Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Keybindings and Macros Galore

I'm not exactly the first person to ever write a post about key bindings. Rather than focusing on exact key bindings, I'll share some of my thoughts regarding how I make up the system.

Muscle Memory

When playing a game such as World of Warcraft, you develop something called "Muscle memory". I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I believe it is something like this: When you decided to activate a certain ability in WoW, your brain does not consciously connect which ability is on which key binding. You have developed a muscle memory that allows your brain to just decide which ability to use, and then the fingers do the rest. Perhaps the connection is in the nerves of your hand, or your spine?

If you lack the muscle memory for a given class, you need extra time to connect the ability to the key binding you want to use. In some cases, you even need to look for the key on the display.

High level PVP players can often play several classes at top level. However, even they have the problem that they can't maintain a muscle memory for too many classes at the same time. Their reaction time is superb, but their response time suffers from the extra time they need to figure out the key binding.

A semi-counter for this is to have key bindings which are similar for all characters. It does not automatically make you better at the game, but I believe it personally helps me learn the key bindings faster... or re-learn them into my muscle memory whenever I switch class (again!).

Everything available

Even if you only play a single class, you can perform better if you need less movement of the hand to do what you want to. If your rotation requires you to often hit 1 and G, for example, you will probably be a bit faster if you change it to two keys next to each other, after some time learning the new keys.

Re-learning time for key binding

Before every expansion, during the beta, I look up all abilities for classes that either have gone through big modifications, or have gotten some new abilities added as part of the main rotation (at least buttons that need to be hit regularly), or just new classes I intend to level, like a warrior this time. Then I sit down with pen, paper, and a list of all abilities of a given class. After about two hours (usually split into several half-hour sessions) I've set up the key bindings as I want them in the next expansion.

However, that often means I've changed a lot of abilities around. It can be a real pain to learn a new set of key bindings. It takes a lot of time for your muscle memory to forget the old key bindings and replace them with the new, leading to a lot of circumstances where I end up hitting the wrong button at a critical moment. However, levelling is the best time to make such a change, as you usually play a lot of solo and only yourself suffer from the mess-ups.

It also takes a certain mindset to successfully do it. If you constantly irritate yourself over the messed-up keybindings, you're probably better off with the old. You need to think of the learning as a useful process and not just an irritating one, or the irritation will prevent you from learning effectively.


I have remapped the movement keys for all first-person shooter games and WoW from WASD (that is, forward with W, strafe left with A, etc) to ESDG (forward with E, left with S, etc). It took some time to learn, but I don't regret it.

The main advantage as I see it is that you have a lot more keys close to your fingers. From the usual position WASD, the following keys are easily reachable (not including the movement keys): |, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, q, e, r, (t), f, (g), <, z, x, c, v. Total of 15 keys easily reachable, 17 if you include t and g. From ESDF, you can reasily reach all of the following keys: (|), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, q, w, r, t, (y), a, g, (h), <, z, x, c, v, b. Total of 18 keys easily reachable, and 21 if you include the fairly easy to reach ones. That means another 3-4 abilities easily within reach. For a game like WoW where each class has some 40+ keys (including stuff common for all, such as follow), that can be extremely valuable. The second, minor benefit is that it is slightly easier to find the position on the keyboard if you keep in mind that your right-movement finger is on F, which always has a slight bump or some other ways of tactile detection on all keyboards. I hope that made sense.

Multiple usage of a key with shift and ctrl

You can map multiple abilities to the same key. For example, Q can have one ability, Ctrl-Q can have another, Shift-Q can have a third. I recommend not using Alt-Q or any other alt-modification key-binding, as alt is terribly place for ease of reach during a hectic battle. In addition, should you happen to hit alt-tab, you've just accidently tabbed out of WoW (in Windows, that is).

With that said, I sometimes use Alt-Q (or something similar) for macroing abilities that need to be cast are to be cast on my focus target.

Macros, macros, macros

Macros 101

There are two ways to get multiple key-bindings on the same key. One is to bind three different "slots" to for example Q, ctrl-Q and shift-Q, and then drop each ability into one slot.

The other is to macro them, and put the macro into the slot Q. Bring up the macro interface by typing /macro in the chat area. Create a new macro. Call it whatever you want, and use the question mark (?) as icon.

The following macro is an example, using three mage abilities, but you can replace them with whatever you want.

/cast [mod:shift] Frostbolt; [mod:ctrl] Frostfire Bolt; Fireball

Now drop the icon into a slot, and close the macro interface. The icon should be for Fireball when you don't press anything on the keyboard. If you now hold [ctrl], the icon should change to Frostfire Bolt. Finally, if you hold [shift], the icon should change to Frostbolt.

Now you can either hold [shift] and click the icon with your mouse to cast frostbolt, or you can hold [shift] and push the key bind for the slot you've dropped the ability into, for example Q. WARNING: If you have bound another slot to Shift-Q (or whichever key you're using), hitting [shift]-Q will activate that slot, not the one you've assigned to Q. Same with ctrl-Q. You need to unbind any slots you have with ctrl- and shift-keys for these types of macros to work.

Short explanation of the macro: The first line (#showtooltip) will tell the icon to change depending on which ability is triggered in the macro. Without it, the icon will be static. The macro will still work, but not the icon. It only works if you've chosen the question mark (?) as an icon for the macro.

The next line of the macro says something like this: If Shift is pressed ([mod:shift]), use Frostbolt. If shift is not pressed, but ctrl is pressed ([mod:ctrl]), use Frostfire Bolt. If neither ctrl nor shift is pressed, use Fireball.

Macros 102

A macro is always evaluated in order, meaning the first trigger to happen will be used. I'll give an example. Say you want to add something to the macro. If a friend is targetted, you want to cast Arcane Intellect instead. You can add that to a macro by typing "[help] Arcane Intellect". The [help] means that it only triggers if you have a target you can help. The opposite is [harm].

Consider the following macro:

/cast [mod:shift] Frostbolt; [mod:ctrl] Frostfire Bolt; Fireball; [help] Arcane Intellect

This macro will work exactly like the one above. It will never allow you to cast Arcane Intellect. Why? The [help] condition comes after Fireball, which does not have any conditions at all. You effectively say "Always cast fireball if nothing else is triggered before that".

The next version of the macro:

/cast [mod:shift] Frostbolt; [mod:ctrl] Frostfire Bolt; [help] Arcane Intellect; Fireball

This time, it will evaluate the condition "can I help the target" before it attempts to cast fireball if nothing else fails, but after it checks if ctrl and/or shift are pressed. That means: If you press ctrl or shift, even if you have a friendly target selected, it will attempt to cast frostbolt or frostfire bolt, hopefully producing an error message. (If not, go buckwild blasting your friends to death!)

The last version of the macro looks like this:

/cast [help] Arcane Intellect; [mod:shift] Frostbolt; [mod:ctrl] Frostfire Bolt; Fireball

This target will check if the target is friendly first, before testing if you've pressed shift and/or control.

Note that there is (usually) no right or wrong concerning these macros. They are only correct or not in the sense that they do what you what them to do. Either of the last two might fulfill your needs if you want to create a macro for all four spells.

Macros 1042

Now we arrive at some slightly advanced macros. This one is specifically aimed at healers. I'll present the way I use now. I'll start by presenting a macro, from my druid arsenal.

/cast [mod:shift, @player] [mod:ctrl, @focus] [@mouseover, help] [help] Regrowth; Wrath

Now, this is what it'll do.
  1. If shift is pressed, cast Regrowth on myself
  2. Else, if ctrl is pressed, cast Regrowth on my focus target. I could easily add that it should only cast on my macro target if it exists and is alive, but I want it to fail it isn't.
  3. Else, if I have my mouse over a target that can be helped (either on a unit frame, raid frame, Grid or on the actual character), cast Regrowth on that target
  4. Else, if I am targetting something friendly, cast Regrowth on it.
  5. Else, cast Wrath.

Using a macro like this, I don't need an addon like Clique. I just move my mouse to the target in the raid I want to heal and hit the button I've assigned to this macro, R in my case.

When healing in raids, I focus the main tank and target off-tank (and I have sticky targeting enabled in the interface options). When healing the main-tank, I hit Ctrl-R. When healing the off-tank, I hit R. When healing any other target, I move my mouse to the target on my grid addon (but it also works on the core raid frames) and hit R. If I need to heal myself, I hit Shift-R.

The reason I choose to focus the main tank rather than targeting it, is that there's a risk my mouse happen to be over any friendly target when I'm casting R and trying to heal the off-tank. If that happens, the heal will go on the mouseovered target instead. With practice, it rarely happens at all, but if it does, I don't want to get the main tank killed over such a mistake.

Macros 10-gazilliion

There is also a lot of other fun stuff you can do with macros, but I'm really derailing from my intended topic here. Check out a macro-guide if you're interested.

Principles for key bindings

O----kay. That was a lengthy introduction to what I was really writing about. Key bindings.

Here are my own rules.

Never change key bindings across specs

Any core ability which all specs have should always be on the same key. That also applies for talents which all specs take, such as Inner Focus for priests (well, up to Cataclysm, then only Disc priests will have it).

Healer, heal thyself

For any key that contains a targeted heal, which means 90% of them, macro it to heal myself with Shift pressed. It doesn't apply to non-targeted heals such as Holy Nova.

Main rotation on QWRT

The most commonly used abilities for any spec should be on W, R, which are the easiest reachable of any keys, possible not including A and space. The next should be on Q and T. After that I'll use 3 first, then 2 and 4.

For casters, I try to place cast-time spells on QWR and possibly T, and instant spells on 1-6. For healers, I always macro together all heals with harmful spells, depending on the target, like I've listed in the macro section above.

Abilities that need to be refreshed or are exclusive on A

For my shaman I have Water Shield on A and lighting shield on ctrl-A (no idea why I chose ctrl-A over shift-A). For my priest, I'll have Inner Fire and Inner Will on A, easy to switch. For my warrior, I'll have Commanding Shout and Battle Shout there. For my DK, I have Horn of Winter on A, actually macroed so that it will attempt to raise my pet if it's not already up in Unholy spec and then cast Horn of Winter.

If a class/spec have no such abilities, I just bind it to some ability that seem handy.

Emergency ability on H

Slightly tinted towards PVP. This includes Psychic Scream for a priest, Barkskin / Nature's Grasp for a druid, Stoneclaw Totem (glyphed) for a shaman, Divine Shield / Divine Protection for a paladin, Icebound Fortitude for a DK and Shield Wall (in defensive stance, else Retaliation/Recklessness) for a warrior.

Reactive abilities at G

Abilities that need to be cast to prevent something from affecting myself from an enemy (usually in PVP). Grounding totem for a shaman, Spell Reflect for a warrior, Anti-Magic Shell for a DK, Dispersion for a shadow priest, recast form for a druid (breaking snares and polymorph).

Spell interrupts at 4

Shield Bash / Pummel for a warrior, Wind Shear for a shaman, Skull Bash (in cata) for druid, Rebuke (in cata) for retribution pally, Avenger's Shield (since it silences) for a protection pally, Silence for shadow priest, Mind Freeze for a DK.

I also bind stuns and secondary silences on ctrl-4, such as Hammer of Justice (pally), Bash (feral druid) and Strangulate (DK).

Stances on ZXCVB

In the case of druids and warriors.

Taunts at 6

Taunt, Growl, Hand of Reckoning and Dark Command. On Shift-6: Challenging Shout, Challenging Roar, Righteous Defense and Death Grip (since it also taunts). Actually, I've macroed so that hovering the mouse on a friend as a pally will cast Righteous defense without shift as well.

Focus target on <

I'm not sure I'm too happy with this keybinding, but it has been there for so long... A macro that will focus the target if no focus exists, select the focus if a focus exists, and clear the focus if the target is dead. If ctrl is pressed, force re-focus even if the old focus still exists and is alive.

I don't have the macro here, but it was slightly complicated, so I dare not attempt to reproduce it here without testing it first. If you really want it, let me know in the comment, and I'll dig it up.

Talented abilities

I macro in a way that lets the same key be used for different abilities depending on which spec I'm currently in. For example: I'll use the same button for Shield Slam / Mortal Strike / Bloodthirst for my warrior, depending on what spec I'm in.

Unfortunately, not all specs have the same number of talented moves, so I'll just make do on the odd abilities that remain.

Multi-binding on the same key

For any ability that can not be cast on a friendly target, I macro another ability on the shift-version of the same key. I always try to stuff cooldown-abilities on the non-modifier version of these macros, so that I can see the cooldown on the icon without hitting shift. For example, for cataclysm I'll have macroed Judgement / Exorcism to the same button. Judgement has a cooldown, Exorcism has none.

In the cases where I have several cooldown-abilities I need to bind to the same button, I'll use the least most likely without shift or ctrl pressed.

Abilities across stances

I try to group ablities on the same button that are exclusive to a given stance (warrior or druid) and that makes sense together. For example: I've macroed Thunder Clap and Whirlwind to the same button. Thunder Clap can only be used in Battle or Defensive Stance. Whirlwind can only be used in Berserker stance. Both are AoE abilities, and thus have a logical connection.

Heals sorted by casttime

All healers in Cataclysm will have one cheap heal (Heal, Nourish, Healing Wave, Holy Light), one big heal (Greater Heal, Healing Touch, Greater Healing Wave, Divine Light) and one fast heal (Flash Heal, Regrowth, Healing Surge, Flash of Light). I place the big heals on Q, the cheap heals on W and the fast heals on R.

I use T for an instant heal, slightly depending on class. For disc priests, I use Penance (well, sort of instant. At least the first tick hits instantly). For holy priests I'll use Holy Word: Chastice there in Cataclysm, since it morphs into a healing spell in a chakra state. (Haven't been holy for the entire Wrath...)

For druids, I've used Nature's Swiftness + Healing Touch there up until recently, but will most likely change it to Swiftmend. For shamans, recently Nature's Switness + Grater Healing Wave, but in cataclysm Unleash Elements, common for all specs. For paladins, I've placed the new Word of Glory there for cataclysm, common to all specs.

Damage spells sorted by casttime, too

I group damage spells on the same principle as the cast-time spells, placing the highest cast-time (and usually highest dps) on Q, and then advancing through W and R. With some exceptions where I can't find fitting abilties. Paladins, for example, have only one cast-time damage spell, Exorcism.

Be flexible

Even with the best logic in the world, I often find that there's something not fully working during levelling. When I do, I spend some time to try to come up with a better solution, often switching several key bindings around.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

Each class have some utility abilities that's mostly there for convenience... but a lot of convenience. The kind of abilities I miss when I'm not playing said class. I've listed my personal favorites for my high-level characters.

Death Knight

Path of Frost is awesome for doing fishing. It's so much easier to avoid aggro (in most areas) and hit the fish schools when standing on water instead of standing knee-high in it.

When doing dailies, I also love On a Pale Horse.


Dash is great to have when you have to enter buildings for any reason. Long enough duration and short enough cooldown to be handy for a lot of purposes.

Herbing while flying is also very handy. In BGs, the ability to track humanoids is great whenever you're on defense.


For the same reasons as a DK, Crusader Aura is completely awesome.

It's stretching it to call Divine Shield a utility spell. However, it's great for just dropping your flying mount mid-air with no risk of dying.


Levitate combines the no-damage-from-falling property of Divine Shield and Path of Frost. Too bad it has so short duration, I need to recast it at every fish of school.

I've also made great use of Mind Vision at times, such as spying out the flag carrier in WSG before you could see it on the radar, and look for rares in instances. It doesn't get much use these days, though.


Astral Recall, combined with the ordinary hearthstone, is great when you want to sell your services, dropping by the auction house, doing dailies and you name it, without the risk of getting stuck in Orgrimmar until your hearthstone's off cooldown.

Water Walking is almost the same spell as Path of Frost, with one annoying exception: You can't cast it while mounted. Why not? Come on, Blizz!


The one thing I really envy mages are their portals... well, okay, not the only thing. Invisibility too comes to my mind among utility spells.

Otherwise, I imagine the full tracking of a hunter would be handy. I also envy Shadowstep some times.

... What do warriors have, anyway?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Soon, the point of no return...

4.0 (actually 4.0.1) is on the test realm. That translates to it hitting live servers soon. I'm really looking forward to it, although there's a few things I'll miss.

I'm not a fan of whining and complaining about changes. I believe that Blizzard does what they think is best for the game, even if that includes nerfing the class I currently play. When I stop believing that, I'll probably stop playing the game. However, so far it has worked out fine. Thus, I consider all change "good" in the broad sense that they'll over time make the game better and better.

I'd just like to list what I look forward to. I think it'll be fun looking back at it in a half year's time.

I look forward to practically every overhauled talent tree. It's just exciting to see the new possibilities and combinations, and test out various new or overhauled talents. Some specific highlights.

Before we start, I just got to say I really love that Mortal Strike and the similar abilities no longer halve healing, but reduce it by 25%. It'll be balanced in the end, but I think I like the balance that I can heal a bit more consistently no matter what enemy I'm facing.


First and foremost, the dedicated Blood tanking tree for DKs. I'm going to test something like this for tanking. I'll also test a modified version, for example this, for PVP as blood.

The other two DK trees look... fair enough. Good thing they're overhauled, but no super-changes I'm all wired up about.


Generally, I'm looking forward to the overhauled Thorns. I hope it'll be castable on yourself while tanking.

Bothersome Bear Boredom

The first two steps towards more entertaining tanking for bears: Pulverize and Skull Bash. Thrash is obtained at 81. Going to a bear-tanking spec like this for tanking.

Coming out of the closet... or bark

Druid healing without tree form, yay! Unlike a lot of other druids, I'm super-excited about it. This is how I PVP as a resto druid already. The resto tree is so full of awesome that I'm having a very hard time figuring out what to spec. Most likely a case of repeated respecs. I'll probably try a PVP-oriented build first, and see how well it works for PVE as well.

Just let me see if I got this correctly: Fury of Stormrage reduces the mana cost of Wrath by 100% at all times? So I can chain-gun wraths like there's no tomorrow, if noone is in need of healing? Oh, I'm so excited that I just can't hide it!

Ability to remove magic, fantastic!

The new spell costs will take some time getting my head bent around. The speedy healer, Regrowth, and the big healer, Healing Touch, costs almost the exact amount of mana. Meanwhile, Nourish, which heals for about the same as Regrowth, costs only a fifth as much mana. Hm. Interesting.

However, with talents, Regrowth is an almost guaranteed crit for 150% healing (an additional 60% + 4% from talents), and then provides both a Living Seed for an additional 30% of the critted amount, meaning about 45% of the normal amount, and a bed of pretty flowers under your feet for another 30% of the critted amount, or 45% of the normal amount. So assuming it crits, which it will do often, it can potentially heal for 240% on the main target plus a heal over time, and 45% of everyone else who happen to be standing in it. Given at least three targets in the zone, its approaching the efficiency of Nourish.

Finally, I'm all excited about the new Tree of Life, now on a cooldown. All the enhanced spells... so much fun.

Sailor Moon... kin!

I'm not going to test it straight away, but I am looking forward to the balance changes as well. Ranged knockdown and spell interrupt, great! I'm just not as excited as the other trees.


I've never had a hunter before, but I'll probably make a Worgen one. Both to test out the starting area and story, and the class itself. It's rather low priority, though.


I have a low-level mage, which I'm intending to pick up just to test the various new mage specs. Pretty low priority as well, though.


So many great changes here. I'll definitely test them out, to see if paladins may actually suit me now. It'd be great to have a single character that can both tank and heal, and so far I've found paladins lacking due to general boredom.

The new resource system, holy power, looks really neat. Now, finally paladins will have to make some choices about how to use their resources as opposed to earlier (where holy paladins spammed a single spell, tanks just used a rotation, and retribution paladins just mashed whatever button came off cooldown first). Not just what to spend it on, but whether to spend it at one, two or three charges of holy power.

Tanking without a rotation, oh, how I look forward to that. Dps with a more depth than just cooldown-mashing, great. AoE healing and more choices while healing. Without even testing it, I am 100% sure that this is a great step in the right direction for paladins.

Interestingly enough, paladins can now (finally?) chain-cast a dps spell, Exorcism.


(That was intentionally misspelled, by the way)

Lots of neat stuff here. However, priests where already a pretty well-rounded class, so I look at the changes are more of rounding off an already great class, with a few exceptions.

The ability to heal by damaging enemies looks interesting, particularly when combined with a stacking buff and an mana restoring and healing increasing effect. I really wonder how it'll work out. At least healing in 5-mans needn't be boring when you're overgearing the place.

The priestly version of Anti-magic Zone looks neat, not least because it reduces all damage and not just spells. Pretty much superior to AMZ, in fact.

Blizzard is trying to make Holy priests viable for PVP now. Or, more viable, this is probably their third attempt or something. Chastise is back. I never got a chance to test it while it was a racial spell.

Chakra looks like it could be real fun, particularly with Chastise morphing to other spells while chackra'ed. By the way, I can't stop thinking of Naruto each time I hear the word Chakra.

The shadow tree looks polished and neat, but apart from the Shadow Orbs doesn't strike me as anything really new. However, it worked well before, it'll probably work slightly better now.


(This, too, was intentionally misspelled)

I've got three RL friends who play rogues, so I keep an eye on the changes here so I can discuss it with them. However, I don't have a rogue, I've never had a rogue, and I'm not even remotely planning on getting one myself.

It does, however, look to me that rogues will be completely and utterly overpowered until the health pools increase. Bypass 50% armor for 10 sec after an opener? Probably a bit broken in combination with the health pools and dps of level 80 characters.

Ehm... lightning-huggers?

Sadly, I don't know any pun on shammies.

I think the changes here will be great. However, I'm not sure how I feel about the class. I do have a 80 which I've had a lot of fun with, and I will probably level her at some point, not least since Jewelcrafting is a great profession for all my characters.

However... I'm not sure I want to spend too much time as a shammy anymore. With that said, if the changes are good enough, I might. In particular, Elemental and Enhancement never agreed too well with me. Resto was good. I'm certainly going to test out the new talents and stuff.

Interestingly enough, I look forward to buffs getting lowered. Shamans had, in my opinion, too many buffs, and they're balanced around having all those buffs. Now that the buffs aren't quite so powerful, they'll need to be balanced around that, which means that they'll be more powerful when buffs are present... translate that to most PVP action.

For Resto, I'm in particular excited about the ability to remove magic, restore mana by casting lightning bolt, improving healing by shocking and 15% improved speed at all times.

I'm wondering if they have or will change Mana Tide Totem. I did read that they intended to change it, but can't see it anywhere. In PVP it's way less effective than every other mana-restoration ability for healers.

I'm still not sure I'll be a great fan of Elemental. I'm not sure how well Earthquake will work. Time will tell how well it'll work.


I've got my level 34 alliance lock which I stopped levelling about two weeks ago. Will test out stuff with her. Honestly, the changes look really great, particularly after annoying myself to death with the old soul shard mechanic... lack of bag space, anyone?

As a low level lock, I'm also excited about getting the specialization spells now instead of having to wait until level 60.

Meat shields

I do have a warrior, retired a loooong time ago at level 34. ... how come I abondon several classes at that level?

However, come Cata, and I intend to make a goblin warrior. Since I don't have too much experience, I can't really tell what changes are good and what's not. But it looks quite interesting.

... and that's not all, folks

I'm also looking forward to the non-class specific changes. Too many to list here, but the spell alerts look particularly good.

Until 4.0, I've decided to get Crusader on my DK, to get the "bank access anywhere on a cooldown" thing. Lacking 5 days of dailies. You may also call me sir-fish-a-lot. So far, some 1200 fish and no turtle.

There's one thing I'll miss, though... the ability to tank as an Unholy DK... but oh well, can't have it all.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Preparing for Cataclysm

I'm spending my time preparing for Cataclysm these days. I did join for a weekly pug once and some random dungeons, but only with the goal in mind to have fun with the group there and then, and that was it.

I'm preparing for my baby goblin warrior. Prepared so far:

  • 4 20-slot bags
  • 4 16-slot bags
  • lots of gold (easily prepared)
  • heirloom mail chest and shoulders, for the pre-40 levels. +4 all stats on chest.
  • heirloom plate chest and shoulders, for the post-40 levels. Actually, shoulders twice, since I've gotten both the PVP ones and the PVE ones. +4 all stats on chest.
  • heirloom haste trinket
  • heirloom PVP trinket
  • heirloom 2-h axe with Crusader
  • heirloom 1-h sword (main-hand) with crusader
  • heirloom 1-h PVP sword (off-hand) with lifestealing
  • heirloom bow... just for the extra stats
  • Prepared a heapload of buff food for levelling. See below.
For the rest of my characters, I've fished up Weather-beaten journal to get fish finding skill my druid, shaman, DK and priest. I've also gotten the turtle on my priest. I don't bother on my druid (glyphed aquatic form), but I'd like it on my DK. So far, 800 fish and no turtle there.

I've also skilled up cooking for all to 450. Easy with all the fish I've caught.

What remains? 
  • Attempt to win the Kalu'ak fishing contest for the heirloom ring
  • Fish up a turtle
  • Figure what else to spend my time on.
PS: Bonus point to whoever can figure out how many badges I've spent on heirloom stuff.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Looking for GOOD dps

After I decided to pick up my priest again, I've spent some time gearing her up. It was fairly easy, actually, up to a certain point. I got two ilvl 264 PVP items, bought PVE gear with emblembs and got a lot of drops from the new instances.

However, it stopped in Halls of Reflection. Let me tell you a secret of mine. I love the place! No, really. It was the only instance that gave me a consistent challenge when I was tanking.

It is quite entertaining to heal too, actually. But Blizzard really did their job here, the instance requires that all the roles perform good. A tank that can both keep aggro on all targets and survive a few seconds of no healing, a healer that can keep everyone more or less alive, and dps that can pull on average 3k dps or so. In addition, you need to prioritize the targets and preferably crowd control too. There's a reason that the instance has a gear requirement before joining in the queue...

When I dinged 80 with my priest, I could pull about 2k dps on bosses. Hyperspeed Accelerators and Berserking were a big part of that, of course. I don't remember every character, but I believe all of them broke 1.5k dps before they dinged 80, given a dps spec.

I've attempted HoR 8 times now, with numerous wipes and a lot of waiting time for people to join after other have left. Six of those times were due to bad tanks. One in particular was extremely well-geared, but spent all his time in melee with two mobs, ignoring the rest. Another just plainly refused to even try, despite being well-geared. One was very polite and skilled, but just not tough enough for the job. I don't recall the rest exactly.

But... two times I've gotten good tanks. Not just good, but great. The tanks that every healer dream of queuing up with. Controls the groups, leaves the crowd-controlled mob alone, are patient and just as an added bonus interrupts spell casts on the mobs or spell reflect them.

What happened those two times? We had to give up because of too low dps. I remember in particular a rogue that averaged 1.2k dps. Because of the low group dps, we couldn't take down one wave at the start before the next spawned. We wiped when I ran out of mana. I'm not geared to chain-cast heals through all the waves without any drinking in between. And then he had the nerve to blame me for the wipe. Yes, technically it was my mana running out. However, I have no mana trouble when running the instance as intended, even healing three waves without drinking. I let him know what I thought about it.

I also recall a hunter who could pull some 2.5k dps... not too shabby, but completely ignored all my pleas for leaving the CC'ed mob alone. "Lol, this isn't ICC," he let me know.

If I'm ever going to lead a raiding group, I'd base my invitations on how a given person handled an instance such as this. Even if you overgear it, your playstyle tells me a lot about what kind of person you are in a raid group. Of course, everyone would play nice with a raid leader watching, so I'd somehow had to do it without them knowing I was watching, like having them join me with an alt they didn't know of or something.

So... now I've given up gearing up my priest anymore. I don't see much point in wading through all those frustrations when I don't have to. It's my spare time, and I'm going to take responsibility for it by not wasting too much on it on such frustrations. Instead, I've started preparing for Cataclysm.