Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My nightmare worsens

Earlier, with the release of patch 3.2, I wrote a blog on how gear scores and emblems had soiled the WoW experience for me a bit. Not only did blizzard make gearing too easy, but they made it a competition. I've since sworn off caring about wow-heroes, recount lists and emblem farming, and have tried to focus on enjoying guild progression (epic fails or not). For a while, life was good.

However, (there's always a 'but') as the title of this blog indicates, the simple joys of WoW-hood are becoming harder and harder to hold on to. The latest craze among WoWers is the uber annoying and ultra-snobby "gearscore" addon. It's intention, to make PuGing raids easier and more efficient. It's actual affect, raising noses of elitist jerks to an all time high.

It's hard to say which is worse, toons in a raid bragging about their dps... even though they died from standing in fire, or toons in a raid bragging about their gear score... even though they died from standing in fire. Either way, both leave the bulk of the heavy lifting to the "lesser" toons. You know, the ones who don't raid with their recount window open so they can see what they're standing in and stop dpsing long enough to move out of it? Yeah, those toons.

I know it's clear to everyone that gear score does not guarantee skill. I don't have to share stories of "under geared" toons out dpsing, out healing, out tanking, out lasting, or out classing their uber geared counterparts to convince you of that fact, because I know you've all witnessed it yourselves. Instead I'll sit here, biting my tongue, earnestly hoping you don't allow yourselves to get caught up in the pointless WoW addons that cause me so much annoyance.

If you care enough about playing your character well (and I'm certain you do if you're reading blogs on your class) then don't preoccupy yourself with the numbers of this game. If you spend as much time learning the fights as those "other" toons spend farming daily heroics, then gear won't matter. You'll always be in the right place at the right time, and that's something you can't measure with an addon.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Healing on the run: Twin Val'kyr

Twin Val'kyr - Fjola Lightbane / Edyis Darkbane

Where to stand:

Where you stand during this fight will depend on your healing assignment. If you're healing a tank, you will want to position yourself on your tank's side of the room near an essence portal holding the opposite color of your current essence (so that you can change our essence quickly without having to move too far). If you're raid healing, position yourself in the center of the room as close to an essence portal as possible while keeping everyone in range.

Also, use command: "/console cameraDistanceMaxFactor 4" before you begin this fight. This will allow you to zoom out your camera further than normal (which helps a great deal in this fight)

What to watch for:

Dark/Light Vortex! - Throughout the fight the Twins will cast a few special abilities. The one everyone in the raid must watch out for is the Dark or Light Vortex. The vortex is a huge AoE that does 5-6k dps on every player with the opposite color essence for 5 seconds (8-9k on 25 man). Your deadly boss mod (and hopefully your tank) should tell you when this is about to be cast and what color essence you should have. If you have a light essence and the light vortex is cast, you can just stand and heal (keeping your eyes peeled for any raid members who were late changing their essence). If, however, you have a dark essence while the light vortex is being cast, stop what you're doing and run to a light portal immediately. (Trust me, the worst kind of healer is a dead healer.) The same is true for the dark vortex. Just make sure you have a dark essence when it's cast, then go about your business of healing.

Concentrated orbs! - During the fight, light and dark orbs will be flying around the room. Orbs of the same color will give you a dps buff (which you obviously don't need as a healer), orbs of the opposite color will cause you a fair amount of damage (which you obviously want to avoid). First and foremost, you want to zoom your camera out as far as possible so that you'll have plenty of warning when a bad orb is coming your way. Secondly, a captured orb will do a small AoE which can still hurt you if you're standing too close to someone who grabs an orb of the opposite color. Do your best to not stack on anyone with an opposite color essence. Thirdly, do not go out of your way to collect orbs of the same color. Your dps will be trying to collect enough orbs to trigger the "empowered" buff and they'll be none too happy if you're running around making things harder on them. Stand your ground as much as possible in this fight, and only move as far as you must to avoid an orb.

Surge of darkness/surge of light. - As soon as this fight begins, you'll notice everyone's health slowly ticking down. This is due to the Twin's surge ability. Take some time to HoT up your raid members because your tanks won't be needing too many heals at the onset.

Damage spikes. - The only real damage spikes your tanks will be taking will come via opposite color orbs, and you'll be able to heal through two or three of those without much trouble. The twins don't hit hard on their own, so if you're tank healing do be afraid to lend a hand with raid heals.

Twin's Pact. - This special ability means everything to dps and means nothing to you as a healer. Basically all dps will need to burn down a shield on one of the twins so that this ability can be interrupted or else the Twins will be healed for a substantial amount of health. Your raid leader may call out for everyone to change their essence, but really only dps need to make the change. You can just stand your ground and heal, as your essence doesn't affect this ability in the least.

Should I freak?

No way, Jose. Spacial awareness is key in this fight, and seeing as you've graduated from Naxx and Ulduar to ToC, watching where you stand should be like second nature to you. Stand, heal, be prepared for the Twin's one big ability (vortex) and this fight will be a cake walk.