Real ID Party Feature

Have you ever went into a dungeon complaining to a Real ID friend about how the healer sucks or how the tank isn’t holding enough aggro, wishing they could join you instead? Now you can with the new Real ID Party feature!

Real ID Party Feature

This new feature allows World of Warcraft players to invite their real-life Real ID friends regardless of what realm they play on and queue for a 5-player regular or Heroic dungeon. Inviting a Real ID friend to a group is simple. Just open up your friends list to view which friends are online. Click on the “plus” button to send an invitation to join your group. You can invite up to 5 Real ID friends but can also use the dungeon finder as well to fill in the missing roles.  Any player who is the group leader can invite their real ID friend making it easier to fill the missing roles. 

What is a Real ID friend you ask?

Real ID is a system that battle.net created to be used with people you know and trust in real life such as friends, co-workers and family, to interact with while in-game. Although you can pretty much add anyone you wish as long as you have their email address. To add a friend, open up your friends list, click on “Add Friend”, type in the player’s email and you’re finished. The player will see a pending request in their friend’s list. If they accept, you will become Real ID friends with them. 

There is another feature call “friends of friends” where you can view the friends of your Real ID friend on the friends list. If you know someone on their list, just simply click on their name and press add. They will receive a pending request in their friends list just like your Real ID friend did.

So what are you waiting for? Get online and have some fun with your friends across the realms! No more wishing that they can be alongside you. Have fun and as always, be polite and appropriate while in a group. No one likes a PuG!

Healing for Raids as Druids

So you want to raid as a Resto Druid in Patch 4.2 but aren’t sure how or you want to freshen up your memory? No problem! Here is the information that you’ll need to do so.

First off, you’ll need to know about the spec and talent tree. Resto Druids are specced with a lot of Healing over Time spells (or as people call them, HoTs) which is excellent for healing raids (as well as dungeons too!) Here is the rundown of your talents and what you should use in your talent tree.

Druid Resto Talent Tree for Raid Healing

Restoration (31)
Natural Shapeshifter, Naturalist, Heart of the Wild, Master Shapeshifter, Perseverance, Improved Rejuvenation, Revitalize, Nature’s Swiftness, Empowered Touch, Malfurion’s Gift, Efflorescence, Wild Growth, Gift of the Earthmother, Swift Rejuvenation, Tree of Life

Balance (10)
Nature’s Grace, Nature’s Majesty, Moonglow, and 2/3 Furor or Genesis.

After you are done putting your talents in, you should have 1 extra point in your talent tree to place wherever you may choose.

Talents
The talents that stack – Gift of Nature, Improved Rejuvenation, Blessing of the Grove, Genesis, Glyph of Rejuvenation, Empowered Touch, and Harmony.

Omen of Clarity: Does NOT proc from healing spells. Clearcasting is only consumed by Healing Touch and Regrowth and can only be procced with Malfurion’s Gift. It only lasts for 15 secs.

Moonglow: Mana cost is rounded down.

Mark of the Wild: Does NOT stack with Kings.

Efflorescence: Its based on the size of Swiftmend and double-dips from buffs such as Master Shapeshifter, Tree of Life as well as Harmony. It also benefits from crit (individual ticks do not crit)

Glyphs
Here are the glyphs you should use while healing.

Resto Druid Glyphs for Healing

Prime:

  1. Glyph of Rejuvenation
  2. Glyph of Lifebloom (very handy when healing the tank)
  3. Glyph of Swiftmend

Major:

  1. Glyph of Wild Growth
  2. Glyph of Rebirth

Because 4.2 nerfed Innervate, the glyph is rather pointless. Instead you should go with Glyph of Healing Touch.

Minor:

  1. Glyph of the Wild – Can save some mana but since 4.2, its a very cheap spell.
  2. Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth – Avoid embarassment of having to use reagents.
  3. Glyph of Dash – Can help if you’re falling behind.
  4. Glyph of the Treant – Miss what the old tree looks like? This is the glyph for you!

Stats
In order of importance:

Intellect – Spellpower – Mastery – Haste – Critical Strike – Spirit

Intellect (the best stat for HPS and mana)
Provides 1 spell power; 0.00154% to crit per point. With Mark of the Wild, Heart of the Wild, and Astral Leather Specialization, it provides 1.169 spellpower and 0.0018% crit. Increases your maximum mana by 1753 and regen with Innervate, Replenishment, and Revitalize.

Spellpower
A weaker form of Intellect but still good to have.

Mastery
128.05 haste rating gives 1% spell haste. This reduces the cast time and GCD of all of our spells, to a minimum of 1 second GCD. Causes our HoT’s to tick faster as well as gain extra ticks. It does improve Rejuvenation or increase our mana pool.

Critical Strike
179.28 crit rating gives 1% to crit. Crit heals do twice as much healing since patch 4.0

Spirit
Improves mana regen but gives no mana pool increase.

Reforging
Before I begin talking about reforging, the most important thing you should know, is your HoT haste breakpoints.

  • 916: 5th tick of Rejuvenation. You should have this in any raid gearset.
  • 1573: 9th tick of Wild Growth and Effloresence with Dark Intent. If you have DI, you only have to make it to here instead of 2005 to get this nice bonus.
  • 1602: 5th tick of Rejuvenation without 5% haste. If you’re missing the haste buff, you really want to be at this point or higher.
  • 1779: 6th tick of Rejuvenation with Nature’s Grace.
  • 2005: 9th tick of Wild Growth and Efflorescence. This point is very valuable, as these two spells make up a large portion of our healing.
  • 2032: 6th tick of Rejuvenation with Shard of Woe proc active. If you have a Shard, this is only a small leap from 2005 and makes your trinket use much more effective.
  • 2490: 7th tick of Rejuvenation with Nature’s Grace and Shard of Woe active.
  • 3106: 11th tick of Wild Growth/Efflorescence with Nature’s Grace.
  • 3478: 6th tick of Rejuvenation with Dark Intent.
  • 3754: 10th tick of Wild Growth/Efflorescence.
  • 3967: 6th tick of Rejuvenation.

It is very important to maintain a haste breakpoint of 2005.

When planning to equip or reforge, you should keep these in mind while doing so.

  1. As said, be aware of haste breakpoints.
  2. Reach the 2005 haste breakpoint but only if your gear is good enough to reach it without any problems.
  3. Choose an item of higher ilevel in each spot.
  4. While choosing between spirit, crit and mastery, mastery ends up being the better choice than crit since you can stack mastery as high as you please. However crit may be better in certain situations like frequently spamming Living Seed. If you find yourself running low on mana constantly, go with spirit.

Casting Mechanics, Spells and Macros.

Targeting
As you know to heal a target is to target them (only if it exists and friendly. To heal yourself, you should turn Auto Self Cast on (Interface – Game – Combat)

Spells
Clear Casting: It’s not a spell but a proc. However, it should be known about because it’s the most important proc the Druid has. When clearcast procs, you should cast a Healing Touch or Regrowth in the next few seconds. Although its better to use Healing Touch more than Regrowth since it has a higher healing rate when used.

Rejuvenation: Very central to our healing as it does a very high amount of healing, is efficient, and enables Swiftmend. However, it is moderately expensive on mana and will burn mana quickly if you spam it. Although it won’t give you an overcast, it’s still a great spell to use. Also, you should keep Rejuv on a tank that is taking alot of damage mixed with Nourish.

Swiftmend: Another one of our best spells as its instant and has a short cooldown. Activated by rejuvenation, it should be used on a group of people who are low on HP. Using Swiftmend’s cooldown heightens Harmony uptime.

Wild Growth: Will automatically target 5/6 people (6/6 people with the Glyph of Wild Growth) with the lowest HP and in range. The 30 yard range makes it easier to use and can often cast it on anyone and get a great result making it an excellent spell to use. In heavy damage situations, use Wild Growth on cooldown. Even though it is an expensive spell to use, it’s definitely worth it.

Lifebloom: Great heal to use on the tank or the person taking the most damage at all times. It is the cheapest HoT and strong, fast tick rate, and gives frequent Revitalize and Malfurion’s Gift procs. Keep it stacked on the target (3x).

Nourish: Cast this spell when you’re not using anything else as a filler because it’s the Druid’s cheapest heal. Easy on your mana consumption. Also, anytime you’re using your Nourish to refresh Lifebloom (every 10 seconds), you will have 100% Harmony uptime.

Healing Touch: Much larger than Nourish and less efficient. Good use when the tank needs a good direct heal. Combined with Nature’s Swiftness, it provides an emergency instant heal which is somewhat stronger than Swiftmend. You’ll usually use it with Swiftmend when you need two consecutive instant heals on someone.

Regrowth: Fast, inefficient direct heal when targets need immediate heals to avoid death (also use with Swiftmend when available.) When clearcast procs, use this spell to top someone off.

Tranquility: Puts out massive amounts of healing during the channeling time. Can easily save people from dying when used correctly.

Resto Druid in Tree Form HealingTree of Life Form: Has a few effects on spells as well as having a 15% bonus healing.
Lifebloom: Can cast on a number of targets instead of one.
Regrowth: Instant cast.
Wildgrowth: Targets 2 extra people.

Rebirth: A battle resurrection. Used when a person in your raid/dungeon dies during a fight and need to be resurrected quickly. Be sure not to waste it as it has a long cooldown. It also gives the person 100% health making it the best combat resurrection in the game.

Innervate: Use when you’re running low on mana during a fight.

Thorns: Useful on a tank during AoE fights or threat-sensitive situations.

Remove Corruption: A spell to cure debuffs on people in the raid;/dungeon.

Barkskin: Use this spell instantly in threatening amount of damage situation.

Macros
Target Priority Control

#showtooltip
/use [@target, help] [@targettarget, help] Rejuvenation (or whatever spell you choose.

Mouseover targeting
/use [mouseover, help] Rejuvenation (or whatever spell you choose)

Nature’s Swiftness combined with Healing Touch

/showtooltip Nature’s Swiftness
/stopcasting /use Nature’s Swiftness
/use [@mouseover] Healing Touch

Cast Revive instead of Rebirth after a fight (also tells your group when it is being cast)

#showtooltip
/use [nocombat]
Revive
/stopmacro [nocombat]
/use Rebirth
/ra Rebirth on %t

The Encounter Journal

Deploying in patch 4.2, Blizzard’s Encounter Journal is an in-game tool designed to provide basic information about the different fights players will encounter within dungeons and raids. The journal will gather the huge amount of information normally only available on sites like “WoWhead” and “WoWwiki” into one official document. However, Blizzard seeks to make an important distinction in that the journal will not provide strategies or tips on positioning. Instead, it will show players a list of each boss’ abilities and their respective phases. Blizzard claims that the new feature simply cuts out the middle man in that it doesn’t force players to visit outside sites to research boss fights. 

Encounter Journal from World of Warcraft

However, the existence of the Encounter Journal poses issues for certain demographics of World of Wacraft’s player base. Some players claim a flaw of the feature is that it’s too “casual friendly,” because it tells players exactly what’s going to happen during boss fights, ruining the feeling of surprise and experimentation when dealing with encounters. Another critique of the tool is that it’s simply pointless, because if it doesn’t provide strategies players will seek out external guides regardless. Finally, many “hardcore” players who associate with elite PvE guilds are worried that the journal’s inclusion will be detrimental to the competitive nature of raiding and top-end progression pushes. 

Yet, this isn’t to say that the journal hasn’t received equal amounts of positive feedback. Many players are celebrating the feature’s inclusion on the grounds that it’s another successful attempt by Blizzard to streamline the process of entering raids. They argue that the journal lessens the learning curve of new players by providing them with information about fights, allowing them a better chance at preparation. Similarly, many herald that the feature grants the opportunity for more players to experience raid content where they might not before, as it facilitates movement through content and eliminates gaps of stagnation where players would have to spend time researching encounters.

Ultimately, Blizzard’s Encounter Journal represents yet another schism between the “casual” and “hardcore” demographics of World of Warcraft players. Whereas some players condemn the movement towards more accessible PvE encounters, such as those in Wrath of the Lich King, and feel nostalgia for the days of demanding 40-man raids, many other players appreciate the opportunity provided by Blizzard to experience raid content without committing a large amount of their time to doing so.

Healing Enchant: Heartsong or Power Torrent?

After a couple hours of getting blown off ledges by tornados, healing through increasingly acidic rain, and staring into Al’Akir’s windy grundle, we downed that gusty elemental god. And what dropped?

Power Torrent Enchant on Stormwake

Stormwake, the Tempest’s Reach of the Undertow.

Best-in-slot holy paladin mainhand.

I couldn’t wait to equip that beautiful blade, but it is, of course, sacrilege to equip an item that isn’t fully enchanted. The guildies are just as excited for me: “Grats Art! Gonna throw Power Torrent on that puppy?”

“Nope. Heartsong.”

“Aww! Boo! You’re boring, you n00b! Go die in a murloc bonfire!”

Well, they didn’t say that. But if they did, it might be reflective of my own inner turmoil.

As awesome as the shifting orange and purple flames of Power Torrent are, no matter how many top-end healers rock it, regardless of its overwhelming badass factor, there has only ever been one mainhand healing enchant for me. Give me that cool blue glow, Heartsong.

Here’s why: 

Consistency, reliability, and flexibility. When Heartsong procs (which it frequently does, with an uptime of over 50%) you gain spirit, which gives you more mana. Mana that you can use whenever and however you want.

Being a good healer isn’t just watching health bars and clicking the ones that FLASH RED BECAUSE SOMEBODY IS GOING TO DIE.  It’s anticipating periods of heavy damage intake and preparing accordingly, conserving mana through the relatively peaceful gaps. You know, that whole “situational awareness” thing. Off-tank about to eat a Chimaeron Double Attack? Have your slow, big heal ready to finish as soon as the attack lands. Who cares if it’s expensive, you have extra mana from Heartsong!

Let’s dispel another healing myth while we’re at it. You can never, ever have too much mana. If you end a fight with a ton of mana, heal harder! Use bigger, faster heals. Take pressure off of your fellow healers, or even better, use fewer healers and down bosses faster. Everybody likes more loot (or at least shards, this late in a patch). Take Heartsong’s mana and put it to good use.

Then there’s Power Torrent. It’s like that guildy who is awesomely skilled, knowledgeable, and friendly, but who can only raid for half an hour every other week. Tempting and full of potential, but ultimately disappointing. It has a 45 second internal cooldown compared to Heartsong’s 20, and the proc only lasts 12 seconds for an average uptime of around 25%.

Looking back at that Chimaeron example, what will probably happen with Power Torrent? It will proc when you don’t need it, when you only need to heal for 10k hp at a time. You might as well not have an enchant at that point. 

Tories (a not-too-clever name that I just came up with for Power Torrent healers) might point to their enchant’s tendency to help with mana as well as throughput. That is, because Power Torrent increases your overall mana pool, abilities that regenerate percentages of your overall mana pool are more effective.  However, my argument is the same: it probably won’t be there when you need it. Are you really going to delay your Divine Plea 30 seconds for an extra ~1300 mana? What if that means you short yourself one Plea ( ~18k mana) at the end of the fight? 

That said, there is no denying the importance of Intellect for healers. Maybe the Tories have it right. At the end of the day, healing is the one role where comfort and preference trump being “correct” in terms of playstyle. I may just throw Power Torrent on Stormwake and see what all of the fuss is about. 

Plus, it will match my cape, and that’s what is really important, right?

The Magic of Nexus

I have to say that one of my favourite aspects of the WotLK expansion has been exploring the new instances in Northend.  Although Utgarde Keep had its moments, it pales in comparison to the Nexus on levels of both look and gameplay.  I personally found tanking Utgarde Keep ridiculously easy.  Without any new challenges presented and the somewhat predictable room-by-room encounter of giant Viking-men thundering towards me, it didn’t hold my attention nearly as well as the Nexus.

The Nexus in World of Warcraft

The Nexus is a series of underground ice caves and tunnels.  Unlike most instances in WoW, you’re given some allowance in what bosses you pursue first and what order you explore each section of the dungeon in.  You can go into different wings of the dungeon, although the final boss Keristrasza – a red female dragon you’ll want to cut the tongue off of by the end of the fight – can only be released from her prison after you’ve killed the other three bosses in the instance.  You can then summon her by clicking on all three orbs. 

Anomalus was a fairly easy boss to take down.  He reminded me a lot of the Curator from Karazhan.  Like the Curator, you must kill his adds whenever they come out before continuing to attack him.  Ormorok the Tree-Shaper was pretty much a tank-and-spank for my group.  Just make sure you make your way to him quickly otherwise you’ll be overcome by annoying little flower adds.  Grand Magus Telestra is an annoying blood elf boss that does this wacky cloning thing in phase two of your fight with her.  She’ll also volley your team around, which you can ultimately do nothing to stop, so enjoy the bouncey ride for as long as it lasts.

I must say, there isn’t much about the Nexus that one wouldn’t like.  You get to enter a world of ice, bursting with colours and fantastical dragons.  This in itself, at least for me, brought a sort of out-of-this-world epic adventure into being.  In fact, some of the caves even have fascinating magical properties.  In one section my guildmates and I noticed that our health and mana regenerated ridiculously fast.  Overall, I found it just challenging enough to require some strategizing without being too difficult, and I was wholeheartedly entertained by the inside appearance of the entire dungeon.  It will be interesting to see how these instances transform on heroic mode once I’ve reached level 80.

Raid Progression Adventure!

The last few weeks of the Burning Crusade are upon us and many guilds are trying to plow through all of the raid content they haven’t yet seen.  In the last week, I have seen PUGs (pick up groups) for everything from Karazhan to Sunwell.  These PUGs do seem to only take geared individuals, but the fact that these once impossible 25-man dungeons can be penetrated and destroyed by PUGs allows everyone playing WoW to really see all of the raid dungeons and progress just before the entry of WotLK.

I guess the real question: why Blizzard didn’t make this change sooner?   I’ve played Warcraft since Dire Maul was introduced into the game.  I remember that when BC came out, guilds were struggling to go through BWL and AQ40, let alone get into Naxx to see that content before the expansion.   In fact, there are quite a few people playing WoW who still never went back into Naxx at 70 and probably won’t know anything about the spider wing until level 80.  With WotLK upon us, the raid bosses saw a huge nerf due to a change in game mechanics.  Does that mean that Blizzard never intended for all paying clients to see all of the content in the game?

MMOs have been popular for sometime with the success of games like Everquest and Final Fantasy XI. Blizzard is an innovative company that really stepped outside of the MMO box to make a completely new and fascinating game.  However, some of the culture of older MMOs did sneak into WoW.  I really do not believe that Blizzard intended for every paying customer to see every raid dungeon.  The elite hardcore raiders were meant to see Naxx.  The elite raiders were meant to complete Sunwell.  And now, every raider is finally intended to see the new content of the developed game.

What made Blizzard change their tune on raids?  Blizzard spends a lot of time creating dungeons and content.  Why wouldn’t they want to show off all of their hard work? WotLK introduces 10-man raids that allow for progression.  You can keep going with your steady guild 10-man group or you may be able to pick up a random 9 other players standing in Dalaran with you.  

Pre-BC, everyone loved 40 man raids.  When BC was introduced with 10 and 25 man raids, the community of players complained because people would be left out of the raids.  Post-BC, we are seeing the introduction of 10-man progression and 25-man progression separate.  Maybe the PUGs that we are seeing form in Shattrath today will continue to be a part of the World of Warcraft and perhaps everyone will get a chance to see all of the new content Blizzard throws our way.