Lunchtime Musings – Battle Pets a go-go

So it was fairly recently that I decided to crawl down the rabbit hole that is World of Warcraft – Battle Pets. Having never played any of the Pokemon (or similar) types of games before I was curious if the rock-paper-scissors mechanics would appeal to me.

After asking some questions on twitter it was suggested to me to work with some fairly robust starter battle pets in order to level them up to 25 and then power level any new pets I might get along the way. Taking their advice I quickly slotted my Murky, Lil’XT and took a quick trip to AQ40 to grab the Anubisath Idol (thankfully on my first try looking for it).  We quickly worked through the low level quests and zones becoming acclimated to the interface and pet abilities/classes. I grew to understand why the Idol and a strong mechanical pet worked well against the multitude of critter/beast wild pets out there. I’ve never been a huge fan of leveling, even alts for that matter, but I found pet battles to be pleasant and low key enough that I could tolerate it well enough. I suppose it helps that I’m watching TV on my computer while I do this in windowed mode. It wasn’t long before I had a team of three level 25 battle pets (with Murky being swapped out for an Emerald Proto Whelp P/P).

Now that I wanted to cultivate a larger roster of leveled pets and take on the Pandaren Spirit Trainers and ultimately Beasts of Fable it was time to get my safari hat! Having 39 out of 40 trainers and having missed the Darkmoon Raven I opted to create an Alliance Worgen character and play it through the starting area. Having never done this before I thought it would be a good idea to experience it for the first time while picking up a Gilnean Raven and battling my last trainer alliance side for the hat. It took a few hours but I was rewarded with everything that I wanted and a new found appreciation for the worgen starting experience!

I decided that I would farm the Pandaren and Spirit Trainers for a short while to get a couple of stones (and VP) before giving the Beasts of Fable a go. After doing a little bit of Pet Collecting here is my battle menagerie currently:

Level 25 combat ready rare quality pets:

Anubisath Idol           Bat

Chrominius           Darkmoon Tonk

Emerald Proto Whelp           Emerald Turtle

Feline Familiar        Gilnean Raven

Kun-Lai Runt         Lil’ XT

Mini Mindslayer          Pandaren Water Spirit

Rabbit         Rapana Whelk

Yellow Moth

Pets in progress towards level 25

Flayer Youngling          Nether Faerie Dragon

Mojo         Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling

Spirit Crab         Disgusting Oozling

Snarly         Sunreaver Micro-Sentry

Zandalari Anklerender      Murky

*Bold pets are my priorities for leveling

With the pets that I do have leveled to 25 I decided it was time to take on the Beasts of Fable. While I know there are people out there that are already farming these guys regularly and I’m MONTHS behind the curve I was still really excited to be able to take them out.

And take them out I did. On my first serious attempt to clear them all, though there were wipes along the way, I managed to get them all done which was really exciting for me. Since i’m not using any extremely rare or hard to find pet I tried to stick to some of the basics for the fights and utilize whatever tricks that I could (such as Life Exchange on a few of them).

While I am no where near ready for PvP Pet Battles, I am still having lots of fun with the system and really must commend Blizzard for implementing such an amusing mini game. If something like this can get someone who logs in almost exclusively for raids such as myself to spend more time in game for a fun alternate method for VP acquisition then I consider that a victory. While it is old hat for many I might create a list of the pets I used for each encounter on here so people might be able to use it as a reference.

On the whole I must say that Pet Battles are indeed fun and inspire us all to be collectors. I will never expect it to be anything more than an amusing mini game but it is rewarding enough to feel like time well spent. This, in my book, is a success.

 

Short Musing – 5.4 Healer Trinkets

I have questions regarding the cooldown-reduction (CDR) trinkets having taken a closer look at them.

If the healer trinket reduces all 3 minute major raid cooldowns by 27 seconds bringing them to roughly 2.5 minutes (2:33), is that something the design team thinks about when working on encounters and balancing them around abilities the raid has at its disposal? I only wonder this because the trinket is clearly powerful but potentially very situational and I wonder if it is similar to how heroic DS boss design had to take into account all tanks having their 4 piece set bonuses.

Right now the Amplify trinket appears to be a clear winner for one of our slots. Raw % throughput (greater than that from an int trinket in the same slot) with a significant secondary stat boost is always welcome. All of this coupled with the intellect proc is amazing for sure and borderline overpowered requiring some tuning. Given the raw power of the amplify ability I can only assume the int proc must be treated as a secondary bonus.

Looking at the next slot the question then becomes: will this 27 second cooldown reduction from the CDR trinket allow me to squeeze one more meaningful tranquility in on this fight or am I slotted into a rotation I must save it for. If an additional tranquility can’t be added, the reduction on Nature’s Swiftness/Ironbark may not be enough to warrant using the trinket unless the trigger intellect has enough uptime to make it a strong primary draw. Without the potential to add a raid saving tranquility to the fight (assuming the fight warrants it) then this trinket concerns me.

That being said, the int proc is still there on both of these trinkets and isn’t something to scoff at

I haven’t seen any quick math on the ICD and uptime on this 11,761 intellect as of yet and I hope someone might have that information handy or if I have missed it earlier somewhere please direct me there. I need to know how spiky/reliable it is. If it has a relatively reasonable uptime then it could compete directly with the static int trinket (which would then only be good as a mana regen option). If the uptime is lower then I think this proc might prove FAR too spiky for healers or at the very least my own preference.

I like the idea of the CDR trinkets and they are certainly more interesting than +intellect as a primary bonus for sure; I just have concerns over how critical the bonus is for throughput and how it is being factored in, if at all, for boss design. I also wonder just how they are weighting this intellect proc as well.

This is my brain droppings for Sunday evening. If you have any thought on my ramblings or have some technical information to clear up any confusion or assumptions on my part please share them with me.

A beautiful conclusion – 13/13H Throne of Thunder /w Ra-Den Video

This tier is finally over for us killing Ra-den tonight with plenty of attempts left for the week. It’s a little anticlimactic I will admit but it is gimmicky enough as a special optional boss that it proves interesting enough as a footnote. I’ll probably be writing a Tier 15 retrospective soon as I’ll have a little bit more free time with a lighter raid week.

From the folks at Capital Vices happy hunting and we’ll see you on the flipside :)

WoWScrnShot_070313_221437

Our kill video has been uploaded…complete with amazing drunken moonkin singing! (note website in video splash is outdated)

Ramblings – Saving Throw Vs. Death in MMO’s

It’s been no secret that I have been playing quite a lot of The Secret World lately especially if you’ve been monitoring my twitter feed. It is a game I have grown to appreciate despite that fact that it is decidedly less robust than WoW in terms of content and non-endgame group content available to players. I like the game because I enjoy the flavor and enjoy the combat.

The combat is TSW is extremely customizable and is both complex and not complex at the same time. Mush like playing a CCG you are tasked with building a ‘deck’. Your deck consists of assigning 7 active and 7 passive abilities to your character. The complexity lies in making sure these abilities all synergize well between actives and passives as well as the stats you’ve assigned to your gear (since most gear is entirely customizable for a price). Once assigned though, playing your build is much simpler. Good play however is entirely on you and your ability to stay alive.

What makes the grouping in TSW interesting, and slightly different than wow are the responsibilities:

Tank: Hate, Survivability, Interrupts, Avoid-or-die

DPS: Hate-management, Damage, Self and Group Cleansing, Avoid-or-die

Healer: Hate-management, Healing, Self-Cleansing, Avoid-or-die

Secret World has embraced a rather interesting take on MMO combat. This is a world where people have guns and monsters wield some fairly frightening magic. As such it is almost always going to kill you if you get hit with ANYTHING. You are tasked with avoiding every single aspect of a nightmare encounter that can be dodged in order to stay alive and continue doing your role. DPS are responsible for a bulk of the cleansing and there are a host of abilities tanks must interrupt or they can (or will) kill someone. I like this!

I understand however that this is incredibly daunting to a new player. Secret World tries its best to help you through them by adding ground warning effects for EVERY AoE attack in the game. You will always see where an attack is going to land before it happens if you are expected to avoid it. That part isn’t so bad I don’t think. The mechanics where a tank must impair (their version of interrupt) or DPS must cleanse themselves by way of Sleight of Hand is nebulous at best. Here are three examples of non-raid level nightmare capstone bosses.

Polaris – entry level Nightmare Dungeon

Final Boss – The Ur-Draug

-Cleave – will kill anyone but the tank in a frontal cone

-Ground Slam – warning shown for the cone affected – tank must avoid

-Submerge – when the boss submerges bubbles will appear around the party in the ‘safe’ zone completely immobilizing you. The only way to get out is use a spell to remove the hinder effect or use a ‘jump’ type skill. Failure to do so leads to death

-Blue phase – Boss shifts dimensions and wanders looking for you, part must play hide and seek behind rocks while dealing with adds. If you are seen by the boss you will be killed

-Pillar Explosion – when the boss drops to very low health he shatters all the large rocks in the zone originally hid behind, kills anyone near them other than a tank

That’s 4 ways you can instantly die instantly as a dps or healer on this encounter

 

Hell Raised – entry level Nightmare Dungeon

Final Boss – Machine Tyrant

-Anima Overcharge – boss puts up a shield after a timer has wound down that persists until dragged over a anima well. Will kill any DPS that hit him with the shield up

-Cleave – will kill anyone but the tank in a frontal cone

-Knockback – will kill or severely damage any melee who do not avoid the warning circle

-Firmament Barrage – moving crosshairs chase players dropping bombs periodically. Will kill anyone they hit

-Wave of Immolation – moves to the center of the room and creates a very large spiral of runes around him that will kill anyone caught in one

There’s 4 ways you can die instantly as a dps or healer on this encounter

 

 Hell Eternal – Tier 2 Nightmare Dungeon 

Final Boss – Eblis

Solar Collapse – huge crosshairs of doom and bombs or destruction. Run like hell or die

Drink Deep – tank interrupt or likely someone is killed

Occluding Lense – reflective shield DPS can easily blow themselves up on using finishers

Consummation – reduces a party member to 1 HP (can do tanks). Particularly deadly with the above Occluding Lens

Cast Out – pulls the party into a barred off area with:

-moving death circles on the ground

-Painwheel Overdive – tank must interrupt or we all die

-Vanquish – line attack to the boss’s left and right in the way he’s facing when casting it initially. Kills you

Chains – movement hinder ability that kills you when it expires. Remove it or die.

There are 8 ways a player can instantly die on this fight: 8 of which as a tank, 7 as a dps, and 5 as a healer.

 

I might be a little bit of a hard-ass but I honestly like this kind of punishing encounter. This might also be a reason why TSW isn’t really doing amazingly because the encounters are extremely difficult if you are not acutely aware of your surroundings and the fight itself. Couple that with it being a heinous gear grind once all story plot has been completed and you have a fairly tough sell.

As a healer in WoW I find it frustrating that some avoidable mechanics are not necessarily death related but simply painful. You will primarily see this in normal and LFR Difficulty as well as 5 man content. I think there needs to be a strong push for players, not just DPS, to be much more self sufficient when it comes to their safety. Having the security blanket of the healers is always a dangerous notion especially when you’re trying harder content and cutting back on the healers present. For our progression group we tend to rarely run more than 5 healers unless we absolutely have to for the encounter to function.

Secret World trains you hard from the very first moment you step into the game. Every mob from the most basic to elite and boss level all telegraph their moves to give you an option to avoid them. You are also given a quick directional dodge ability with a cooldown you can always use to move from place to place quickly. On top of that mobs are fairly lethal in general. Unless you give yourself self-healing or damage mitigation you’ll find yourself getting low just by taking on two or three of them and you might even get yourself killed easily enough if too aggressive. In a game with an extremely harsh environment I think it breeds a level of awareness players need to survive at the endgame level.

Because so much pressure is on players to avoid and dodge mechanic during fights I’ve found almost all players, except for tanks, shed ALL excess +hitpoint stats from their gear and streamline their damage and healing output. When a fight comes around where there is heavy periodic damage that cannot be avoided it is expected the player knows enough to swap in a health item to bring up their max hp. Failure to do so often leads to death.

I’m a weird individual though. When it comes to games like MMO’s I like punishing (but not unfairly so) environments because I think it makes better players. At the same time though I almost refuse to go back and play old retro console games without a save state function. I think for me the line that can’t be crossed is when challenge becomes frustration. A Heroic fight in WoW is challenging. The speeder bike level in Battletoads is frustrating. I think game developers need to be aware that creating a fight with immense amounts of luck required or hidden knowledge it can easily cross into the realm of frustrating. WoW heroic encounters as of late, and most of what I’ve seen in Secret World, are very learnable fights that require people to iterate on previous attempts in a logical manner. Having Save or Die mechanics in your fight are perfectly fair and do not in and of themselves make a fight a poor design.

There are my ramblings for today complete with some mild stream of consciousness in there as well. I hope I’ve at least given you a little something to think about

Preliminary Patch 5.4 Resto Druid Changes

So there’s datamined patch information that has a rather hefty list of changes for you as a restoration druid. Let’s just dig right in and go through them as well as what the ramifications will be.

1.) Nature’s Swiftness has become baseline. You no longer have to give up a talent option to take this iconic, and mandatory, talent. In place of Nature’s Swiftness there is a new passive ability that bears looking at: Ysera’s Gift. Now here are your two options for 5.4:

-Ysera’s Gift – passive – heals you for 5% of your maximum hp every 5 seconds. If you are at maximum health, it is smart healed to an ally. Assuming early 5.4 gear you’ll probably have in the low 600′s K for health meaning this will be ticking for roughly 30,000 every 5 seconds. Assuming the raid is not entirely full on health, this will always produce worthwhile healing adding up to 5K hp/s in this case. Is this worthwhile healing? At the rate at which it ticks i’d argue that it would more often than not end up as meter fluffing and never really save anyone except yourself. Your mileage may vary.

-Cenario Ward – 30s CD – Protective barrier that triggers upon taking damage healing for a large amount over 6 seconds. At ~40K spellpower this heals for roughly 54,000 every 2 seconds or 162,000 total over 6 s. This is not an overwhelming amount of healing and will usually not be enough to save the tank from imminent demise. It can however soften damage from blows that would generally not outright kill the tank anyway to lighten the healing load. It’s about 5K hp/s at that gear level as well.

I think this will be a case of pick your flavor. If the fight requires more direct tank healing you can opt for Ward. If the fight has consistent raid damage that needs addressing, then Ysera’s Gift provides it with absolutely no thought required.

2.) Soul of the Forest was buffed to 100% spell haste bonus. Didn’t really think it was necessary but perhaps their internal math felt it wasn’t pulling its weight on a throughput level (not factoring in mana savings). All this will really do is force us to create a new haste break point spreadsheet :)

3.) Tier 6, Level 90 talents, received a revamp.

Update: NV is actually quite amazing in practice with the smart healing component and currently is looking to be a clear cut winner for level 90 talents. Further discussion pending additional feedback.

Dream of Cenarius is no longer the terrible shell of a talent for us that it used to be. It now grants you the ability to attonement heal. Every wrath you cast hits for 20% more and heals a raid member for 100% of the damage done. Note that wrath has had its mana cost increase by roughly 50%.

Nature’s Vigil now also allows all direct heals cast while active to heal additional raid members for 25% of the amount healed. The rest of the talent remains the same. Update: It is unclear at this time if it is direct heals or all single target healing spells which would include lifebloom and rejuvenation. 

Heart of the Wild, when activated, also increases your healing done by some percentage. It seems to be them justifying the talent for restoration since many people i’d wager never activate it. Update: Buff is 25% to healing done! Fairly significant even if it is only once or sometimes twice an encounter if they run long.

I think this is a choice that remains simple yet complicated. Personally I think it comes down to Heart of the Wild and Dream of Cenarius on a fight to fight basis. I don’t particularly enjoy parking and casting however I am willing to admit that for some encounters with tight DPS checks and phases with minimal damage it can be an option. Heart of the Wild plays more to your strengths overall however it obviously doesn’t allow for the flexibility DoC does in that while DPS’ing with the CD (should you do it) you can’t heal at the same time without shifting gears. I will still probably default to Heart of the Wild as it still benefits our HoT centric style of play, especially with the new addition of Genesis.

I stand by Nature’s Vigil being the most lackluster of the bunch according to my taste. A 10% throughput boost, while very good, is not significant enough to really feel like a bonus from my point of view and the trigger activating only on direct heals seems counter intuitive. Depending on HotW’s throughput bonus, once we know more, we’ll be able to math out ultimately which will provide the most consistent benefit. Stay tuned to this one. Preferences for these talents change at the drop of a hat. 

4.) Genesis – activated ability with no cooldown listed as of yet. This spell will quickly activate all of your remaining rejuvenations making them heal and expire at 400% the normal rate. If you cast 6 rejuvenations for example and then immediately used Genesis you would have the first one expire in a little over a second, and the last expire in just over two and a half seconds. Each would produce healing equivalent to however much is left on them.

This spell, provided that it doesn’t play havoc with haste break points and allow for additional ticks that were otherwise unobtainable, is a slight mana loss (the cost of genesis) for a break even in the amount healed and a significant increase in your burst. Since there is set up required for genesis in the form of multiple rejuvenations, it does not need a cooldown. Much like Wild Mushroom: Bloom you are responsible for how aggressive you wish to be with it. You can use it a little or a lot provided your rejuvenations haven’t come close to expiring before hitting the button.

Expect to see this ability as a staple in your healing rotation/toolkit come 5.4. There will more than likely be multiple raid wide damage events that can be predicted in much the same way priests use their absorbs. Prehot the number of people you feel reasonable (3,4,5 perhaps) and let it rip once the damage goes out. Just make sure if you plan to use Swiftmend that you keep the last rejuvenation target as your fuel as they will disappear fast.

Genesis can also be used to TURBO charge your wild mushrooms if you deem it absolutely necessary. Since the window for genesis is small, limited by the time remaining on the heals, storing it up in the mushroom for imminent use gives you a slightly large window if absolutely need be.

5.) Wild Mushroom Bloom received a massive fix. The mushroom’s base healing was significantly increased because now you can only plant one of them. It accrues overhealing at 2/3 the rate they do now but holds the same maximum amount. The plus side though is that it is completely transplantable. You can pick it up and move it without losing the stored bonus healing. While not a perfect spell you can always guarantee you have it active and ready for raid damage with this new change.

Update:

  • Wild Mushroom: Bloom is no longer capable of critical strikes, and accumulates overhealing done by Rejuvenation by 100%, down from 150%. Overhealing bonus no longer benefits from Naturalist or Mastery: Harmony.

Make no mistake, this is still a great buff. Wild Mushroom is already potent and you can easily work around the drawbacks that come with this change. Between this and Genesis you are now armed with some really nice Burst options for healing. Keep this in mind when you’re looking at heroic encounters in 5.4. Having a fully charged mushroom you can literally transplant and bloom immediately as needed has far reaching applications. Sure this new found versatility is offset by the overheal the spell is likely to do but that is factored into the spell’s throughput by Blizzard I would imagine.

6.) Innervate finally scales with our stats! It is truly a miracle. We have been stuck compared to other healers unable to really benefit from spirit as much as other classes for a long while. This break has left some druids eschewing spirit for mastery when possible and some (of which I am one admittedly) going up into the 12K spirit range for heroic encounters. The new innervate model grants us 50% of our spirit as mana per second for 10 seconds.

Presently Innervate gives 60,000 mana every three minutes. A total of 1,667 mp/5. A number that was probably more impressive doing Tier 14 normals. Comparing that to Mistweavers Brew, Shaman specific MTT benefits, and Rapture is fairly lackluster with current gear.

The new innervate, provided that you have at least 12,000 spirit will give the same amount of mana in return. This seems to be initiated to balance what it provides using a ToT Normal gear level as a pivot point. Every 1 point of spirit you add beyond 12,000 provides 1 mp/5 more than what you would have with the current version on top of its usual benefit. I’ll probably do some gear related math once we know more in order to show just how much regen you’ll really be getting when deciding what spirit soft cap to settle down with.

Glyph of Innervate introduces the innervate swap trick we used to do between two druids. If you have another restoration druid in your raid, however unlikely this might be especially if you are doing heroic content, you could each take this glyph and swap with each other for a 20% boost to each players gained mana. This assumes of course you are both at roughly the same amount of spirit. Personally I am not convinced this is enough of a gain to make it worth it especially with the coordination involved.

7.) Tier 16 set bonuses are poop.

8.) New Glyph: Glyph of Efflorescence increases the healing done by Swiftmend by 20%, causes the Efflorescence healing effect to be triggered by Wild Mushroom instead of Swiftmend, and lasts as long as the Wild Mushroom is active. This glyph is actually fairly significant. It transforms Wild mushroom into a constant effloressence field along with boosting Swiftmend as a direct emergency heal. This could very well become a staple for us moving forward given its implications. Being able to constantly move and replace mushrooms seamlessly can translate to a large amount of bonus healing through the Efflo field.

I may be leaving some things out and I’m rather tired at the moment so my analysis is probably full of holes but please read and enjoy.

Wild Mushroom Usage in Heroic Throne of Thunder (5.3)

Note: Need to thoroughly spellcheck this later so be gentle if you find typos

It was a week into 5.2 that I created a brief guide on how I was using wild mushrooms through all of the normal modes of Throne of Thunder. Now that I have worked on 10 of the 13 heroic encounters I thought it might be worthwhile to revisit these fights and see how, if at all they have changed. I also may want to revise my previous statements now that I am more familiar with each fight. Let’s begin.

The mushrooms themselves

The change to the mushrooms is fairly complex but simply to understand. Each mushroom now stores 50% of your rejuvenation overhealing up to a maximum of 66% of your total health. The radius of the mushrooms has been increased by 25% and the area covered by the explosion increased by 56%. What this means is that your mushrooms hold twice as much and store it twice as fast. You will fill them at the same speed but enjoy a significantly larger bloom.

If you are using the custom weak aura that I linked to in my original post you’ll want to edit it to work with the new mushroom specs. If you go to the triggers tab and look in the custom text boxes you’ll clearly see the lines that refer to the amount of overheal and storage per mushroom. In the first box under trigger there is a note on the amount of overheal to be tracked and it is set to .25, you want to increase that to .50. Similarly you want to adjust the amount each mushroom can hold from .33 to .66. The last box that controls the creation of the bar you’ll want to edit also. You want to adjust the total held with three mushrooms to 1.999*player health, two mushrooms to 1.333*player health, and one mushroom to .666*player health.

I’ll update this with specifics later on tonight.

With my current gear I sit at roughly 509K hp with ~7300 mastery. When I detonate three full charged mushrooms they heal 3x for ~500K. Odds are one of these mushrooms is going to critically heal in a raid setting so even without Fort and a mastery buff that would heal for ~2 million HP. This gives you, very roughly done, the following breakdown:

1 target: ~2 million

2 targets: ~1 million

3 targets: ~666K

5 targets: ~400K

10 targets: ~200K

15 targets: ~133K

25 targets: ~80K

The same rules of thumb when using the spell still apply though it is now much more flexible as you can imagine. Be aware that Wild Mushroom: Bloom benefits more from Mastery than it does from Spellpower. While spellpower and mastery both make the rejuvenation ticks larger (charging the mushrooms up faster) and boost the base heal for the mushrooms, only mastery boosts the bonus healing provided by the mushrooms.

THRONE OF THUNDER HEROIC

Jin’Rohk – Normal

What I said before: Viability Low with a lackluster use during the encounter

Jin’Rohk – Heroic

As you’ll see with most heroic encounters a change in fight mechanics or increased damage done will create new uses for your abilities, one of which is wild mushrooms. I found myself opting for one of two uses for bloom in varying states of charged capacity

1.)    Some puddle mini phases end up taking some heavy raid damage before ionization comes out. Having a bloom of any magnitude available to pop right afterwards is incredibly useful. You can also reapply the mushrooms after this damage wherever you see fit to cover the DPS whose ionizations are left to fall off on their own. Do not focus on having it be 100% charged up.

2.)    For the lightning storms, depending on whether you huddle near raid CD’s or spread out don’t hesitate to throw your mushrooms in advance where you think people will be hanging out. With the recent buff even one mushroom hitting a couple of people will be a noticeable heal

Mushrooms can make up large portion of your healing done during this encounter with heroic level damage for the fight.

Horridon – Normal

What I said before: ‘Not mushroom friendly’ and Low Viability during the encounter

Horridon – Heroic

With the addition of the Dire Call mechanics during the four doors and final phase Wild Mushroom can actually be utilized fairly well during this fight. This is the first encounter where I really needed to know how our raid paced through kiting the mobs from each door and where exactly everyone will be during every dire call. Once I did this I saw a nice increase in its effectiveness. Typically speaking it will be the following:

1.)    From first door set the mushrooms spaced in a line or triangle roughly half to two-thirds of the way from door one to door two. Ranged will be near them for the first dire call

2.)    Move back and place mushrooms part way into the door two to three path slightly inboard towards the center of the room. Depending on how Horridon’s movements work typically I can predict where ranged will shift for the second call

3.)    For each subsequent door the location of the first set of mushrooms varies as some adds are kited at a faster rate

For the final phase it is a matter of grouping up and taking very little raid damage between Dire Calls so you’ll have no problem charging them up. All in all I thoroughly support mushrooms for this fight. This is a fight where the damage goes from being fairly minimal to significant with Dire Calls (and some of the later door abilities). Generally you will be able to get fully charged mushrooms but even three partially filled ones covering a chunk of your raid, provided the healing is needed, can be a significant help.

Council – Normal and Heroic

I would still stand by my moderate statement for this fight. My best suggestion for Council is to not get too attached to using mushrooms at full strength. Part of the reason the mushroom change is so important is that you shouldn’t get too attached to having them fill up and then just be wasted with no one nearby. Keep moving them and keep detonating them at will for this encounter.

Tortos – Normal

What I said before: Very high viability during this encounter due to the quakes

Tortos – Heroic

Mushrooms go from being actually wonderful to being almost completely useless. This isn’t due to any of the damage in the fight changing though. If you are unfamiliar with Tortos heroic there is a new mechanic that interfered with mushrooms directly. Players are allowed to attack crystals which place a protective shell on them. This shell takes ALL healing done and charges it up as an absorb bubble that caps out at a percentage of your health. The problem is that while charging, and even when capped, your spells will never overheal and will never charge up your mushrooms. You can precharge one set and you might get some partially charged sets during the fight but on the whole they become completely unreliable and borderline useless.

Magaera – Normal and Heroic

Little has changed during this encounter. The rampages continue to be the most harrowing moment damage wise during the fight and you will want to have a fully precharged set of mushrooms for all of them just as you would in normal mode. Given that charging them does not take more than 15 seconds or so, if you feel you need to keep some partially charged mushrooms near melee in case they have a brain lapse with cinders then you can do that. Just try to make sure that you get your Rampage Bloom ready to go in time.

Ji-Kun – Normal

What I said before: High if you are stationed on the main platform, situational otherwise

Ji-Kun – Heroic

If you are only on the main platform for this encounter then mushrooms continue to be pretty awesome for handling quills and melee /w feeding pools. Mushrooms + tranquility + Swiftmend when needed can cover a lot of ground for you here. If you are on nest duty however, heroic Ji-kun has a rather strict order to things and you’re on the go quite often. I think for our kills my order was something like: Down purple, Up Green, Up Center, Down Red, Down Yellow, Up Center, Up Purple, Down Purple if needed then win (colors mean little to you of course). On at least two of these platforms I was required to heal our group through Quills. Knowing which platforms will have that attack allows you to precharge your mushrooms, have barkskin, 3x lifebloom, and even Ironbark at the ready to ensure no one in your team takes any threatening damage.

Durumu The Forgotten – Normal

What I said before: Fairly low viability

Durumu The Forgotten – Heroic

I will up the usefulness of mushrooms on this fight by a good bit given that partially charged mushrooms are significantly more potent. In general when neither the maze or beam phases are occurring raid damage is fairly minimal and generally only certain people are taking noticeable damage at any time (tank, people with debuff, life drain, puddles etc). You will find that during the beam phase you can utilize the mushrooms some depending on which one you are in.

1.)    If your raid has watchers who place raid markers where all of the red adds are just prior to the beam phase, you can actually drop your mushrooms on the move towards the next add and get them slightly charged for use when you get there.

2.)    If you don’t have the luxury of knowing ahead of time where the red adds will be simply drop one, or more, mushrooms when you stop for an add and detonate them as needed. They still have a base healing amount that is nearly free mana wise and worth using. This is optional and you might find that it is overkill with your healing setup and that is fine.

For the Maze phase I would opt for one of a couple of options. You can drop three mushrooms at the group up point before the maze starts which will be roughly where you end the maze (at the same ground marker) to top people off once it concludes. You can also place some mushrooms along the path the raid will be following before the ice walls go up to help top people off as you run through. It’s pretty boss and I need to give some credit to some twitterfolk for suggesting it.

Primordius – Normal

What I said before: Low/myself as the raid is fairly spread out to warrant needing mushrooms versus your other spells

Primordius – Heroic

While little has changed the damage in the fight is scaled up by a decent amount. The only mechanic I think mushrooms offer some assistance with is the caustic gas attack that divides out among the number of players hit. While Primordius is going to move, you can still keep even partially charged mushrooms near the melee at all times to help them absorb some of the impact from this attack. You can also keep them spread out among the ranged near the middle to handle his volleys. Aggressively using prtial blooms is the key to making the spell work for you here.

Iron Qon – Normal

What I said before: High for the fire add phase and final phase, low elsewhere

Iron Qon – Heroic

What I said before definitely still stands. For the fire phase when your melee are dancing around to take the hits from his Unleashed Flame having wild mushrooms ready (even partially filled) for each one is guaranteed to be effective and extremely useful. Since we stopped using ranged to handle that element of the fight it meant that mushroom placement was much easier to predict and execute.

For the lightning quillen you will still be dropping mushrooms in melee more than likely but it isn’t until the frost quillen arrives that you can get more bang for your buck. Ro’shak will be using Unleashed Flame on your melee at a pace that perfectly suits charging wild mushrooms. You might be providing almost a Lay on Hands to them after each hit which is impressive nonetheless. This continues when you are fighting all three quillen at the same with as Iron Qon especially with Fist Smash.

Once it is just Iron Qon alone you will be stacked up and constantly charged and detonating mushrooms with each fist smash regardless of how much you’ve been able to charge them. If you see healer CD’s have a fist smash almost entirely covered and you are very low on your charge you can consider waiting for the next one to detonate an even bigger one.

You can expect, if used aggressively, the new bloom to make up a very size-able portion of your healing done.

Twin Consorts – Normal

What I said before: Fairly low viability

Twin Consorts – Heroic

This is a fight, similar to Council, where the raid is going to be spread out for most of the encounter. As such you will generally only have the option to utilize partially charged blooms and they will often be in one of a couple places:

1.)    Moved with the boss to provide some free healing on the tank and melee

2.)    Behind the meteor you believe will be a group up point for Nuclear Blast

3.)    Near you and any nearby ranged to soften the impact of the stars attack

If you find yourself attracting the attention of…say…ALL The invisible mobs like I seemed to do on the first couple of attempts you can keep a mushroom near you (or 2 if need be) and the rest in melee to cover yourself. If used aggressively a rather size-able chunk of your healing (10-18%) could easily come from mushrooms.

Conclusion

This is a preliminary guide and I’ll try to add a little bit more when I have the opportunity but hopefully this can be useful to you. Maybe this just gets your creative juices flowing on how to utilize bloom and maybe it doesn’t.

Legendary Meta Gem – Napkin Math Edition

The Legendary quest line meta gem is incredibly powerful we all know that. I thought though that I would just lay out some quick numbers for those curious about what you’re really getting. This is all basic napkin math though so don’t expect a riveting expose.

Looking at the logs from my guildmate (as I just got my meta last night) you are going to average somewhere in the ballpark of 12% uptime ± 1% depending on the intensity of the encounter. This is pretty significant. During the 4 second window you will more than likely cast either three rejuvenations or 2 rejuvenations and 1 wild growth. There will technically be situations where you may need or want to cast a regrowth and that could certainly squeeze in in place of a rejuv.

Using a 12% uptime, you are looking at approximately 1.8 procs per minute. During one proc of the meta, given intense healing, you will save 26,100 mana casting three rejuvenations and 31,140 mana with 2 rejuvenations and 1 wild growth. Multiplying that out you average 46,980 to 56,052 mana per minute. This equates to 3915 to 4671 mp/5.

Given statistical variation and fight diversity the mp/5 of the trinket will vary ± 380 mp/5 on average but its value can sometimes fluctuate much more than that. There are two things that may affect your benefit:

-The first is that its uptime can get oddly high on some fights. I have seen uptimes as high as 19% in some logs which could push it as high as 7,785 mp/5. It can also drop down to only 8-10% uptime if luck isn’t on your side. Either way you’re getting a sizeable bonus just not one that fits the expected average.

-The second issue is that this isn’t actual mana gained which is something I’d like to take into account but it isn’t really possible. If a proc happens during a moment in the fight you are distracted, or there is down time, a lull, or any other reason why you might not have needed to throw out the free heals you threw out you aren’t actually saving any mana. With wild mushrooms working the way they do though, free rejuvenations can still serve to grow them making the free heals not entirely wasted. I would safely wager that heroic encounters with more difficult damage patterns will allow for greater benefit.

Conclusion:

While this isn’t telling us anything we didn’t already know it does shed some light on potential gearing adjustments down the line. Once you get this meta gem and get a chance to trial run it through some of the more grueling encounters you are currently progressing on, you may find yourself tweaking the amount of spirit you plan on running. Something to keep in the back of your mind.