What to Wear: Frost Emblem Gear for Shadow Priests

Patch 3.3 brought with it a new top-end emblem (Emblem of Frost), and a nice assortment of gear to fill in some lingering holes or help with the never-ending hit-swap dance. Personally, for now, I am hanging on to my badges to see how my luck fares in our ICC 10 runs, and how our progress goes in ICC 25. I'm not at all tempted to purchase my first few pieces of tier gear. Overall, other than the shoulders, it's looking like it's not worth wearing until you have the 4-piece bonus, or have been able to upgrade pieces via the marks that drop off each wing's final boss. So, after giving it a couple more weeks, I'll decide if I want to take the plunge and upgrade my less than 245 iLvl pieces, or wait until I have the 300-something badges for 4 pieces of tier gear.

Tier Set

Non-Tier Gear

  • Volde's Cloak of the Night Sky (50 emblems). If you are not doing 25-man content, and do not have a heroic ToC cloak, this will be your best option for this slot. You will not want to purchase the other badge cloak, Drape of the Violet Tower (50 emblems), as its MP5 is not useful for damage dealing.
  • Meteor Chaser's Raiment (95 emblems). This is your third-best chest, bested only by a heroic chest and the max-upgraded tier chest. The other non-tier badge chest, Ermine Coronation Robes (95 emblems), is itemized a little better for healers.
  • Gloves of False Gestures (60 emblems). If you have all your hit taken care of in other slots, these are considered to be your second best gloves. The other emblem gloves, Gloves of Ambivalence (60 emblems), are better itemized for healers.
  • Circle of Ossus (60 emblems). If you are not doing ICC 25 or heroic ICC 10, this will be your BiS belt.
  • Belt of Omission (60 emblems). If you are looking for hit in this slot, this will be your best option.
  • Maghia's Misguided Quill (60 emblems). If you have been using the Ulduar hit trinket you may want to spend the badges to upgrade to this even larger dose of hit (thus freeing up other slots for non-hit gear.)

If you purchased all 5 of your tier items, you would be looking at an emblem spend of 405.

ICC by the Skin of Our Teeth

Last night, after weeks of banging our heads against 25-man Lady RepairBill, as Moober affectionately nicknamed her, my guild finally took her down, and did a gunship 1-shot victory lap to celebrate. To say that we were pleased is an understatement. I think shocked was a little more like it.

In the first 45 minutes of our raid, we had wiped fully or partially on the trash 3 or 4 times before getting to Marrowgar. We had ass-pulling of mobs, face pulling of giants, AOE pulling of every mob in the room. Oh yes, we had fun times. And Marrowgar wasn’t a cakewalk either. Although we’d previously 1-shot him on 25-man, it took us 4 goes, losing our MT multiple times, bone spikes staying up too long, switching around our tanks and adding in an off-spec healer so we could get him down on our fourth attempt.

Despite all that noobing it up, this week’s raid was able to finally take down Lady Deathwhisper where previous raids with better execution could not. Why? Logs point to the fact that we went up 15k in overall DPS from our previous best attempt. A good deal of that seems to be from having had a raid that was stacked with melee, who completely kicked butt on the meters overall for the night. I don’t think the difference was in gear, despite the fact that we clear three ICC 10s every week, because we’ve had 30+ raiders in ICC ready gear for over a month now.

The gear component is one that comes up a lot though, with lots of wishful thinking hoping that if only we do another legacy raid of 25-man ToC and get a last little pinch of gear, that will make a difference. But our guild at least has shown that isn’t our block. We do have some folks in our raids doing well under 4k DPS. We’re casual and inclusive, so this happens. But it is important to note that those folks are not at the bottom due to having poor gear. Their gear scores put them neck and neck with folks outperforming them. And our weekly raid quests, which usually end up being two 25s and a few 10s worth of mains and alts before the week is through, have shown many undergeared alts performing as well as – or even better than — their well-geared counterparts.

It’s hard to determine why one DPS pulls 2500 while another of their class pulls 4k+ when their gear is not disparate. Could be lag or low FPS on their computer. Could be they don’t watch their threat meters and spend their time hugging the floor. Could be that they have Skype or IM open on their computer and are distracted. Or they could be like that former guildie of mine who was always watching a movie or television during our raids, interjecting Vent chat with commentary to that effect. Perhaps they’re not doing the optimal DPS rotation, or their spec needs some work.

It’s impossible to troubleshoot what’s going on from the outside. But the fact remains that at this point, we’re not able to carry folks through the content and succeed. The past three weeks of wiping on Lady Deathwhisper showed that pretty clearly. Folks need to bring their A game. Being casual doesn’t mean it’s OK to not be flasking up, or coming to a raid wearing gear that is unenchanted or poorly gemmed. Casual is not a bandaid to cover up not trying. Yes, casual is putting having a good time first. And it is about having a life outside of the game. We don’t have minimum attendance, or spec requirements, or any of the standard rules a raiding guild has. But the fact that we are casual that way shouldn’t absolve anyone who raids from having personal accountability for doing their best.

Next week, a new wing of ICC opens up. I know our 10-mans will be up for the challenge. As for our 25-man? We’ll see. I am optimistic that last night’s victory will push folks to give Saurfang their all on Monday. But putting your best foot forward in raids isn’t a one-time event. It’s something you need to do every time you head in the door to a raid instance. Here’s hoping we continue to be up for the challenge.

What to Wear: A Shadow Priest’s Guide to 25-man Icecrown Citadel Gear

As previously noted, I'm not a math geek so I am not going to argue BiS (best in Slot) with the maths here. Rather, I am going to discuss your gearing up opportunities by boss, to help you prep your wish list. If you want to see BiS across all available 10-man and 25-man raids, including ICC hard mode boss drops, shadowpriest.com has an excellent list. With more math than you can shake a stick at.

Words of Caution: As with ToC, you will want to be picking up some haste gear from ICC which means doing the hit-swapping dance, so don't be quick to shard or sell your existing gear when you receive an upgrade. You will likely have to swap gear around for raids to ensure you stay hit capped.

Your boss-by-boss gear guide, after the jump.

Continue reading “What to Wear: A Shadow Priest’s Guide to 25-man Icecrown Citadel Gear”

What’s Next?

I’m sort of in-between goals at the moment.

I got the mage to 80.

I faction changed the shaman, brought her to my horde server and got her a few upgrades plus a Black War bear.

We’ve cleared all the available regular raid instances, and the guild is now working on hard modes in the search for Algalon.

My shadow priest has her motorcycle, and finally got the Lil’ Game hunter achievement.

So now what?

Yes, I have the wee druid in the wings, but I’m meh about leveling at the moment and have to give concentrated questing a time out to avoid burn out. Unless I have other crazy levelers willing to go 3-man at level instances. THAT is something I can never pass up (and something I always wayyy underestimate how much time to allot for.)

I wonder why it is so hard to stop and smell the roses in WoW? Instead of just reveling in the moment, all too often I see folks in a similar mind set to where I am at right now saying “I’m bored.” And find myself restless without a new goal to pursue. In retrospect, isn’t it absurd for any of us to be bored with an MMO that has literally thousands of activities in which we could participate if only we motivated ourselves to think outside of our slef-defined box?

Luckily, those moments, for me, pass quickly. And soon enough I have a new list of things I want to do. And for the most part, what I want to do is piddle around with the folks in my guild whose company makes me happy, piddling around, doing whatever, biding my time until we get to pay a visit on the Lich King. I’m ready and waiting.

 

Patch 3.3 News

There's been so much patch 3.3 News coming out this past week, courtesy of bloggers + MMO Champion. So far, in addition to the obvious draw of kicking some Lich King butt in Icecrown, there's a lot to look forward to. Here are what have been the highlights for me so far.

Battlenet Accounts Required after November 12

Not super happy about this but they are bribing us with a penguin mini pet so I guess I'll live with it.

Shadow Priests

  • Glyphs

    • Glyph of Mind Flay now increases the damage done by your Mind Flay
      spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain.

    • Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain changed to – The periodic damage ticks of your Shadow Word: Pain spell restore 1% of your base mana.

    • Glyph of Shadow now increase your spell power by 30% of your spirit for 10 sec. (Up from 10%)
  • Talents/Spells
    • Power Word: Shield; This spell can now be cast on non-raid/party friendly targets. 
    • Improved Devouring Plague: This spell now deals 10/20/30% of its total periodic effect instantly, up from 5/10/15%. 
    • Shadowform: This talent also now causes Devouring Plague, Shadow Word:
      Pain, and Vampiric Touch to benefit from haste. Both the period length
      and the duration of these spells will be reduced by haste. In addition,
      the mana cost has been reduced from 32% to 13% of base mana. 
    • Vampiric Embrace: This ability is now provides a 30-minute buff that cannot be dispelled, instead of a target debuf

Druids

  • Rebirth: The cooldown on this spell has been lowered from 20 minutes down to 10 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.

Mage

  • Talents/Spells
    • Improved Scorch: The debuff from this talent no longer stacks, and instead can apply the full effect from a single cast of Scorch.
    • Frozen Core now also causes your Ice Lance criticals to reduce the cast time of your next Frostbolt or Frostfire Bolt by 0.4/0.7/1 sec.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Improved Scorch is now named Glyph of Scorch and Increases the damage of your Scorch spell by 20%.
    • Glyph of Eternal Water – Your Summon Water Elemental now lasts indefinitely, but your Water Elemental can no longer cast Freeze.

Shaman

Interface Changes

  • Any party member may mark raid targets.
  • Users will be warned when their talents are reset due to a new patch.
  • “Tentative” status added for calendar responses.
  • Ignore list expanded to 50 to match the friends list.
  • Unit frames added for special encounters.
  • Interface element added next to the mini-map to show what dungeon you are in (ex: 10- and 25-player Heroic dungeons marked with a skull).
  • Experience earned for a quest will display in the Quest Rewards section.
  • Macro Change: Symbol “@” added as a synonym for “target=”;. For example, “/cast [@focus] Flash Heal”.

Everything Looks Better in Shadowform

BEFORE shadow

AFTER shadow.

No, aesthetics aren’t why I love my shadow priesty ways, but DAMN! She looks hottt in shadowform. Just saying.

This lady was my first horde character, and the only one I have leveled to level cap, three times over now. I started her on the server one of my RL friends played on, thinking we would get to hang out and do stuff together, but that’s just not how it turned out. I eventually suckered all my friends into rolling horde alts there as well, and started a lowbie guild. But it turns out I have a bunch of online friends who like to start — and abandon — 4 or 5 lowbie alts at a time. And tho I do love Shadowfang Keep, I grew tired of running everyone’s alts through it as my primary guild activity.

Early this year, I vowed not to let another level cap raise come and go without this lady (who has always been one of my favorites) getting to see some action. So I rolled a mage to test out the all-girls guild affiliated with an online girls gaming community of which I’m a member. I found the gchat to be lively, and decided to take the punge. In retrospect I have to say it’s the best $25 I’ve spent gaming.

Despite my 3 week Internet outage, I made decent time taking her to 80. I ground out her tailoring to ensure she would have a full set of blue gear at 80. I spent countless hours working on reputation so that slowly but surely she could get a good weapon, access to the Hodir shoulder enchants, etc.

Despite my 3 years experience playing WoW, and the fact that I did some raiding (Kara) on my alliance shadowpriest (who I rolled only b/c I was tired of not having anyone to play with horde-side), I initially did not have the confidence playing this lady in groups. But my patient and supportive guildies gamely invited me on my first heroic, and many more after that. In the past two weeks, after our guild’s first Naxx weekend, I felt good enough about her gear and dps to to volunteer for open slots in a few heroics put together by our allied guild.

It’s all I hoped for and then some. Heck, she even got to do Vault and OS 10 mans today! My formerly overworked shaman can’t even say that.

I still have my alliance toons, and pop on them to do the occasinal raid with my friends, or just to say hi, but this lady is the one getting all my time and attention… and it is finally starting to show!

Cooking Achievements Update

Pre-expansion, I compiled a guide to the Cooking Achievements that lead to the "Chef" in-game title. After skilling up my cooking on multiple characters, I've discovered that at least three of the required recipes for the Northrend Gourmet achievement do not appear to be currently attainable — Kungaloosh, Fish Feast, and Orca Stew.

There are quest chains that reward you with a stack of Kungaloosh and Orca Stew, but neither quest provides you with the recipe to make those items. The Fish Feast looks like it should be a Dalaran Cooking Awards purchase, but it's not on the vendor. Since the achievement requires you to make 45 of 46 possible recipes, these omissions would make this achievement not possible. I have a GM ticket turned in on this topic and will report back if they let me know how this issue is going to be addressed.

The Long Road to 80…

Slowly but surely, I am still slogging along to 80. Many of the folks I previously raided with pushed to 80 in a week or so, seemingly playing 24-hours-per-day. I, on the other hand, work 40+ hours per week, which  leaves me playing nights and weekends only.

So far, the tally is:

  • 76 resto shaman
  • 74 BOOMkin
  • 71 frost mage
  • 70 shadow priest (horde and alliance)

I had intended on taking the druid to 80 first, followed by the shaman, but it became evident pretty quickly that our guild, which for Karazahn had been awash with healers, was more in need of a healer than a Boomkin. Thus, I have the 74 and the 76 instead of an 80. I am sure this is a familiar tale.

After I actually ding 80, I’ll be creating some enchanting, cooking, and jewelcrafting guides for the site.

Happy adventuring!

Get Thee to Dalaran!

Since the expansion has been up and  running for a few days now, if you are interested in getting your professions (or fishing/cooking achievements) started, you really do need to get yourself to Dalaran. You  have 3 options for doing so:

  1. Wait for level 74 at which point you will be eligible for a quest that sends you there.
  2. Find a level 74 mage and pay them to port you to Dalaran
  3. If you see a friend of yours milling around Dalaran, have them queue you up as a  group to go to the Battlegrounds…which will eventually pop you out where you were queued — i.e. Dalaran

I highly suggest that before you head to Dalaran, however, that you ensure you have your factions two starting area flight paths, and have gotten the Kalu’ak flight paths between Kamagua and Moa’ki Harbor and Kaskala. Note that turtle boats travel from Mo’ak Harbor to the other 2 locations, making the flight paths easy to obtain.

I’m in Dalaran, Now What?

First things first– set your hearth at an inn. You have two choices — your faction’s inn, or the Inn in the Underbelly. Next up, head to Krases Landingand grab the flight path. Finally, take a good solid hour and explore the city. There are a lot of amzing sites — and vendors– within the shops. And be sure to tour the sewers. There’s even a [Ghostly Skull] in pet in it for you if you can part with 40g.

After I made it to Dalran, my first orders of business included completing my first daily cooking quests, and stocking up on Northern Spices, purchased with my Dalaran Cooking Awards. And then I spent a few ours(!) working on fishing in the fountain. And somewhere in there I also bought a train set. Be warned, however, that the humor deficient may complain about the /train that ensues after you put your train set to work. And the toy shop may be hazardous to your mount fund.