As I have not kept up this blog until today, I have a lot of input. But before I get back into game mechanics, I want to give a huge shout out to my guild of many years, Sad Panda. I was online the other day when they accomplished First Level 25 Guild on Smolderthorn.
I’m honored they let me stay in as a legacy member, despite my raiding and instance inabilities. These guys have stayed competitive for years in WoW. Originally a guild called Entropy, which cleared up to BWL, we merged with another guild and became Epic. Some of the old faces are still around, such as Daedal, Bugs, and maybe even Fuse. After Epic, many left and formed a rival guild called Gloryhogs before BC released. Epic shifted to what was then an alt guild called “Sad Panda,” and Fuse led that guild for years. I know others have had some great input there, including my friends Jason and Josh, as well as Kkyle and Jessica, and now a new cadre of apparently very capable guild and raid leaders and raiders. The core competencies are still evident to me, and there are a lot of high level, hilarious, experienced players in SP…congrats on a great achievement!
On to the discussion on latency and its adverse effect on both disc and holy priest specs.
For holy, your rotation now involves heal, greater heal, binding heal, prayer of mending, circle of healing, chakra states, and prayer of healing for the most part. I rarely found myself using my old staple, flash heal. High latency hurts casters big time…especially healers, and especially priests. Refer to my previous notes on queuing spells, because you’re going to need to do that on a bad connection. First, you will notice very quickly in cata that mana is an issue when you have crappy gear. Also, latency means your throughput is even less. So, I recommend using your big spells and staying away from heal simply because it loses its value if you can’t cast it quickly. Your tank will be dead if you are on a 2000ms connection spamming heal, most likely. One good dynamic, though, is that you will find yourself in the 5 second rule for mana regen more often, by nature of not being able to cast as much. I found that I was less likely to run out of mana than wipe the party, so I had to lean towards larger, more expensive heals and just pay the price of drinking after nearly every pull if necessary. Also, I leaned very heavily on the AoE version of chakra, because of its “fire and forget” nature, along with the unconventional renews. I also glyphed for prayer of healing and used prayer of mending on cooldown EVERY time, because those spells would continue to be productive when my connection choked for a few seconds at a time, which happened frequently. Ultimately, it looked to my party like this: PoH procs HoT from glyph, renews on people that have taken any dmg, PoM on tank, chakra AoE around tank, and “why is that priest just standing there waiting now” followed by a binding heal or flash heal.
For disc, PW:S is a required pre-cast, as well as PoM on cooldown. I use PI and Inner Focus on cooldown…IF is even macrod in every gheal cast. If it’s available, I’m using it. I use PW:Barrier and Pain Suppression on cooldown too. Then I’ll Q up a penance first, gheal second. I have an A/A spec, so if the connection is decent or the damage distribution is steady and not too much, I LOVE smiting for automatic healing distribution around the party. However, keep in mind that you won’t be able to do that on trash if you have high latency and the mobs are dying relatively quickly. Your throughput will go to zero. I typically use it for big mobs and bosses where damage is manageable.
One important lesson learned this deployment: do not sit in an instance and wipe a party because of bad lag. You’ll end up just getting vote kicked anyways, and you will have wasted time queuing. Know what your playability limit is…mine is about 2500ms. Anything higher than that, or if I’m experiencing frequent bandwidth lag (game seems to pause and then catch up real fast a few seconds later), I will heal through a pull then leave the party when they are safe. That’s right, I don’t even try to finish. It’s more productive to do some of the options I’m about to discuss. Unfortunately, that means I’m not able to do a lot of instances right now.
So what DO I do?
I find other ways to support and develop my character or cater to my end goals in the game. I always play every game with a goal in mind. For instance, in Black Ops, my goal was to hit level 50 so that I could unlock all the weapons. In WoW, there are so many different things you can shoot for. For me, it is to create the ultimate healer that is asked for when any tough healing situation arises. To be competitive at the highest levels of PvE as a priest healer. What caters to my goal? Anything that adds value to my main. Gold, mats, crafted items, professions, instance experience, UI improvements, and networking.
So, here are options I have been exploring and enjoying in cataclysm when I’m not able to heal instances as I would prefer.
- I started a DK at lvl 55 and leveled the toon with herbalism and mining. (I have played my priest almost exclusively since WoW released...I originally shunned the idea of serious alts, but I was missing out) Taurens get fast herbalism gathering, and pale rider in the frost tree means I can fly faster on my 150% speed flying mount.
- Gathering is considerably easier and faster now that you can fly, and those mats are lucrative. The lower level mats have earned me about 2000g so far, which is really a small amount in cataclysm. However, Kyle Rudd has informed me that flask sales on the AH are guaranteed to bring in thousands with good frequency.
- I plan to have my alt gathering herbs and Smoogee already has almost maxed out alchemy. I estimate I'll be bringing in about 10k per week once I have that system running.
- The leveling process is fun and new, and along the way I am auctioning nearly everything I can. I anticipate that my DK will have earned about 20k+ gold by the time it is 85. And THAT could be an ilvl 359 BoE healing Staff of Dark Mending, or Vial of the Sands, or something I really want. Also, I plan to purchase some heirloom items for my DK if the timing works out with justice points…may or may not happen. Gold opens up a ton of options for anybody’s main.
- I am leveling my alchemy and enchanting, and neither of those will be cheap. I’m already at a high level, and I have my rings enchanted and the alchemy trinket. Oh, by the way, pots help a ton for priests.
- Networking is the last thing I’ve started getting back into. Rebuilding my friend list with current players who I can go to for parties, help, professions, or even information. Remember when WoW first started? I still have connections from the version 1.0 days, and it makes a lot of sense to intentionally redevelop that habit pattern. That way, when I can play at higher performance levels, I’ll have relevant connections on my server. (The new “add a note” feature is awesome, as well as the RealID system)