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Dealing with the Deplorable Drape

07/27/2010

Alliteration is fun!  Kurn and I had been talking about this a bit and I thought I’d post about it.

– Why the Drape of the Violet Tower is mediocre –

First off, this is obviously written for healadins, but shaman can get on this boat as well, as the gearing needs of shaman tend to closely resemble those of healadins these days, at as far as back slot goes.  The Drape of the Violet Tower is the cloak purchased with 50 Emblems of Frost.  The stats on it are crit/MP5 and the socket color is blue.

The main problem with this cloak is that both crit and MP5 are considered regen stats, both of which are undesirable.  The truly desirable stat is that our throughput stat of haste, which is what we gear towards, is completely missing from this piece.  I am going with the generally accepted stat weighting of:  INT > haste > crit and MP5  There will be some light use of numbers to explain ways to work around or work with this item.

– Solution #1:  Avoid it –

It is important to point out that ilevel is generally -not- an important element to gearing for healadins if the stats are not optimal.  The loss of some INT is worth keeping the correct itemization on a lower ilevel cloak.  There are some quite acceptable alternatives to this piece at varying levels of difficulty.  I will write out the loss/gains of choosing each alternative.  Also, I am trying to list them in order of “best alternative to weakest alternative,” but all of these can be considered instead of the Drape.

Cloak of the Burning Dusk (-30 MP5, +4 INT, +4 crit, +7 SP, + 64 haste, yellow socket for +5 SP):  Obviously, this is the best bet of cloaks.  You’ll have to fight every other caster out there for it, but Halion-25 is puggable in this day and age.  It might take a few weeks, but getting this cloak is doable with some patience.  (Heroic: -30 MP5, +14 INT, +13 crit, +21 SP, +73 haste, yellow socket for +5 SP)

Frostbinder’s Shredded Cape (-30 MP5, +8 crit, +52 haste):  This cape comes from Valithria-25 and used to be the best caster cloak.  Since the release of Halion and his cloaks, this one might be easier to get.  Healadins also have a leg-up on getting this boss down in a PuG, since we are so useful for the fight.  Any PuG that can clear the first four ICC bosses should be able to get this encounter finished no problem.  (Heroic:  -30 MP5, +9 INT, +16 crit, +13 SP, +60 haste)

Abduction’s Cover (-6 MP5, -4 INT, -52 crit, -6 SP, +57 haste):  This cape off Halion-10 is a great example of why ilevel means so little compared to itemization.  Despite the slightly lower ilevel is it quite obvious that this cloak is superior to the Drape.  Again, PuGs for this are not terribly hard to find.  With some time and some lucky rolls, this is quite the nice upgrade.  (Heroic: -2 MP5, +4 INT, -52 crit, +7 SP, +64 haste)

Heartsick Mender’s Cape (-3 MP5, -8 INT, -52 crit, -12 SP, +45 haste):   Compared to the first three options, this cloak off of Princes-10 is a little light on the haste, but is still an excellent choice.  This encounter might be harder on PuGs than some others, but it is at the least available to strict 10-man groups.  And yes, despite the lower ilevel this is a far and away better choice than the Drape.  The hardmode version is even better, if you can get your hands on it.  (Heroic:  -52 crit, +52 haste)

Pennant Cloak (-30 MP5, -23 INT, -18 crit, -33 SP, +42 haste):  People hate to hear it, but this Sarth+2 25-man cloak is actually generally better than the Drape.  That -23 INT is a bit hard to bear, but the gain of haste makes up for it.  Point for point, this cloak is going to yield better results than even the ilevel 245 listed below.

Flowing Sapphiron Drape (-30 MP5, -15 INT, -2 crit, -8 SP, +35 haste, -socket):  The loss of the socket on this is a major “ouch.”  The total INT loss with that socket would be -35 INT, so it is important to look at the rest of your gear before grabbing this off of Onyxia-25.  Do you have at least 675 haste?  Do you have enough regen on other items?  Generally, if you answer “no” to the first question, this is a better choice than the Drape.  If you answered “yes” to the first, then the second question is one you might have to play around with to figure out.

– Solution #2: Work with it –

It is possible to use the Drape if you are careful to cover the item’s weaknesses elsewhere.  Generally, a healadin can get away with a single slot without haste if we take the time to compensate elsewhere.  This really only works if the Drape is the only piece of crit/MP5 gear you are using.  The use of any other crit/MP5 piece upsets the balance too much to make this a viable solution.

Gearing changes:  A way to work with the extra load of regen from the Drape is to replace 2-3 haste/MP5 items with haste/crit items.  It is important to do this -only- with slots where switching would yield either more haste or equal haste.  For example, switching your Mail of Crimson Coins to Meteor Chaser’s Raiment.

Consumables:  Switch your food to either Imperial Manta Steak or Very Burnt Worg.  The 40 haste from either of these choices is really the way to go for healadins.  (Dare I say that all healadins should be using these, regardless!)  A more costly change, but one that should seriously be considered by anyone wanting to use the Drape, is to switch from using a flask to using two elixirs.  The two best choices for elixirs would be Elixir of Lightning Speed (45 haste) and Elixir of Mighty Thoughts (45 INT).  The haste gain is great and the INT elixir will help make up for losing the 65 INT from the Flask of Distilled Wisdom that all healadins should be using.  (Pardon me while I yell at myself for not doing so 100% of the time, too.)

Gemming:  I do -not- suggest switching any INT gems to haste gems.  If you are running so low on haste that gemming for it becomes a consideration, then you shouldn’t be using the Drape at all.  Likewise, there isn’t a metagem that will make up for the loss of haste, so just stick with your IED.

– Blizzard hates good itemization –

They pretty much always have.  The question is how to deal with what they give you.  While working around the Drape of the Violet Tower is possible, most people are going to find that simply avoiding the thing will take far less time and effort.  Of course, part of the reason I bothered to write this all out is so that Kurn will no longer tease me for using it myself.  But hey, using it thoughtfully and balancing out the weaknesses is okay.  Using it just because it’s there, without thinking about it, is what causes issues.  Remember, higher ilevel does not mean automatic upgrade.

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Divine Wine #1

07/26/2010

No, I’ve not gone anywhere.  I do feel that I need some levity after all the fuss, so I’ve decided to start a brand new series of posts.

– …what? –

One of the things I’m most known for in my raiding circle is the fact that I drink wine at every raid.  Cheap wine and in quantity.  Usually from a box!  Wine has become such a major part of my “raiding ritual” that those nights where I can’t just don’t seem to sit well with me.  It helps that I -really- love wine, I guess, and I really love buying new and exciting bottles of the stuff just to try out.  Seeing as it is such a large part of my raiding experience, I figured I’d get my thoughts down on some of my discoveries.

Generally, I prefer white wines (which is unusual amongst wine drinkers, I hear), but I do like to experiment with reds as well.  Rosé wines (blushes) tend to be reserved for when my goal is to really drink.  Okay, my goal is to always really drink, but when it is less about taste and more about quantity, I break out the rosé.  Nothing says “I had a rough day” more than breaking out a box of Franzia Sunset Blush!  You probably won’t ever see me review a spumante or other wine with bubbles, as for some reason it makes me royally ill, even just a single glass.  It sucks at special occasions, believe me.

As far was the boxed wine goes…  For as long as I can remember, my mother has kept a box of Franzia Merlot in her cupboard, pouring herself a glass from it every night.  It is the first wine I ever tasted and getting to share her daily glass with her was the first truly adult thing I was able to do as a teenager.  I laugh along with everyone else when they make fun of me for it, but it is so much a part of history that even if I didn’t love wine for its own sake, I’d still love my boxed wine.

– Barefoot Merlot 2009 ($5.95) –

Okay, I just had to start with the cheapest bottle I could find.  And it’s a surprisingly decent wine.  The flavor is rich and fruity, but my favorite part (the part that makes is so easy to drink) is that the tannins are very smooth for such a cheap wine.  My major problem with most red wines tends to be that they have a bitter finish to them or too sharp of a nose.  But this bottle quite happily doesn’t suffer from that.  Even for a white wine drinker like myself, it is smooth to drink.  It really is surprising how enjoyable this was, considering the price.  I enjoyed it more than some more costly reds I’ve had.  You can find their website here for more information.

– Little Chica Malbec 2008 ($11.95) –

This is probably the third or fourth malbec I’ve ever tried and while I know that Argentinian varieties have less robust tannins, I was really unimpressed with this wine.  The richness is really lacking in this and the tannins are just really, really understated.  For a red wine, the taste was very lacking.  It isn’t a bad wine, but it is terribly bland to me.  It was almost as if it was cut with a small amount of water, it was so bland.  I personally can’t recommend this, even as a budget wine.  You can find their website here, though.

– More coming soon! –

I don’t know why, but the idea of doing this on a weekly basis just make me happy.  See you guys after the next couple of bottles!

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I’m sorry for any hurt feelings

07/22/2010

My previous posts were never meant to be insulting to anyone.  I’m sorry if I hurt any feelings or angered anyone.  It was not my intent.  Please accept my apologies if I caused any sort of distress.

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re: On Addons – Alternative Interpretation

07/20/2010

My blog rather exploded do to my short post updating my non-use of add-ons.  It was like when WoW.com linked me, only replace the good vibes with many pissed off people!  This is my response to Tamarind/Chas’s reply to my post.  (Very circular, that.)

– First: Background –

A rather long time ago, my SO and I had a fight about add-ons, only at that time I was very much in the “pro” camp, saying many of things that people are saying to me now.  Kel was very much in the “anti” camp.  It made me really laugh today when that fact came to light!  How things have changed since then.

For the record, I have never in my memory -ever- told someone they were a bad healer for using add-ons.  I have never in my memory told someone they would be a better healer by not using add-ons.  I have spoken out against specific add-ons (ie. AVR, Clique for healers without a gaming mouse), but I have never in my memory completely railed against someone using add-ons in general to help them heal, even when asked.

I do not believe using healing add-ons makes you a bad healer.

There, I feel better now.  I have to laugh, as the original post was never meant to be anything but a small update as to why I hadn’t been writing anything about my Zero Add-on Project and a response to the several people who had been railing to/near me that “healing hardmodes without add-ons was impossible.”  If I had meant it to be some huge opinion post, it would have followed my usual format and would have been three times as long!  In fact, I had meant it to be the very last post ever on my not using add-ons because it really isn’t something important to me.  Of course, it had to tap into something that seems to have been brewing in the WoW blogger community.  I’ll never learn when to leave well enough alone, hrm?

– Second: The post itself –

This might get a little long.  Sorry about that!  Tam/Chas’s post is broken up quite nicely, so I’m going to answer it point by point.

Why This Bugs Me: I actually was saddened by the contrite nature some people have about this (and other things), too.  If you feel guilty doing something, then don’t do it.  If you want to do it and don’t feel guilty, then don’t apologize for it.  I’d much prefer that people stand up for their healing practices, even if myself or someone else doesn’t agree with them.  Be a proud keyboard turner, even if it makes me cringe!  If being a keyboard turner makes you feel like a terrible person, then stop being one.

On Tools and Limiting Factors: I understand what Chas is saying here and if every healer was as methodical about their choices, I’d probably have far less of a problem with healing UIs.  The problem, in my eyes, is that Grid goes in generally -before- a healer has taken the time to work through all their other issues.  I think of it as your brother getting himself a really high-tech keyboard with all the bells and whistles before he’s had a chance to learn to play Bach really well.  (Or whatever other composer he’s playing.)  Also, many people view using macros as cheating, but even copying macros from somewhere online has a higher chance of increasing your game knowledge than letting an add-on do it for you.  You’ll at the very least have to see that “target=mouseover” tag several times, which will probably lead the person to understand what that means.

Seatbelts and Safety Nets: Admittedly, I’ve never seen anything in an add-on that would have saved my raid from someone else’s screw up (akin to a seatbelt) if I had it.  I would argue that using a healing UI can make a person -less- methodical.  The base UI can be unforgiving, so healing with it can at times having to really dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s.”  This might be the case with some tanking/DPS add-ons; that is outside my experience, sadly.

A Dog Walking on Its Hind Legs: I can’t speak for anyone else who doesn’t use add-ons, but I am constantly considering ways to be a better healer than I am.  Parses are checked, patch notes are read, fight strats are gone over…  Dare I say that min/maxing my game play is almost a neurotic habit for me!  However, I want to be a better healer inside the bounds of the game and with my own will.  Maybe someday I’ll code my own add-ons that I’ll feel comfortable using, but until then I will have to settle for crunching my own numbers and squeezing every ounce of healing knowledge that I can into my brain.

The Inherent Value of Suffering: This is a very interesting point by Tam that I really had to sit and think about for a moment.  My major issue is that I -do- think there is value in suffering or, more specific to this situation, in doing things the hard way.  There truly is no better teacher out there than suffering.  A parent can tell his/her child over and over again not to touch a candle flame, but learning from this verbal command isn’t nearly as visceral as the child learning from having been burnt.  Perhaps this is a cultural difference, I don’t really know.  From my point of view, a person who has no choice but to internalize the timing on their Wild Growth is going to learn that timing in a far more visceral manner than someone who has a timer to tell him/her.

Skill, Where Lies That?: “Skill and knowledge.”  That has always been how I described the divide.  Knowledge is in knowing the “how, what, when, who and why” and skill is in the doing.  So, if Tam’s goddaughter had really great twitch reactions, she may in fact be really high on the “skill” meter.  However, without enough on the “knowledge” meter, none of that would matter.  The description he gives of dispelling a person is -exactly- what is on the skill side of things.  It is about my being able to get that Dispell off fast enough that my raider/arena partner doesn’t die.  The knowledge part would be my knowing if my partner has Unstable Affliction and not Dispelling if that is so.  In a more PvE example, skill is that immediate reaction to having Defile and getting to the proper drop zone in time.

The Death of the Game Designer: This is a rather… high brow concept, but I’ll try to be concise.  I do not quite see how a videogame based on numerical values is really an “interpretative space,” as Tam calls it, not as far as raiding goes at least.  When I’m roleplaying on my characters, absolutely!  But no matter how much I might wish it, my healing is going to be less on my Disc. priest if I stack haste than if I stack spellpower.  This is not like a purist railing against an interpretative performance of Die Zauberflöte. Nor, to use Tam’s example, is this related to how someone perceives Dumbledore’s sexuality.  Art is fluid, able to be seen from different points of view.  (I majored in English and I loved all my Comp. Lit. courses!)  Videogames are a series of 0s and 1s arranged to work in a specific fashion.  Is Healbot part of the World of Warcraft 0s and 1s?  It is not.  Is the Queen of the Night an example of the evils of giving women too much power?  Who’s to say?

– Third: Some Conclusions –

I’ve gone back and re-read my post many times and I have a hard time seeing where I was “pissing on everyone else’s” decisions nor where I say people are “too crap and lazy too [sic] listen.”  What I see are four small paragraphs on a subject that I have written about before.  I stated my conclusions on the matter as clearly as I could without it becoming, well, -this post- and moved on with life.  I was not nor am emotionally attached to this topic.  (Other than wanting people to stop with the “healing hardmodes without Vuhdo is impossible!” talk.)  I am, however, perturbed by the things that are being put in my mouth.  Heck, I feel the need to say it again, just in case someone didn’t see it the first time.

I do not believe using healing add-ons makes you a bad healer.

What I -do- believe is that healing add-ons in their current form create a dependence in players such as they feel they would be unable to heal without them.  This dependence is characterized in lower knowledge of specific game mechanics and in a less pronounced internal perception of time, including how time relates to healing abilities.  If people didn’t exhibit these symptoms of dependence, I’d have zero problems with add-ons.

I’m sorry if my other post wasn’t well thought-out or written.  It was never meant to be a point of discussion, really.  This will be my last post on the matter as I don’t really enjoy drawing such startling attention to myself.  I’ll get back to posting my theorycrafting numbers now!

P.S.  If people really want to see what kind of healer I am with the default UI, I’d be willing to email a parse or two from various characters.  All the insults to my skills in the comments gave me a chuckle.

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Simple Questions/Simple Answers #1

07/20/2010

There is a section on ElitistJerks.com where you can post your questions and get them answered.  I don’t think many people actually -use- that, as there are so many who find the website disorganized or otherwise intimidating.  (They do live up to the “jerks” part pretty regularly.)  So I thought I’d offer that service here, instead.  The choice to do so was mostly made as I was helping a new-ish paladin streamline his gearing the other day and some of the things he didn’t know astounded me.  I’m going to start with a few of his questions here and hopefully my readers will toss more my way.

“Do you have to use two Nightmare Tears to activate the IED metagem?” – Nope, you don’t.  A Nightmare Tear counts for a red, yellow -and- blue in a single gem.  That means popping a single Nightmare Tear into your helm will allow you to gem pure INT everywhere else.

“What is the best libram and how do I get it?” – That would be the Libram of Renewal, available for purchase from the Heroism badge vendor.  (You’ll have to downgrade your Triumph badges to Heroism ones to buy it, just like you would if you were buying gems.)  You do NOT need to run Naxx for it.

“Should healadins gem for socket bonuses?” – No.

“What spells should a healadin be using?” – Mostly Holy Lights, with the occasional Flash of Light thrown in.  During low damage times, using more FoLs will be okay, but HL is the primary spell you should use.  Holy Shock is saved for movement or emergencies.

“What stats should a Disc. priest go for?” – Spellpower is king.  Everything else falls far down the list of importance.  Crit is more useful than haste or Spirit/MP5, so your gear should all have crit on it.  Whether you go crit/haste or crit/Spirit is rather unimportant.  Take whichever is higher ilevel of the two (more spellpower that way).  If you end up needing more mana, lean more towards crit/Spirit gear.

“Why do Resto. shaman run with such low MP5 these days?” – Because with enough crit (from their crit/haste gear), MP5 is largely unnecessary.  This is especially true when said shaman is using a (heroic) Solace.

“Does raiding with two Disc. priests work?” – Yes, just make sure healing assignments are by group and -very- clear.

There you have it.  Any other questions I run into will be posted at a later date.  It is rather hard trying to not give huge, in-depth answers!

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Gotta plug it!

07/19/2010

I just have to link O’s voice-post because it’s about me and it goes more indepth about the crazy fate that we share.  We really need to do a co-op drunk voice post, we really do!

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My O story

07/15/2010

The internet is a small place.  This is especially true when it comes to the corner that WoW bloggers share.  A good example would be Oestrus finding me.

O and I were roommates starting about 5 years ago.  I was going to college at the time and she put up a Craigslist ad that really drew me in.  Dare I say, we clicked -immediately.-  For months we had a settled rhythm; spending time together was a blast and yet we were both able to give the other ample space.  We shared so many laughs (and so much Chinese take-out!) during those days that it makes me smile.  Sadly, those days were brought to an unfortunate end when life events came and put the stomp all over me, but her sense of humor and blunt honesty still stick with me.

Years later, I decided to start a healing blog for one reason or another.  Seeing as blogs often link to each other, I linked a healing blog I was reading at the time by the name of Divine Aegis.  Generally, I was one of those silent readers that blogs get, but then a post by a Tree drew my eye and I commented on it.  Said Tree even came to my blog and commented on something I had written.  It was a nice, civil conversation we had, neither of us really knowing the true identity of the other.  Not until months later when O happened to read my “About” page!  Her email to me right after made me laugh and laugh at just how small the world is.

I’ll be straight with you:  O and I have very different opinions on the state of WoW healing.  However, we share a love for the role and a bluntness that means you’ll never have to guess what our true meaning is.  Frankly, O is -amazing- and the fact that we took such similar paths makes me just crack up.  Two friends, separated by distance and time, find each other in a tiny subset community of a subset of a subset community.  (WoW > WoW bloggers > healing bloggers)  If that isn’t a heart-warming tale of fate, I don’t know what is.

Love you, O!  Keep on writing!