Tag Archives: valor

A Bad Raider

What makes someone a good raider?

There is a lot that goes into it. There’s performance – using the right spells at the right time, not standing in bad, doing well on meters, having good reaction time. There’s preparation – knowing the boss fights ahead of time, having proper enchants and consumables, having the best gear possible. There’s personality, which may be more of a concern to some people than others – people who are pleasant to be in a raid/on Mumble with generally make for a better raiding experience, and people who can constructively problem solve when things go wrong are appreciated.

There has been a lot of discussion through this expansion about how much should be expected of raiders. There was the debate about effort vs. reward for 300 stat food. There has been debate on the requirement of doing LFR. There’s been debate about dailies, rep grinds and valor capping.

Today I read a post by my friend Stormy, who was talking about how annoyed he was by the continual daily and rep grinds. Here’s the quote that inspired my post (which is specifically addressing mandatory faction grinds) :

If you’re in a raiding guild and you’re not doing the most you can to maximize your gear, enchants, valor points, etc., you are not pulling your weight. You can call them “optional” all you want, but if you’re a raider and you’re not doing them, you’re bad and you should feel bad.

(Note: This actually wasn’t the main point of his post, and my quoting it is not an invitation for you to go tell him he’s wrong if you disagree).

Confession time!

Dailies and rep have not been a priority for me this expansion. I just got exalted with Shadow Pan this week. I’ve only been exalted with Golden Lotus for a few weeks, and I’m not even Revered with August Celestials yet. Operation Shieldwall? I think I just hit honored. The first two reps I got exalted with were Tillers and Cloud Serpents, the two factions that give me nothing to assist me in raiding, but whose dailies I found the most fun. And this from someone who considers themselves, above all, a raider.

Maybe this makes me bad, but honestly, I don’t feel bad at all. In fact, not burning myself out doing things I consider chores in a game that’s supposed to entertain me makes me feel pretty good.

I do think personal experience (and luck) had something to do with my apathy towards dailies. Sha and Garalon were very good to me. So were raid bosses. A week or two into raiding I think I had 2 pieces of gear that could be upgraded by rep rewards. For those two pieces I would rather wait and hope for boss drops than spend an hour (likely more since I’m a healer who is terrible at killing quest mobs) every day for a few weeks doing something I didn’t enjoy. I also have a bit of a mental block about buying gear – I want to tear my spoils from the claws of an enemy I’ve vanquished, not purchase them from a cuddly panda vendor. But that’s another story.

So I return to the original question. What makes a good raider?

To me, gear is the last thing on the list of what makes a good raider – within reason of course, someone in greens would not likely be of much help to their raid team on heroic boss progression – and the thing I’m least concerned about (not unconcerned, just least concerned).

The performance someone puts into the actual raid is what I consider most important. I try to stand in as few fires as I can, I try to keep everyone alive, and when I heal a raid I strive to make everyone else’s job easier. The best gear in the world isn’t going to help me if I have no skill. Of course I’m not perfect – sometimes I heal x when I should heal y, or I stand in front of Garalon’s swipe because I’m trying to be in range of the kiter and the rest of the raid so I can heal all the things. I think my energy is better spent trying to improve on those things than a piece or two of gear.

If I ever felt that I (or my raid) was being held back by this view, I would change my tune. But I think I’m doing just fine (truth? a symptom of me suffering from high self esteem? who knows!) I’m pretty sure no one in my raid has ever thought to themselves (or said to me) “Gee, I wish Jasyla had better gear, she needs all the help she can get.”

The fact is, there are only so many hours in the day. And despite much evidence to the contrary, WoW is not a job (at least not until someone starts paying me). I put a lot of time and effort into this game. I raid 9 hours a week, I’m GM of a guild, I’m a healing lead, I write raider reviews, I do log dives of my own performance, I interview potential recruits, I do guild bank stuff, I spend a lot of time trying to optimize my healing, I write guides on this blog that I hope are helpful to other players… Plus, sometimes I like to just play and do things in game that have nothing to do with raid prep or guild management. 

Some people can do it all, but for others, the question of effort vs. reward arises.

I have a choice (really, it is a choice). I can cram dailies and valor capping – things I do not enjoy – into my schedule and slowly but surely become burnt out and start hating the game. Or I can just not do them if I don’t feel like it. I can accept that being 2 ilvls lower than I could be or getting the extra socket in my Sha-Touched weapon 2 weeks later that most is an acceptable trade-off for maintaining my sanity and desire to play. I also suspect people perform better when they actually want to be in a raid than they do when they’re sick of the game. Seems like a pretty easy decision to me.

Does this make me a bad raider? Well, maybe. But I’m cool with that.

Undaunted

One of the things I’m most enjoying in Mists of Pandaria, besides the excellent new raid content, is Challenge Modes. CMs solve the problem of dungeons becoming boring. Heroic dungeons start off a bit tough when you’re doing them in greens, but put on a few pieces of raid gear and the difficulty becomes laughable. In CMs, all your gear is scaled down to ilvl 463, so the only things that makes them easier are practice and skill.

The Bronze level of Challenge Modes are pretty accessible. I found most of them were easily achievable on the first run through. You can wipe a few times and still be well within the time limit. Silvers are a large step up in difficult as they generally have about half the time requirement as bronzes. This is where you need to step up your game – trash needs to be chain pulled, healers have very little time to drink and while you may be able to recover from one wipe, it’ll be tough. Golds are very challenging (as they should be). You basically need to pull as much trash as you can at once, you need to find a way to skip any trash you don’t need and your group’s dps needs to be as high as possible. Be prepared to run the dungeons over and over, resetting any time something goes wrong.

Generally, the trash packs are the most challenging part of the dungeons. Bosses do hit much harder than in the heroic mode dungeons, but it’s the trash that’s going to be the thing that kills you more often than not. Cleaves will kill your melee, a wrong step or being a second late on a cooldown will result in your tank being globalled by the 12 mobs attacking them.

My regular Challenge Mode group consists of a Blood DK tank, Rogue, Mage, Ele Shaman and me (Resto Druid). I think Druids are a great asset to any challenge mode team and I love how CMs force me to think critically about my talents and abilities. I get to use many abilities that are often ignored in other situations.

Since the trash is usually the most difficult part of the dungeon, especially when you’re pulling multiple packs at a time, the more cc available to your group the better. Once trash is rounded up we try to make sure they are incapacitated for as long as possible. Abilities we chain together include Ring of Frost, Remorseless Winter and Capacitor Totem. Our rogue uses Paralytic Poison to keep things stunned as much as possible. As a resto Druid I can help with cc too. I use Disorienting Roar when the stuns are down – it doesn’t work for long since it breaks on damage, but it gives a slight reprieve from damage and interrupts spell casting. I can Typhoon if it will do more good than harm (that’s not always the case). I also put Symbiosis on our Shaman, allowing him to use Solar Beam to further incapacitate casting mobs.

Skipping trash is something that needs to be done in a number of the dungeons in order to save time. There are a few options for this. First there’s Shroud of Concealment. This will work in most situations, you just need enough room to get around the mobs so you don’t aggro them. Sapping the one you’ll be moving closest to can be required. You can also use Potions of Invisibility. These are easier to use as once they go into effect you can run right through mobs without them seeing you. The downside is that they trigger a 10 minute cooldown on potions so it limits your group’s ability to use dps or mana pots. There are also some trash packs which can be aggroed by one player then reset, allowing the rest of your group to run by them.

There are a few other really useful abilities that resto Druids bring to challenge modes. The first is Stampeding Roar. When speed is of the essence, this is great to help your tank aggro multiple packs, make Invisibility pots take you further, or just get from point a to point b faster. Heart of the Wild is also great. When I first started challenge modes I was hesitant to spend much time doing damage because I felt like people would die if I stopped healing them for even a second. However as I got more comfortable, and my group got better with cc, I found there were a number of opportunities for me to do some damage. On trash packs HotW plus Hurricane can do a lot of damage, though channeling instead of healing can be dangerous. I find HotW most useful on bosses where the healing requirements aren’t too high. Just let your tank know to use their own cooldowns, pre-stack Lifebloom, put up Ironbark, pop the ability and go to town. Doing this is especially helpful on fights where phase repeats are based on time, such as the last boss in Temple of the Jade Serpent – if you can prevent seeing phase 2 more than once you can save a lot of time. Soothe can also be very important when you run into trash mobs or bosses who enrage.

Challenge modes are a lot of fun and I recommend everyone give them a try. They’ll really make you work hard to use every possible advantage available to your class and spec and allow for some creative puzzle solving. They’re also a great source of Valor Points, and much more enjoyable than the alternatives of LFR, random dungeons, or dailies. The rewards for getting all bronzes, silvers or golds are nifty too, and are made even more attractive by the idea that these modes will never be nerfed or outgeared, so they will stay relatively exclusive.

One gold down, 8 to go.

Resto Druid Gear – What to Wear in 4.3

When 4.3 came out I posted a list of all the new gear available in 4.3 (which was just updated yesterday). But what gear should you be aiming for? What do you need from raids and where should you be spending your valor points first?

Normal Mode Dragon Soul

Here’s a good gear set to aim for if you currently have access to normal mode raids:

Helm – Deep Earth Helm (Dragon Soul – Warmaster Blackhorn)
Shoulders – Deep Earth Mantle (Dragon Soul – Hagara)
Chest – Deep Earth Robes (Dragon Soul – Ultraxion)
Wrists – Bracers of Flowing Serenity (crafted)
Hands – Fungus-Born Gloves (Valor vendor)
Waist – Girdle of the Grotesque (Dragon Soul – Hagara)
Legs – Deep Earth Legwraps (Dragon Soul – Yo’sahj)
Feet – Boots of Fungoid Growth (Valor vendor)
Neck – Petrified Fungal Growth (Dragon Soul – Morchok)
Back – Woundlicker Cover (Valor vendor)
Ring 1 – Ring of the Riven (Dragon Soul – Hagara)
Ring 2 – Signet of Suturing (Dragon Soul – random boss drop)
Trinket 1 – Seal of the Seven Signs (Dragon Soul – Warlord Zon’ozz)
Trinket 2 – see note below*
Relic – Lightning Spirit in a Bottle (Valor vendor)
Weapon – Maw of the Dragonlord (Dragon Soul – Madness of Deathwing)
Offhand – Ledger of Revolting Rituals (Dragon Soul – Ultraxion)

*There are a number of options for your 2nd trinket. For those who favour output over regen (like me!), go with Windward Heart (Dragon Soul – random boss drop). If you’re more into regen, go for Heart of the Unliving (Dragon Soul – Spine of Deathwing). It’s a sizable loss of Intellect, but 880 spirit not something to overlook if you’re having mana issues. Alternatively, if you have heroic Jaws of Defeat (Firelands – Majordomo) it’s still a very strong option, providing both a large amount of Intellect and mana savings.

Hard Mode Dragon Soul

Once you start killing heroic Dragon Soul bosses, you’ll want to upgrade all of your valor and crafted gear to the heroic raid gear. Even if the secondary stats on the valor gear look stronger, the extra Intellect that comes from the better ilvl will always be worth it.

Upgrades from the normal mode list:

Wrists – Mycosynth Wristguards (Heroic Morchok)
Hands – Deep Earth Handwraps (Heroic Warlord Zon’ozz)
Feet – Treads of Sordid Screams (Heroic Ultraxion)

Valor Gear

Valor points burning a hole in your pockets? The first upgrade to get is the Woundlicker Cover for 1250 points. It’s really the only cloak option, so you may as well get this one first.

After that, just upgrade your lowest ilvl pieces. Good choices will likely be Boots of Fungoid Growth (1650 points) since the boots in Firelands were poorly itemized or the Lightning Spirit in a Bottle (700 points) if you’re still using one of the ilvl 378 relics.

4.2 Resto Druid Gear

4.2 brings all kinds of new gear for resto druids, available from raids, valor points, rep vendors and some new crafted loot too.

By Item Slot
By Location

I am not including a ‘best in slot’ list in this. I feel best in slot is a mostly meaningless term at this point. Which piece is best depends on what other gear you have, and with reforging most of it is interchangable anyways. When looking at upgrades look at:

  • Does it have more Intellect (which comes with a higher ilvl)? Then it’s likely an upgrade.
  • The only stat we have that is subject to caps or breakpoints is haste. If you are under 2005 haste, look for pieces with haste. If an ilvl upgrade will drop you below 2005 you may want to reconsider it.

The secondary stat priority I will be using for T12 is:
Haste to 2005 > Mastery > Crit > extra Haste

There is enough spirit on gear that I’m not factoring it in to the priority, I’ll just take it as it comes.

Here’s a sample of what my ideal (normal) gear setup would look like: Chardev profile – this would allow for the 4 set bonus and still retain 2005 haste.

*As 4.2 hasn’t released yet, some information may be missing or incorrect. I will update as things are confirmed*


Gear by Item Slot

Head

Item iLevel Location
Obsidian Arborweave Helm (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Ragnaros
Obsidian Arborweave Helm 378 Firelands raid – Ragnaros
Cowl of the Clicking Menace (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Beth’tilac
Cowl of the Clicking Menace 378 Firelands raid – Beth’tilac

Shoulders

Item iLevel Location
Obsidian Arborweave Mantle (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Majordomo Staghelm (HM)
Obsidian Arborweave Mantle 378 Firelands raid – Majordomo Staghelm
Flickering Shoulderpads (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Shannox (HM)
Flickering Shoulderpads 378 Firelands raid – Shannox

Chest

Item iLevel Location
Obsidian Arborweave Robes (heroic) 391 Firelands Raid – Alysrazor (HM)
Obsidian Arborweave Robes 378 Valor points
2200
Incendic Chestguard (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Lord Rhyolith (HM)
Incendic Chestguard 378 Firelands raid – Lord Rhyolith

Wrist

Item iLevel Location
Glowing Wing Bracers (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Baleroc (HM)
Glowing Wing Bracers 378 Firelands raid – Baleroc
Flickering Wristbands (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Alysrazor (HM)
Flickering Wristbands 378 Firelands raid – Alysrazor
Smolderskull Bindings 378 Valor points
1250

Hands

Item iLevel Location
Obsidian Arborweave Handwraps (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Baleroc (HM)
Obsidian Arborweave Handwraps 378
Valor points
1650
Cindersilk Gloves (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Beth’tilac (HM)
Cindersilk Gloves 378 Firelands raid – Beth’tilac
Heavenly Gloves of the Moon 378 Leatherworking

Waist

Item iLevel Location
Firescar Sash 378 Avengers of Hyjal – Honored
Fireplume Girdle 365 Damek Bloombeard – Firelands dailies

Legs

Item iLevel Location
Obsidian Arborweave Legwraps (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Shannox (HM)
Obsidian Arborweave Legwraps 378 Valor points
2200
Firecat Leggings (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Majordomo Staghelm
Firecat Leggings 378 Firelands raid – Majordomo Staghelm

Feet

Item iLevel Location
Phoenix-Down Treads (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Alysrazor (HM)
Phoenix-Down Treads 378 Firelands raid – Alysrazor
Ethereal Footfalls 378 Leatherworking

Neck

Item iLevel Location
Heartstone of Rhyolith (herioc) 391 Firelands raid – Lord Rhyolith (HM)
Heartstone of Rhyolith 378 Firelands raid – Lord Rhyolith
Flowform Choker (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Majordomo Staghelm (HM)
Flowform Choker 378 Firelands raid – Majordomo Staghelm
Firemind Pendant 378 Valor points
1250
Nightweaver’s Amulet 365 Zen’Vorka –
Firelands Dailies

Back

Item iLevel Location
Wings of Flame (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Alysrazor (HM)
Wings of Flame 378 Firelands raid – Alysrazor
Flowing Flamewrath Cape 378 Avengers of Hyjal – Friendly
Mantle of Desire 365 Quest – Elemental Bonds

Finger

Item iLevel Location
Quicksilver Signet of the Avengers 391 Avengers of Hyjal – Exalted
Crystal Prison Band (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Shannox (HM)
Crystal Prison Band 378 Firelands raid – Shannox
Soothing Brimstone Circle 378 Valor points
1250
Spirit Fragment Band 365 Varlan Highbough – Firelands dailies

Trinkets

Item iLevel Location
Eye of Blazing Power (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Alysrazor (HM)
Eye of Blazing Power 378 Firelands raid – Alysrazor
Jaws of Defeat (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Majordomo Staghelm (HM)
Jaws of Defeat 378 Firelands raid – Majordomo Staghelm
Fiery Quintessence 378 Avengers of Hyjal – Revered
Moonwell Chalice 365 Ayla Shadowstorm – Firelands dailies

Relic

Item iLevel Location
Singed Plume of Aviana (heroic) 391 Crystalized Firestone + normalversion
Singed Plume of Aviana 378 Valor points
700
Soulflame Vial (heroic) 391 Crystalized Firestone + normalversion
Soulflame Vial 378 Valor points
700
Relic of Elune’s Light 365 Ayla Shadowstorm – Firelands dailies

Weapon

Item iLevel Location
Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord (heroic) 397 Firelands raid – Ragnaros (HM)
Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord 384 Firelands raid – Ragnaros
Chelley’s Sterilized Scalpel (Heroic)
391 Crystalized Firestone + normalversion
Chelley’s Sterilized Scalpel – 1H Dagger 378 Firelands raid – trash drop
Funeral Pyre (heroic) – 2H Staff 391 Firelands raid – Beth’tilac (HM)
Funeral Pyre – 2H Staff 378 Firelands raid – Beth’tilac
Smoldering Censer of Purity – 2H Staff (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Any boss (HM)
Smoldering Censer of Purity – 2H Staff 378 Firelands raid – Any boss
Lightforged Elementium Hammer 365 Weapon – 1H Mace

Off-hand

Item iLevel Location
Goblet of Anger (heroic) 391 Firelands raid – Shannox (HM)
Goblet of Anger 378 Firelands raid – Shannox
Globe of Moonlight 365 Ayla Shadowstorm – Firelands dailies

Gear by Location

Firelands Raid

Beth’tilac

Item iLevel Slot
Cowl of the Clicking Menace (heroic) 391 Head
Cowl of the Clicking Menace 378 Head
Cindersilk Gloves (heroic) 391 Hands
Cindersilk Gloves 378 Hands
Funeral Pyre (heroic) 391 Weapon – 2H Staff
Funeral Pyre 378 Weapon – 2H Staff

Lord Rhyolith

Item iLevel Slot
Incendic Chestguard (heroic) 391 Chest
Incendic Chestguard 378 Chest
Heartstone of Rhyolith (herioc) 391 Neck
Heartstone of Rhyolith 378 Neck

Alysrazor

Item iLevel Slot
Obsidian Arborweave Robes (heroic) 391 Chest
Phoenix-Down Treads (heroic) 391 Feet
Phoenix-Down Treads 378 Feet
Wings of Flame (heroic) 391 Back
Wings of Flame 378 Back
Flickering Wristbands (heroic) 391 Wrist
Flickering Wristbands 378 Wrist
Eye of Blazing Power (heroic) 391 Trinket
Eye of Blazing Power 391 Trinket

Shannox

Item iLevel Slot
Obsidian Arborweave Legwraps (heroic) 391 Legs
Goblet of Anger (heroic) 391 Off-hand
Goblet of Anger 378 Off-hand
Crystal Prison Band (heroic) 391 Finger
Crystal Prison Band 378 Finger
Flickering Shoulderpads (heroic) 391 Shoulders
Flickering Shoulderpads 378 Shoulders

Baleroc

Item iLevel Slot
Obsidian Arborweave Handwraps (heroic) 391 Hands
Glowing Wing Bracers (heroic) 391 Wrist
Glowing Wing Bracers 378 Wrsit

Majordomo Staghelm

Item iLevel Slot
Obsidian Arborweave Mantle (heroic) 391 Shoulders
Obsidian Arborweave Mantle 378 Shoulders
Flowform Choker (heroic) 391 Neck
Flowform Choker 378 Neck
Firecat Leggings (heroic) 391 Legs
Firecat Leggings 378 Legs
Jaws of Defeat (heroic) 391 Trinket
Jaws of Defeat 378 Trinket

Ragnaros

Item iLevel Slot
Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord (heroic) 397 Weapon – 1H mace
Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord 384 Weapon – 1H mace
Obsidian Arborweave Helm (heroic) 391 Head
Obsidian Arborweave Helm 378 Head

Random Boss Drop

Chance to drop off any boss

Item iLevel Slot
Smoldering Censer of Purity (heroic) 391 Weapon – 2H Staff
Smoldering Censer of Purity 378 Weapon – 2H Staff

Trash Drops

Item iLevel Slot
Chelley’s Sterilized Scalpel 378 Weapon – 1H Dagger

Crystalized Firestone vendor

Crystalized Firestones, which drop from all Firelands heroic bosses can be used to upgrade:

  • Weapons and Relics from the 4.2 Valor point vendor
  • Firelands trash drops
Item iLevel Slot
Chelley’s Sterilized Scalpel 391 Weapon – 1H Dagger
Soulflame Vial 391 Relic
Singed Plume of Aviana 391 Relic

Valor Points

Item iLevel Slot
Obsidian Arborweave Robes 378 Chest
Obsidian Arborweave Handwraps 378
Hands
Obsidian Arborweave Legwraps 378 Legs
Smolderskull Bindings 378 Wrist
Firemind Pendant 378 Neck
Soothing Brimstone Circle 378 Finger
Singed Plume of Aviana 378 Relic
Soulflame Vial 378 Relic

Avengers of Hyjal – Rep Vendor

Avengers of Hyjal rep is gained by killing things in the Firelands raid.

Item iLevel Slot Rep level
Quicksilver Signet of the Avengers 378 Finger Exalted
Fiery Quintessence 378 Trinket Revered
Firescar Sash 378 Waist Honored
Flowing Flamewrath Cape 378 Back Friendly

Mark of the World Tree/Firelands Quests

These vendors are opened up one at a time by doing the new quests in Mount Hyjal. Open up the vendor with the most useful loot first (this will likely be Ayla Shadowstorm).

Item iLevel Slot Vendor
Fireplume Girdle 365 Waist Damek Bloodbeard
Globe of Moonlight 365 Off-hand Ayla Shadowstorm
Moonwell Chalice 365 Trinket Ayla Shadowstorm
Relic of Elune’s Light 365 Relic Ayla Shadowstorm
Spirit Fragment Band 365 Finger Varlan Highbough
Nightweaver’s Amulet 365 Neck Zen’Vorka
Mantle of Desire 365 Back Quest – Elemental Bonds

Leatherworking

Item iLevel Slot
Ethereal Footfalls 378 Feet
Heavenly Gloves of the Moon 378 Hands
Obsidian Arborweave Mantle

Blacksmithing

Item iLevel Slot
Lightforged Elementium Hammer 365 Weapon – 1H Mace