Author Up Challenge – Day 12

Saurok Fight, from the War Chief's Command Board

Saurok Fight, from the War Chief’s Command Board

Welcome to Day 12!

First let me note that the image above was basically the only good saurok fan art I could find, and happens to be from one of the few WoW blogs I still read–The Warchief’s Command Board. So I am happy to give Garrosh his due credit here. 🙂

Today’s prompt was:

Day 12: Write a Romance.

Simple enough and one of the genres I enjoy dabbling in. These days my writing isn’t completely suffused with romance, but it’s still pretty common. The prompt expanded to mention using body language and facial expressions to convey the feelings going on. So I made that a goal with this piece.

When I started thinking about the prompt, my mind immediately went to a piece I started a while back but never finished or posted. So now seems as good a time as any! So fittingly, I have WoW fan art in the form of a comic above, and WoW fan fiction below. This is a follow-up piece to Broken (if you need a quick catch-up), and features my Monk, Ireenia. She is a young orphaned blue dragon whom my main, Effraeti, saved as an egg and raised. So Ireenia’s preferred humanoid form is a Draenei.

~ Effy

Redemption

WoW Draenei Monk

And sorry, you get an old model Ireenia, because my account isn’t active.

 

What started as an altercation between Ireenia and two saurok had blossomed to a dozen.

There had been no reason for Iree to be here other than her own need for an outlet to her anger. The saurok seemed a good target, being the unnatural and invasive creatures they were. Perhaps the Mantid would reward her for their hides later. However, the woman began to question the intelligence of her decision as another Saurok heard the commotion and hurried to join in.

Iree punched one in the throat as it lunged toward her from the right. Another’s face met her hoof as it tried to take advantage of the other Saurok’s attack. But their target was a Monk, and she did not get distracted. She did not lose focus.

Eventually, though, she would tire.

Despite the handful of creatures already on the ground or attempting to slither away from her, the mob continued to grow.

There were now twelve against her one.

No, make that thirteen. No, back to twelve.

They seemed to replenish their numbers–and grow even–for every one she defeated. Iree realized she had underestimated the size of this Saurok camp.

She also realized they were pushing her slowly towards the base of the great wall dividing the Dread Wastes from the rest of Pandaria.

A saurok felt her fist meet with the side of its skull as it clumsily pitched forward. She kicked the air from the lungs of another. One caught her leg with its sharp talons and she cried out and quickly spun the opposite way, driving an elbow down into its neck. As it hit the ground, Iree twisted without putting her weight on the injured leg and kicked another Saurok in the face.

Red blood ran down the blue skin of her calf, but there was no time to bandage it or speak the words of a healing spell.

Blood and teeth sprayed, and Iree kept kicking, kept punching, kept spinning out of reach.

But their numbers continued to grow. Iree began to tire, her leg throbbing in the spot the Saurok had grabbed her, and she realized the wall loomed even closer than before.

A saurok snapped a mouthful of sharp teeth very close to her face and Iree punched it away. She had let it get closer than any of the others so far. She could not let that happen again.

Iree spun, her injured leg sweeping through the mass of lizardmen bodies. Several were knocked away, but several more avoided the kick and leapt in at her from behind it. A great press of scaly bodies came in on her, a wall of hot, rank breath and sharp talons. Ireenia punched out at one Saurok, but another grabbed her arm. A third dug its nails into her opposite shoulder.

With a pained shout, Ireenia swung backwards and caught the third Saurok in the chin with her elbow, causing a crunching noise and violently snapping the creature’s head back. But another lizardman greedily grabbed her arm just as it came free of the other’s face.

Ireenia knew there was no breaking out now, but she swore she would go down swinging. Somehow, it was refreshing to think it would end this way–that she would die fighting, instead of old and alone.

As she had the thought, the shriek of a bird of prey pierced the air. The giant raptor’s claws dug into Iree’s shoulders and she screamed an epithet as the storm crow lifted her into the air among the flutter of blue-feathered wings.

The saurok cursed and clawed at her, tearing up her legs as she rose.

Ireenia rose as brilliant points of light descended into the dense clump of lizardmen. She watched as those falling stars were met by the screams of a dozen or more of the lizardmen.

The saurok finally scattered.

“Your timing is impeccable,” Ireenia said, not sure if she meant it as grateful or sarcastic.

“I do enjoy making an entrance,” Skeiron replied. Were a beak capable, Iree knew there would have been a wide smile there.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Once both were back on the ground, an uncomfortable silence settled between them.

Skeiron spoke first. “Getting yourself into trouble again I see.”

Ireenia did not know how to respond to that. They were not the words she had expected to hear. Though, truth be told, she had not expected his appearance or his words at all. “We do what we’re good at, right?” She swallowed and paused. “Well… I didn’t figure on having to explain myself.” She crossed her arms before her, scowling.

“So you went into that fight not planning to walk away from it?”

“Perhaps.” Iree shifted uncomfortably from one hoof to the other, and not entirely because she hurt all over, though her clawed and bleeding legs throbbed. Not only did she not want to explain herself, she did not know–or want to know–where this conversation was going.

Nowhere good, certainly. Probably to an I told you so and a quick goodbye.

She glanced around for an easy escape, but Skeiron had chosen his landing well–the top of the Pandaren wall, between the Dread Wastes and the Valley of the Four Winds. She considered diving off, but doubted the speed with which she could transform into her dragon-self.

She did not look him in the face, especially with him back in his true form as a Night Elf. Despite her gaze being on the bricks below her hooves, Iree felt his eyes upon her.

“That would have been quite a shame,” Skeiron said softly.

“Hmm,” Iree responded. “Then, I guess it is good you came by when you did.”

“Well, that was no accident,” he admitted. “I was looking for you.”

Iree tensed, unsure how to reply. “I still had some tricks left…” she sputtered uncertainly.

She felt him come closer, but still could not look up. Then, he was standing in front of her. Before she could think of how to respond, Skeiron set his hands on her shoulders.

She flinched at his touch, but at the same time savored it.

“You don’t have to be the strong one all the time, you know,” he chided, his voice a soft whisper. He touched her cheek lightly with his fingers.

Iree’s eyes flickered to the violet skin as it brushed against hers.

“I’m not so strong,” Iree admitted. “I’m just good at hiding the hurt. Stubbornness–that’s what I’m told I’m best at.” As she spoke, moisture began to form in her eyes. It made her angry and she made a face, blinking and wishing them away.

“I know, I just needed you to finally admit it.” The elf pulled her towards him, and wrapped his arms around her trembling shoulders.

She could not hold back the wave of emotion that hit her. A sob wrenched her throat.

“Don’t cry, dragon,” Skeiron whispered as he held Ireenia tighter. As happy as she was at that moment, the comment made her cry harder. His fingers stroked her hair and both stood silent for several moments, only the sound of her sobs causing any noise between them.

Finally Ireenia pulled back slightly, so she could look into Skeiron’s eyes. “I was afraid…” she began, the rest caught in her throat. The Night Elf studied her, seemingly for the first time so intent was his gaze, as she collected herself. It intimidated her, those luminescent eyes that seemed to see inside of her, but they were gentle and reassuring. He touched her face, and with a deep breath and the presence of his fingers, Ireenia made herself continue. “I was afraid I would never be here again.”

“I was afraid you did not want to be,” Skeiron whispered.

A breeze ruffled the feathers of his headdress and cloak, and it reminded Ireenia of flying with him. She pictured him once more as the blue-feathered storm crow, wings spread and gliding along beside her in her dragon-form.

“When I heard the roar that shook the Vale, I knew it was you and I knew I had to find you,” he continued. “There was no mistaking the source of that.”

Ireenia nuzzled her face into his neck, content to be touching him, and not wanting to let go. She did not interrupt as he continued.

“Because that roar echoed the ache of my own heart.”

That tore another sob from her. “I’m so sorry,” Iree said, her voice tremulous. “I don’t know if I can ever make it right again, but I want to try.”

Skeiron hugged her tighter and nodded into her hair. “So do I.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

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Warlords of Draenor: Alpha Patch Note Reactions

WoD - Title Bar

The Alpha testing for Warlords of Draenor has begun!  For most of us, that will not mean too much, except that the development of the new expansion is progressing.  Most of us will not hear anything until the Beta goes live, and perhaps longer out than that.  On the heels of the Alpha announcement came publication on the Warcraft site of the initial patch notes for 6.0.

There was a lot of stuff covered in the patch notes, but as a healer, a Shaman, and a Monk, I wanted to focus on my thoughts regarding a few things in particular.

Stat Squish

WoD - Orcs

Character stats have been squished into smaller numbers that are easier to understand. It’s important to understand that this is NOT a nerf as enemies have been squished as well.

I find it amusing that after everything previously published, Blizzard still has to preface that the “Big Stat Squish” is NOT a nerf.  They did a very good job of explaining exactly what the squish will mean for gear, characters, and mobs in the patch notes.

There has always been a big jump in gear from expansion to expansion – Wrath epics getting replaced within a few quests in Cata, for example – and this stat squish will even out a lot of those spikes in gear.

It’s no longer necessary for Borean Tundra quest gear to be nearly twice as powerful as Netherstorm quest gear, even though the two zones are only a couple of levels apart…

In order to bring things down to an understandable level, we’ve reduced the scale of stats throughout the game, back to as if they continued scaling linearly through questing content from levels 1 to 90.

I like this, because now while leveling, it will not be necessary to completely re-gear your character at 60-70-80 etc.  Gearing and leveling will be smoother.

Blizzard even addressed concerns transmoggers and achievement hunters may have in regards to soloing older content:

Players will deal bonus damage against lower-level creatures from past expansions, and will take reduced damage from them.

So all in all, I think the stat squish is being handled well.  I look forward to seeing it in action.

Retuning Healing Spells

WoD - Healing

This section was definitely the biggest focus of mine while reading the patch notes.

Before the Notes, Some Background

The transition between Wrath and Cata was a tough one for me, as a Resto Shaman.  Do not get me wrong, I enjoyed the change in healing mechanics – I am quite fond of the “triage” mentality – but as a Shaman, it was a most disturbing experience.  Honestly, I think Shaman performed as Blizzard intended when they made the healing changes, I loved the feel of it, but they were under-performing compared to the other healing classes.  I would watch the other healers in my guild fly through those early heroic dungeons with little down time, and in comparison the other guild Shaman and I would have to CC every pull, drink to replenish mana regularly, and still not be able to heal people standing in bad.

Because of this experience, I had some reservations going into Mists.  However, Mists swung the extreme opposite direction, and even early on in heroic dungeons I hardly had any issues.  Raiding was similar, and part of my reason for switching to a Mistweaver Monk hinged on the fact that Shaman healing was starting to feel same old, same old, and like all of the choices I used to have to make were no longer there.  I had certain buttons I had to push on cooldown to make my Shaman perform – period.

At least with my Monk, it was a completely new and different class, with different skills and healing styles.

Mistweavers had a rocky road through Mists, though.  Sometimes they were hot, and sometimes they were anything but.  I have spent the entire expansion feeling that my Monk would be better utilized in a 10man environment because of her skill set – particularly her spread-out, AoE healing style (Renewing Mist and Uplift).

I firmly believe that if anything gets changed with Mistweaving, it should be giving greater spread to Renewing Mist, even at the cost of a less efficient Uplift.  Nothing is more frustrating than seeing only half the raid with my HoT and not being able to Uplift on anyone who truly needs it – basically, feeling like I have to ignore half the raid.  I literally had to change my healing mentality to play a Monk.  There was physically no way to focus on everyone in the raid, and I had to retrain myself to focus smaller – usually myself, my group, and our tanks.

In addition, I think overhealing was a ridiculously awful trend this entire expansion.  Whether on my Shaman or my Monk, overhealing always ran high, and it ran high throughout the entire raid.  One of my goals as a healer through both Wrath and Cata was minimal overhealing – maximum efficiency.  I would keep up in heals, while bottoming out the charts in overheals, and that made me happy.

Overheals, and their ridiculous waste of resources, make me twitch.

Anyways, enough of my digression.  Onward to…

The Actual Healing Notes

One of our goals for healing is to tone down the raw throughput of healers relative to the size of player health pools…

…healers are [currently] able to refill health bars so fast that we have to make damage more and more “bursty” in order to challenge them. Ideally, we want players to spend some time below full health without having healers feel like their groupmates are in danger of dying at any moment…

To that end, we’re buffing heals less than we’re increasing player health. Heals will be deliberately less potent compared to health pools than before the item squish.

Basically, Blizzard wants to give healers back the feel of triage and eliminate the end of expansion bloating that leads to spiky damage boss mechanics.  They are confident the changes we will see in Warlords will result in a more gradual progression of gear and performance throughout the life of the expansion.

The other big thing that caught my eye was a mention of “smart heals”:

We want healers to care about who they’re targeting and which heals they’re using, so that their decisions matter more. To that end, we’re reducing the healing of many passive and auto-targeted heals, and making smart heals a little less smart. Smart heals will now randomly pick any injured target within range instead of always picking the most injured target. Priority will still be given to players over pets, of course.

Yes, yes yes!  Thank you!

At first glance, my thought was, “Damn, just take out all of the ‘smart heals’!”  (I’m looking at you Renewing Mist.)  But AoE heals are in many ways “smart heals” especially when they are affected by caps on number of targets.

Mostly, I am pleased about the line “so that their decisions matter more.”  THIS.  So much this.  Give me back control of how I heal.  Give me back the choices.  No more of this “healing rotation” crap, because so often playing my Monk came down to casting Renewing Mist on cooldown, Uplifting as often as possible, and filling in with Soothing Mist.  Sometimes, it was so mind-numbing I could not stand it.  Especially to do all these things and know there was hardly any room for improvement.

Another of our goals for healing in this expansion is to strike a better balance between single-target and multi-target healing spells. We’ve taken a close look at the mana efficiency of our multi-target heals, and in many cases, we’re reducing their efficiency, usually by reducing the amount they heal.

…players will face a meaningful choice between whether to use a single-target heal or a multi-target heal based on the situation.

Once again, yes, yes yes!  Give me the power to choose.  Make me think.  None of this crap where Shaman currently are more efficient to just spam Healing Rain than cast a single target spell or Chain Heal – even when only one person is standing in the rain!  For crying out loud, how did Healing Rain become the best single target heal??

Finally, we’re removing the low-throughput, low-mana-cost heals like Nourish, Holy Light, Heal, and Healing Wave…

This made me go, “Whoa, wait, what??”

During the triage period and even through most of the first tier of Mists, Healing Wave was my Shaman’s go-to filler spell.  It was efficient, and though it would not save anyone, it did keep those bars mostly full with good management.

However, we still want healers to think about their mana when deciding which heal to cast, and so the mana costs and throughputs of many spells are being altered to give players a choice between spells with lower throughput and lower cost versus spells with higher throughput and higher costs.

Alright, I am listening…  I have a good deal of trust in Blizzard and the goals they aim for.  So I am eager to see these changes in action, and learn what they mean to the healing classes.  (Particularly Shaman and Monks, but I play all the classes that can heal and eventually I know all mine will see 100.)

All of this discussion of efficiency may cause most healers to start worrying about mana regeneration and their mana pool. To allay those concerns, we’ve increased base mana regeneration a great deal at early gear levels, while having it scale up less at later gear levels.

Once again, more changes with the hopes that this will make the beginning and the end of the expansion equally as enjoyable.

That’s a lot of big changes for healers: reduced throughput, a more deliberate pace, less powerful “smart” heals, weaker absorbs, fewer spells, and a new focus on efficiency decisions. We’re confident that we can apply lessons learned from previous expansions to make this the best healer experience yet: more dynamic, less punishing, and frankly a lot more fun.

Okie, Blizzard.  You had me hello.  Let’s do this.

Racial Traits

WoD - Racials

One section I kind of glazed over was the removal of hit and expertise.  I guess I understand the reasoning for this, but at the same time, I feel it is further dumbing down the game.  Prove me wrong, Blizzard.

But with all of these changes upcoming, an adjustment of racial abilities and traits seems obvious.

I was most interested in the Draenei changes of course:

Draenei

  • Heroic Presence has been redesigned. It no longer increases Hit by 1%, and instead increases Strength, Agility, and Intellect, scaling with character level.
  • Gift of the Naaru now heals for the same amount over 5 seconds (down from 15 seconds).

A retune of Heroic Presence, finally!  I like this change, since it means the racial of my favorite race will now actually make sense for my favorite specs (healing).  The Gift of the Naaru change is nice too – a faster HoT is always a good thing.

Ability Pruning

WoD - Abilities

We decided that we needed to make a strong push for paring down the number of abilities each class/spec has. That means making some abilities restricted to certain specs that really need them instead of being class-wide, and outright removing some other abilities. It also includes removing some Spellbook clutter, such as passives that could be merged with others, or with base abilities.

However, this doesn’t mean that we want to reduce the depth of gameplay, or “dumb it down.” We still want there to be interesting decisions during combat, and for skill to matter. But, that doesn’t require complexity; we can remove some needless complexity and still retain the depth and skill variance.

This section was interesting, but rather than quote everything, let me suffice to say there are some good changes coming to all of the classes – in my opinion.  Have a look at the patch notes for all the details on each specific class.  I will keep this more general.

There are so many games now (including Diablo 3!) which use a very minimal number of buttons to accomplish a goal.  Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 are also good examples.  I like choice and depth, but it does not necessarily mean things have to be extremely complex.  If I played solely one character, and did everything on that one character, then perhaps I would be more inclined to want more buttons.  But I prefer to play a little of everything.

One type of ability that we focused on is temporary power buffs (“cooldowns”). Removing those also helps achieve one of our other goals, which is to reduce the amount of cooldown stacking in the game.

I cannot say that less cooldowns will break my heart.  At least, not less purely DPS cooldowns.  Life-saving cooldowns are another story, but it does not look like Blizzard is removing any of those.

Instant Cast Heals

WoD - Insta Heals

We’re still preserving the option to instantly heal, but are reducing the number of instant-cast healing abilities overall. Raid and dungeon encounter damage during high-movement phases will be adjusted accordingly.

This section was probably my biggest place of indecision.  I am not entirely sure how I feel about these changes.

In this section, they list some of the skills being changed, by class, and I found it interesting and worth mentioning that Shaman are the only class not having any of their spells changed.  (Because their only instant cast heals are Riptide and Unleash Elements, and it looks like all the healers are retaining their single target, instant cast HoTs.)

Class Changes

I know there are a number of classes and specs, but I am not going to go over all of them here.  I will only be focusing on the Mistweaver Monk and the Resto Shaman, because those are the classes/specs I play the most.

Mistweaver Monk

WoD - Monk

Mistweavers had a bit of a rollercoaster ride, veering between weak and strong over the course of the expansion. Most of our changes to Monks will focus on Mistweavers, to try to get them just right.

Amen.

Mistweaver Changes:

All abilities available to Mistweavers now have a 1.5 second global cooldown (up from 1 second).

  • Stance of the Sturdy Ox and Stance of the Fierce Tiger now reduce the global cooldown of the Monk’s abilities by 0.5 seconds.

Stance of the Wise Serpent no longer increases Haste from items by 50%.

Focus and Harmony is a new passive ability for Mistweaver Monks.

  • Focus and Harmony: Haste effects lower the global cooldown of your spells and abilities.

Crackling Jade Lightning no longer generates Chi for Mistweaver Monks.

Soothing Mist no longer generates Chi for Mistweaver Monks.

Thunder Focus Tea now causes the next Renewing Mist to jump up to 4 times (used to cause the next Uplift to refresh the duration of Renewing Mists on all targets).

Healing Spheres now heal an ally within 12yd (up from 6yd) for 100% (up from 50%) of their normal healing, when they expire.

Detonate Chi is a new spell available to Mistweavers:

  • Detonate Chi: Instantly detonate all of your Healing Spheres, causing each of them to heal a nearby ally within 12 yards of the sphere. 15 sec cooldown.

I am really looking forward to playing with Detonate Chi.  I am very surprised and uncertain about the changes to Thunder Focus Tea, Soothing Mist, and to a lesser degree, Crackling Jade Lightning.  Because of the Stance changes (see below), I understand Crackling Jade Lightning, but I am irked about my primary single target Chi-generation being removed.  And Thunder Focus Tea sounds like a really gimpy version of what I WANT Renewing Mist to do.  Oh!  one whole extra target!

I suppose I will have to see these in play before I make hasty generalizations, though.

Another issue with Mistweavers is that of Eminence, which has never really played out how we had hoped. The intent with Eminence was to create an alternate play style to fulfill the fantasy of healing through dealing damage, since we knew a lot of players had that fantasy, and a new class was the perfect opportunity to satisfy that.

Having two play styles in one spec (Eminence, and traditional Mistweaving, healing primarily through casting heals) proved challenging to balance, because we don’t want players to take the best parts of both and stack them into an unintended superior spec. The most notorious of these cases was “Jab-Jab-Uplift”. In order to solve this problem, we’re giving Mistweavers two stances.

Stance of the Wise Serpent – This is the current Mistweaver Stance.  With the changes coming in Warlords, it will be our “Mistweaving” Stance.  Enveloping Mist, Renewing Mist, Soothing Mist, and Uplift will only be usable in this Stance.

Stance of the Spirited Crane – This is the replacement for our Tiger Stance (which never made any sense to me to even have, I only used it to reforge my Haste).  This will become our “Fistweaving” Stance.  Blackout Kick, Jab, Tiger Palm will only be usable in this Stance.

There are also more improvements coming to Monk Healing Spheres.  They will be smarter about not overhealing targets running through them and they will heal for 100% when detonating upon expiration, instead of 50%.

So many changes.  But I knew they were coming.  Blizzard said at the start of Siege of Orgrimmar they wanted to overhaul Mistweavers, but wanted to do it right and wanted to wait until Warlords.

All I can do for now is wait and see what all these changes will mean.

Restoration Shaman

WoD - Shaman

Restoration Shaman had the most passive and smart healing of any healer, and so received some reductions in that area, along with buffs elsewhere to keep them competitive. One particular change is to Mana Tide Totem, which we made less effective for other players, but still just as effective for the Shaman.

This change is kind of a big deal.  I have mixed feelings about it, because though it reduces some of a Shaman’s utility, it also reduces the chance we will be forged into mana batteries for the rest of the raid.

Restoration Changes:

Chain Heal now heals each chain target for 15% less than the previous target.

Unleash Life no longer increases the healing from Healing Rain.

Earthliving Weapon now increases healing done by 5% (instead of increasing healing Spell Power by a flat amount).

Healing Stream Totem’s mana cost has been reduced to 10% of base mana (down from 23.5%), and its healing has been reduced by 50%.

Glyph of Totemic Recall now only increases the mana returned from recalling your totems by 25% (down from 75%).

Mana Tide Totem now increases the Spirit of allies by 50% (down from 200% of the Shaman’s Spirit). It remains unchanged (200%) for the Shaman activating the totem, and it still ignores temporary Spirit buffs.

Conductivity is no longer triggered by damaging spells for Restoration Shaman, or by healing spells for non-Restoration Shaman.

After Mana Tide, the biggest thing that catches my eye in the Resto changes is the change to Unleash Elements and it no longer effecting Healing Rain.  This will make for a big difference – Healing Rain was always my focus with Unleash Elements, because it gave the most benefit.  Not to mention, Healing Rain has become so incredibly powerful in the Shaman’s tool kit, it is a matter of casting both together on cooldown.

It will sting, but I think it is a good quality of life improvement for Shaman.  It will give us a better opportunity to choose our spells, rather than spam Healing Rain.

In Closing

I am sure there are many more things I could touch on in the Alpha patch notes, but these cover my initial thoughts and reactions.  What it comes down to at this point is really just keeping an eye on updates and hoping for a Beta soon, so we can start putting these updates to the real playability test.

Please feel free leave comments, to agree or disagree, and bring to my attention any topics regarding healing, Shaman, or Monks I may have glazed over and missed.

~ Effy

The Better Mistweaver BiS List 5.3

Better BiS

Eugene approves of this message.

I have been playing with some different combinations of stats on my Monk throughout the tier.  Mistweaver Mastery is sill meh and although I was letting my Crit climb in lieu of Mastery and to keep my Haste at 3145 for the longest time, I saw no real benefit to Crit.  I have come to realize I am most impressed with just beefing up my Haste.

So I have been reforging every piece to Haste, and looking at pieces carrying a large amount of Haste natively.  This is somewhat contrary to my original BiS List, which focused on pure amount of stats, simply because I really had no idea what was best for my Monk.  (Even now I am still kind of guessing, since there is so little on Mistweavers still.  If only I could Theorycraft!)

If reforging everything to Haste is good, then dumping all my other stats for pure Haste is better, right?  😀  Well, that is the plan, anyway!

My logic?  More ticks for Renewing Mist.  Also, faster casting of Soothing Mist, which I use quite often to “fill in” while waiting for Renewing Mist to come off cooldown and to build Chi for Uplift.  Quicker casting of Crackling Jade Lightning is another nice bonus, as I have noticed it to be good damage and healing.  A kind commenter on my original BiS list mentioned a higher Renewing Mist tick at 6145, making it 12 ticks, which I am currently past and loving.

The biggest hurdle will be keeping my Spirit up to speed with my Haste.  I have several pieces without Haste currently.  Replacing those pieces with Haste/Spirit pieces this should logically continue to balance out my casting speed and mana regen.  So far, my mana regen is very manageable, but I fear tipping the scale too much in either direction will cause me some problems as we push further through Heroics.

At this point, though, my gear is good enough that I am only focusing on pieces with more Haste and Spirit if they are either Thunderforged or Heroic (or both!).

So here is my “better” BiS list, now with more Haste!  (Except in slots I could not find a piece with Haste, which made me sad.)

BiS Normal

My list includes only 3 Tier pieces, because I cannot bring myself to get excited about the 4-piece bonus.  The 2-piece seems to work nicely, though.

BiS Heroic

After a good hard look at Heroic and Ra-den drops, I really see very little changes in my gear list, except Ra-den’s ring and a possible swap of trinkets, since I cannot get the Shado-Pan trinket in Heroic.  😛  Honestly, I am quite fond of my Shado-Pan trinket, and might not even upgrade that!  I am not yet sold on the proc from the Chalice.  I suppose I would have to see it in action.

Ra-den’s drops appear to be guaranteed Heroic Thunderforged items, which is interesting, but it also means with some luck from other bosses, unnecessary.  I am okie with this since I was not thrilled with the stat distribution of most of Ra-den’s drops upon a second glance.

Definitely

Maybe

With Ra-den’s ring, that would put me with Haste and Spirit in every slot except my helm.  I can deal with that!

I did see a Heroic Thunderforged version of the Deeproot Treads on WoWHead, but I am unsure of where/how they drop, since the normal version drops from trash. Random boss drop maybe?

Closing Thoughts

Next on my list is improving my playstyle more.  I always have more room for improvement.

The Haste has made a notable difference in my performance so far, but I am sure my technique could use some tweaking.  It is really hard to gauge most of the time, since we tend to run heavy on healers and my Monk’s particular healing cooldown, Revival, is more of an “Oh shit!” button for when things get messy.  This means I usually go several attempts, or even several bosses, without using Revival, which is certainly affecting my overall performance.

But I would rather save lives and brez’s than blow Revival just to make my numbers pretty.

~ Effy

Better BiS - Eugene

Effy Confession Inc

Ain't she pretty? :D

Ain’t she pretty? 😀

For quite some time, my blog has been my sole outlet for my personal thoughts – stories, game thoughts, personal items.

Well, I have a confession.  There is a good reason I have not been writing as much on my blog…

I have been seeing a counselor for a little while now.  I mentioned her before, and how she has been giving me homework.  🙂  My current homework has been to keep a journal in an attempt to both decompress daily and to try and identify some of my self-defeating tendencies.  Other than this weekend, while I was spending the holiday with Gene (Oh, have I mentioned him here??  It was probably in my journal!  Hmm…  >< ) I have been doing good at writing in it daily.

So even though I have had a few little things of interest pop up, most of my writing energy is getting expended there, currently.

My apologies, all.

But today, I finally picked up my Purple Beech!  So I did want to share that!  She is currently about 5 and a half feet tall, but if I train down her highest branches, I think I will be able to keep her at about 3 and half feet or so.  I have decided not to go completely “bonsai” with her.  I think I will just pot train her in a normal shaped pot.

But for the record, she is bigger – and heavier! thanks, rain! – than I expected.  😛

As far in game news goes, I ran Karazhan FOUR times last week.  (Once all the way through, and the other three up to the opera event.)  No Big Bad Wolf… and no Little Bad Wolf.  😦  That is the pet I want more than any other.  (He was my idea, after all!)  😉

I also played around in the new scenarios and out in the Barrens.  Some interesting stuff.  I am liking it.  Just not sure of my energy level in doing it on half a dozen 90’s, though.  heh  My attention is being drawn in numerous directions, currently.

Also, I think I have decided I enjoy soloing on my Monk in Mistweaver more than even on my DK.  O.o  I am trying to keep the awesomeness of fistweaving while solo, in heroics, and in scenarios, on the down low, though…  It is hardly viable for raiding – too mana intensive – but it is great in short bursts.  And if it gets neutered like I imagine Disc-healing just did, I would be pretty sad.  😦

Speaking of my Monk and raiding, I have recently been playing with an all Haste setup, and liking it a lot.  I am slowly working toward getting more Haste pieces, instead of reforging into it.  I am still playing around with it, but I would like to make a more formal post about my Monk’s status soon.

Well, back to my journal, so I do not have to subject you all to the various drivel bouncing around in my head.  😉

~Effy

A closer look at my Beech :)

A closer look at my Beech 🙂

Maximum Monk! (Ding 90!)

Ding - 90

Sunday sometime around midday, my Monk hit Level 90!  I have to give some big thanks to a few of those who accompanied me along the way…

  • Amowrath, who did many many dungeons with me with his own Monk, mostly through the starter dungeons (20ish) and the Wrath bracket.
  • Ranico, who ran me through normal dungeons and helped me reach my iLevel goal for LFR!  (Though, I still think he did them just as much to flex his OP Death Knight muscles.)  😉
  • And the biggest thanks to my partner of Levels 87-90 – Finalflame.  He joined me on his Warlock all weekend, and there was much music and chit chat to be had, which made the questing so much easier.  He also leveled through dungeons with Amo and I on his Monk around the 20-30 area.

Instant Gratification iLevel

Ding - Ireenia

Above is Ireenia as of 11pm or so last night!

I already had some pieces lined up for when I hit Level 90!

  • 496 Chest and Gloves – With the help of my GM, Mindalen, and some of our guild Leatherworkers, I had the 496 chest and gloves ready to go.
  • 450 Trinket – The Ghost Iron Dragonling trinket, with some further help from Final.

After I hit Level 90, I was in a hurry to get some more higher item level pieces!

  • 450 Weapon – The Arena of Annihilation gives an iLevel 450 weapon from the quest there.  This scenario is basically the current expansion’s Crucible of Carnage.  Only three people are needed for scenarios, and this one was quite easy as fresh 90’s with all DPS specs.  (Thanks to Lissanna for coming with us!)
  • 476 Boots – A quickly thrown together Sha kill was all it took to get the Claw quest item (remember to loot the corpse!) and turn it in at Shado-Pan Garrison for a pair of 476 epic boots!
  • 480 Necklace – Love is in the Air is currently going on, and the holiday dungeon drops 480 epic necklaces.  I was quick to pickup a caster (non-spirit) version, but I have yet to see the healer (w/spirit) version drop.
  • 450 Rings – Jewelcrafters can make iLevel 450 rings, and they are not Unique Equip, so I picked up two of these.
  • 476 Staff – I thought about sticking with my one hand weapon and a 476 offhand Mindy also got me, but I remembered a stack of Scrolls of Wisdom in my Shaman’s bags and thought maybe it was time to make the Inscription Staff.  There is a 424 Rain Poppy Staff that can be made and then upgraded to the Inscribed Crane Staff.  It is Bind on Account, so you cannot sell it, but I can repurpose it to another caster (likely my Priest eventually) once Ireenia is wielding better.
  • 475 Trinket – Ranico was benevolent and beyond gracious enough to pick me up a Relic of Chi Ji.  I was pretty floored, as when he asked if there was anyway he could help me reach 460 to do LFR I was mostly joking when I mentioned it.  It is from a full desk of Darkmoon Cards of the Mist, and though I have Scrolls of Wisdom, they take mucho Starlight Ink and are totally random.  Not to mention, the quest for turning the desk into a trinket is only available when the Darkmoon Faire is in town.  I was happy for some instant gratification instead.

I was not too lucky with heroic drops, but I did pick a cloak and belt.  And I picked up some offspec agility gear.

It seems everyone was pretty happy to help out with running heroics and putting their lives into the young hands of my undergeared Monk.  😉  Big, big thanks to Finalflame, Ranico, Otoka, Pawnfu, Amowrath, Aesadonna, and Beefbus!  And of course to anyone I may have unintentionally missed!

Professions and Enchanting Gear

Okie, yah, still working on Ireenia’s professions.  I decided on Leatherworking and Enchanting, and I am hitting snags with both toward the end of Vanilla levels.  :/  Looking forward to getting over the hump and starting on BC and forward.

I cannot wait to be able to enchant her wrists and rings!

As for readying her current gear, I decided to do enchantments, gems, and such on everything that was at least Heroic (463 iLevel) gear.  My BoA staff does not have Jade Spirit, only Windsong.  I might debate putting Jade Spirit on it once I have Ireenia’s Enchanting maxed, since I can reuse it with other toons.

That is all for now.  Time to get cranking on more heroics and dailies!

~ Effy

BTW, I have to say I am so so glad I finally have a Level 90 on my second account.  Now, I can do dailies with Effy and Ireenia at the same time!  😀

Ding - Effy and Ireenia

Enter the Monk: Initial Mistweaver Thoughts

Chíyu from the WoW Armory. For some reason, you cannot see her Monk belt. 😦

Now that I am Level 65 on my Pandaren Monk, Chíyu, I have realized I have not posted my thoughts on the Monk (or more importantly, healing on the Monk) at all.  Well, except for a short blurb in my post about Effy hitting Level 90:

4. I also made a wee Pandaren Monk – Chíyu.

Yup, so I am pretty sure that is the extent of her introduction on my blog.  For shame.

I usually do not get too in depth talking about my alts, except when I create their stories.  Talking about how they level and my dungeon/questing experiences is not usually something I get into.

But then, I made my Monk.  Even though I am doing dailies, raiding, grouping for dungeons/scenarios, running LFR, and completing other items to prep for raids on Effy… and leveling my DK… I keep finding myself trying to get in at least one dungeon on Chíyu whenever I can.

The Monk just seems to be a different type of healer.  It is similar to when I leveled my Disc Priest.  It was such a fun leveling experience that I have never been able to change her from Disc, and every other Priest I have even dabbled with has only been Disc.  Kind of like all my DKs being Blood.

Leveling on a Monk

Master Cheng dueling Chiyu

To start with, when leveling a Pandaren Monk, you have a lot of things going for you.

  1. Pandaren have bonuses to rested XP (it lasts twice as long).
  2. Monks have a daily quest that rewards a bonus XP buff.  (It lasts 1 hour and stacks to 2 hours.)
  3. Monks receive a quest similar to their daily every ten levels, which provides the same XP buff, and a piece of leveling (and transmog!) gear.
  4. I have the full set of leather casting BoAs of varying level caps.  (Shoulders, Chest, Trinkets, Ring, Staff to Level 80 & Head, Legs, Cloak to Level 85.)

They come together to make leveling pretty painless.

Add to that, even spec’d as Mistweaver, she manages quests well.  I have had no issues there so far.  She actually does a fair amount of damage, and even if it takes her a little longer to kill something (which it does not seem to), she also heals while she attacks.  Comparable damage may be due to the combat-nature of the dailies, which consist of a one-on-one match with one of the Monk masters.

In fact, in dungeons, I am finding I do quite a bit of damage when I choose to.  Spinning Crane Kick has a tendency to push me to the top of the meter when there are four or more mobs – and that is while it is healing at the same time.

I may have to try pulling an absurd number of mobs while questing – DK-style – and see if this both kills the mobs quickly and efficiently, and keeps me alive.  That should be interesting.  🙂

Healing on a Monk

Soothing Mist

At Level 65, I have a huge number of spells already.  The great part about being in BC content is that I am finally getting to use them too.

For Vanilla content I was getting by with:

  • Renewing Mist – Cast on tank, spreads to low party members
  • Soothing Mist – Mostly cast on tank, but switch to other low members as needed
  • Surging Mist – For when the tank starts to take a lot of damage
  • Chi Wave – Works as a minor Chi dump, group heal, and a small bit of added damage

Honestly, this was usually more than I needed (and more to keep me engaged) unless the tank was extra squishy or pulling way too much.  On the rare occasion when I got nervous (even in over-pull situations, I was usually overhealing), I would throw Life Cocoon on the tank.  But honestly, I mostly used it because it looks cool.  🙂

Spinning Crane Kick

Now that Chíyu is in BC content, I am finding myself healing with more of my arsenal.  Spinning Crane Kick is becoming my go-to AoE heal when the tank is chain-pulling big packs of trash.  I have to be careful with it, though, as it locks me out of using other spells, and does not heal the ranged.

The “new” skills I am playing with now:

  • Enveloping Mist – Uses Chi instead of mana, and will instantly heal my Soothing Mist target (I have actually had this spell for a while now)
  • Uplift – Heals everyone with Renewing Mist
  • Healing Sphere – These are like one-shot Lightwells, and only require party members to walk through them (apparently, a chance to create these when healing is my Mastery)

Healing on my Monk is really fun, even if she is completely OP.  🙂  I watch her lazily keep everyone alive in situations where I would usually be forced to admit defeat in leveling dungeons with PUGs.  The only issues I have run into so far – even while healing the flood of newbie DK tanks who are always present in the BC dungeons – have been two:

  1. My go-go DK tank who decided to pull two rooms and then take off out of my LoS with those two rooms of mobs.  Smart.  His response?  “Keep up better.”  <sigh>  He was the only one who died there, though.
  2. Getting one-shot by another DK tank who pulled several packs of trash and then got MC’d.  Everyone else survived, of course.  <shrug>  And I imagine I could have saved myself if I had noticed he was MC’d before he stuck a Hellreaver through my head.

I am sure there will be much playstyle change between now and 90, especially between leveling/questing/dungeons and how she functions in a raid.  There was already a slight change between Vanilla and BC.

I am curious and excited to see her continued progression.

Final Thoughts

Zen Pilgrimage

I have not really played with the other two Monk specs at all.  I am having too much fun healing, and too much fun successfully leveling AS a healer.  Hooray!  🙂

Leveling as a healer is very exciting to me!

Partly, this is due to the fact that I have noticed a pattern in Mists quests, one that makes me nervous about the state of my other healers.  I noticed the quest rewards are very class/spec specific.

So far, for my DK, it seems everything has been pieces useful to her as a tank, and I am pretty sure Effy’s quests were at least 90% caster specific.  I think towards the end, I had Intellect and Agility options.  I think…

Sifaol, my Priest, can probably get by as Shadow <shudder> as the gear will be the same (Intellect and Spirit), like Effy’s was.

But what about my Pally?  I cannot bear the thought of leveling her in Holy, and even leveling her other spec – Prot – would be long and arduous I am sure.  (Just based on the time it takes for her to kill farming pests.)  I do not want to get all the way to 90 and have zero healing gear.  😦

Same for my Druid.  I mostly play her as Feral now, but I have a long history with her as (fail) Resto/Balance, and I am determined to learn how to play a Resto Druid eventually!  (Something that has eluded me for two expansions now!)  Yes, I admit it.  I can heal on every other WoW class with a healing spec, but I have forever been a fail Resto Druid.  <ashamed>

~ Effy

P.S. = I also found out Pandaren are very buggy in WoW Model Viewer, but perhaps that is because I am running the 32-bit version on a 64-bit system.  Has anyone seen the new version in 64-bit?  I have looked!  😦

Also, Chiyu looks pretty cool as a human.