all the requirements. The above gems may not be the best choices to fulfill your needed colors, but if you have no other gem slots besides your helm and its extra slot, you can still have a good meta with a decent bonus. Otherwise, a purple and orange are often good bets.

There has been some debate as to the effectiveness of this meta. But this was before Druids were throwing out Rejuvenations left, right and center. With a lot of casting, a larger mana pool is extremely helpful, and that extra bit of crit will come in handy with 4-piece T9. As well, the constant casting gives the Mana Restore more chances to proc during any fight. This makes it a very versatile meta, one focused more on longevity than pure power. Keeva talks more about this and the next meta on her site here.

Ember Skyflare Diamond
This is the "powerhouse" meta, and the most commonly utilized by Restoration Druids at end-game where mana regen is less of an issue. It has requirements that mean you must have three non-meta gem slots available to you, as it needs three red gems to activate (no combinations to grab two requirements at once). However, this is no detriment as far as Restoration Druids are concerned. Our four best gems all fill red requirements (Spellpower, Spellpower/Spirit, Spellpower/Haste, Spellpower/Intellect). If you have the gem slots and you want a boost to your straight-up healing numbers, this is the meta for you.

Spellpower is KING for Restoration Druids, no ifs, ands or buts. This straight up gives you 25 spellpower and 2% more Intellect. The Intellect gain is not off your base, it is off your current Intellect number, bonuses and all. That means it scales with gear as well as buffs. With it giving a larger mana pool and more crit, this meta is much more efficient, so long as you were not relying on your meta to recover your mana and you have the available gem slots.

Which Gems?
There's no mistaking this choice; if you're going red, you're going Runed. Restoration Druids love Spellpower. It's our bread and butter. This is the single-most commonly used type of gem in our gear, for good reason. If you have a red slot, there is no doubt what should go into it.

Runed Dragon's Eye (Jewelcrafter only)
Runed Cardinal Ruby
Runed Stormjewel (Fishing Daily reward)
Runed Scarlet Ruby
Perfect Runed Bloodstone
Runed Bloodstone



When it's time to go mixed gems, the Purple gem is your best friend. Purified gems have both Spellpower and Spirit, so if it's time to fulfill the requirements for your IED, or you're looking at a nice set bonus, or you're in need of some regen, grab some Purified gems.

Purified Dreadstone
Purified Twilight Opal
Perfect Purified Shadow Crystal
Purified Shadow Crystal

Orange has two great options for Restoration Druids: Spellpower/Intellect or Spellpower/Haste. What you pick depends entirely upon your needs. Is your haste below 300? Then you want something Reckless. Is your mana pool a bit low but your Haste is fine? Go for Luminous!

Reckless Ametrine
Reckless Monarch Topaz
Perfect Reckless Huge Citrine
Reckless Huge Citrine

Luminous Ametrine
Luminous Monarch Topaz
Perfect Luminous Huge Citrine
Luminous Huge Citrine


How Do I Gem My Gear?
You got me.

Haha, no, seriously, gemming gear may be a little less complicated for a Resto Druid than other classes (I have had to regem Bellbell's melee gear three times in one day, and she's not even as complicated as some others!), you can still mess it up if you don't keep a lot of different things in mind. And by "mess it up" I mean "you might be missing out on some benefits but it probably won't kill you unless you try to apply to a top guild because they take gemming seriously."

Gemming for Spellpower Bonuses
On some gear, there will be a bonus for aligning your gem colors properly to gain a set bonus. Generally, you can ignore this. But if the bonus is for Spellpower, it is time to start weighing your options and thinking. Generally, no gemming bonus will match raw Spellpower gems. However, if you are missing one of the previously mentioned stats (Spirit, Intellect, Haste), then the sacrifice of a few points of Spellpower to give those a little boost is not a bad choice. This method requires good judgment, however, as overgemming your Spirit can become a waste, and eventually your gear can reach a point where you have too much regen and it is wasted (this is a case-by-case scenario and really requires a lot of personal testing, as well as knowledge of the requirements of different encounters and your own role in those encounters).

Gemming Straight Spellpower
This is the fall-back of a lot of Druids because, well, it's easy and it works. Restoration Druids benefit a lot from Spellpower. We just eat it up, and it helps that one of our two best metas needs three red gems. The only downside to this is sometimes missing out on gem bonuses, but if you have the mana regen to allow for straight Spellpower gemming, you're not too concerned with adding some Spirit or Intellect here and there. And, since you would only be gemming for Spellpower set bonuses anyway, it's more effective to ignore it since all you want is Spellpower, and losing a few points over something else isn't worth it. This is the general gemming style of the JC Restoration Druid simply because of the huge amounts of Spellpower they gain from their special gems.

Combination Method
It's possible to do both methods with a prudent application of judgment. I am currently in this practice, as I have sometimes chosen some Spellpower bonuses in favor of a little extra Spirit, but my newest pieces have been gemmed for raw Spellpower, bonuses be damned. My regen has reached the point that, so long as I use my innervate responsibly, I have no reason to gem for more regen (unlike a certain Holy Paladin who constantly asks for Feral innervates). Like everything with a Restoration Druid, it's understanding your balance of stats. And once they're balanced, it's time to overload the scale with Spellpower!

What Level of Gems Should I Use on My Gear?
Now that we have the full complement of uncommon, rare and epic gems, how do you know when it's time to upgrade to the next level? When is the cost appropriate? Well, some of it is obviously up to your current monetary/profession situation, the demands of the guild you're in and personal preference. A general guideline to follow is:
Quest Greens and Low-level Blues -> Uncommon Gems (non-perfect)
High iLevel Blues -> Uncommon Gems (perfect)
iLevel 200-213 Epics -> Rare Gems
iLevel 219 and beyond Epics -> Epic Gems
This is, of course, just a rough guideline and you should use your best judgment when it comes to what you can afford and what you need. Epic gems are not the cheapest, and if you still need your Emblems for buying gear, then it may be more prudent to wait until your 226 iLevel gear to start using them.

I know it was a lot to read through, but I hope it was helpful. If you ever need personal help with gemming and you'd like to trust the help of some random Resto on the internet, feel free to e-mail me!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bellbell Puts Her Hoof Down

Ooh, look what we can get next with your Triumph Emblems!

Yeah, I've been meaning to talk to you about that, Bellwether. You see, there's this really awesome Libram-

Yeah, I know, it's great since you've been using Holy Light a lot more!

Yeah, it's great for...wait, what?

Libram of Veracity. Nice spellpower boost, huh?

That's not what I was talking about at all! I want the Strength one!

That's silly. Holy Paladins don't need Strength. Honestly, I don't know what you're thinking sometimes. Probably too many concussions ramming your head against instance portals.

Oh no. That's it. You are not having me buy this Libram. I relented on the Holy t8.5 helm because I'd just gotten a helm off of 3D Sarth. I relented on the holy cape because I already had an epic DPS one. I relented on the Spellpower ring even though I had a blue in my DPS set as well. But I am not letting you bully me into getting this ridiculous Libram over one that will give me over 400 AP at any given time. No.

But you're mainly a healer anyway so-

Of course I am! You don't give me upgrades for my DPS set! It's always Holy this and Holy that and wowzers would you look at this shiny Holy thinger we can strap to your thighs for bigger crits. NO. I'm getting the damn Strength Libram once I have enough Emblems and you're gonna have to deal with it.

Your DPS is terrible, though.

Gee, I wonder why. You spend an hour at the target dummy switching around Moonkin gear and gems to get 200 more DPS while I'm exiled to Dalaran's LFG so I can wave about a completely useless, decorative shield and mace in a manner conducive to closing wounds rather than making them. So unless you want me to start practicing on you, the next time I have 25 Emblems of Triumph I AM BUYING THE DAMN STRENGTH LIBRAM!

...Geez, fine, no need to get all touchy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Healing Anub'arak (25/10)

This fight is...clunky. It requires finesse and coordination, but until you reach it in heroic mode (which I have not, and few have), it can be brute-forced through with only a few adjustment wipes.

The biggest, most essential part of this boss is the distribution of Permafrost. As a healer, this is obviously not your concern unless the boss burrows. My guild DPS'd the orbs until they were low, then attempted to Death Grip them into position. Though possibly the best plan, it is still rather unwieldy as the orbs start floating away and up as soon as they are released, making early Death Grips ruin positioning.

Why is it important to position Permafrost? To prevent burrowing. The adds are able to burrow, but not if their hitboxes are completely covered by the Permafrost. And by completely, I mean absolutely no portion of their hitbox can be uncovered or they will burrow. With the adds, this means that they burrow, then repop after more adds spawn, quickly overwhelming your off-tank.

Very important for healers (and everyone else) to know: never stand in front of the boss! He cleaves, and it hurts. The tank has priority on movement. You make way for him, not the other way around. Another thing to watch out for, as well, is that the main tank will periodically get frozen, basically stunning him and locking him in place. Keeping HoTs stacked and controlled cooldown application (with conservation for the last 30% in mind) will allow your tank to survive. As well, watch for any raid members with the Penetrating Cold debuff, as it will knock off a 2k+ of their HP each 3 seconds.

When Anub'arak submerges, the whole raid needs to clump together on Permafrost. This will prevent a large amount of damage coming from the submerged Anub'arak (his hardest hitting attack cannot penetrate Permafrost) and allow for controlled AoE of the scarab adds. Watch for the large ice spikes that form up around your group; as soon as they pop, move to the next patch of Permafrost. They do no damage, they simply signify that Anub'arak has broken that patch of ice and it will despawn, leaving you defenseless. He will "pursue" raid members, but so long as everyone is clumped up in the middle of a patch of Permafrost and not on the edges, he remains ineffective. After the fourth submerge, he enrages and it's a wipe.

At 30% life, Anub'arak will cease burrowing and cast Leeching Swarm. This is where it becomes tricky, if somewhat boring, for healers. I had to all but stop healing except for occasional HoTs on the tank.

What? But why? Shouldn't the last 30% be harder?

It is, it is. But it is harder because it requires a large amount of control, and HoTs are somewhat of a loose cannon. You see, Leeching Swarm takes 10% of remaining life (not total) from the person it is applied to, and it is applied to the entire raid, to a minimum of 250 health. That means the lower people are, the less they heal the boss for. You want to juggle your raid at about 50% life to avoid deaths from Penetrating Cold, with only your tanks at max life. Since adds stop spawning at this phase as well, all remaining adds should be burned down to spare your OT's life requiring max fill. If you have multiple Restoration Druids, one or two max should use HoTs to counteract the swarm. Otherwise, all straight healing spells should be used, and you should be ready to cancel those heals at a moment's notice by jumping, hitting a cancel macro, esc or moving. I quite literally did almost no healing due to our raid having seven healers for the fight and other Druids covering the HoT portion. This is a little frustrating, but as Heroic mode will be draining 20% of remaining life, I have a feeling things will be a bit more active.

Well, that's the fight! Good luck, and my the loot gods smile upon you. Also, watch out for Death Knights who pop Path of Frost too early or Shamans who just have a sadistic desire to watch you break your bones on what should be a forgiving pool of water.