Tag Archives: raiding

One of These Things Is Not Like The Others!

Blizzard typically designs its raid zones in three different sizes: you’ve got the one- or two-boss zones, the half-a-dozen boss zones, and the raids with a dozen or so bosses – give or take.

And then, in this thread, Ghostcrawler says (emphasis mine)

…once we say “tanking niches” players have visions of the DK who parks outside of Icecrown until boss 4, 17 and 31 (yes, IC is that big).

At the risk of sounding like a lolcat, ZOMG. No wonder they introduced raid timer extensions!

To put it pictorially:

Number of Bosses by Raid Zone

That’s one way of making sure Icecrown won’t be cleared before Christmas…

(Edit: I’ve seen a few other wry posts around the traps from GC in the last day, and he may well be joking about this – which is unlike Blizz devs, who don’t usually make joke posts unless it’s very obvious that their tongue is planted firmly in cheek, but even devs are allowed to have some fun.)

Edit #2: My guildie Phyl (of Hunters Rhok) has pointed out the official debunking, where GC says

an example on how we don’t want raids to rotate in tanks, I wanted to pick what I hoped was a ridiculous number so that players wouldn’t try and and deduce from my answer how many bosses Icecrown has.

Sadly, my sarcasm doesn’t translate well to the forums. :)

(Unfortunately, if he wanted to convey a sense of “this is just a hypothetical number”, he probably shouldn’t have followed it up with an explicit assurance that he was being serious.)

Choosing Your Attributes

Hey folks, sorry it’s been so quiet around here lately — between family health woes and recovering from being sick myself, I haven’t had two brain cells to rub together! Things should be back to normal now, though.

There are plenty of guides around – my own, and other people’s – that tell you what gear goals you should set, how you should gem, what consumables you should use. The big problem with most of these guides is that they don’t tell you why. They don’t make the relationships between healer stats clear, so people wind up following a set of rules they don’t understand.

If comments on my posts are anything to go by, there are a lot of other-spec paladins learning the ins and outs of Holy, trying to make sense of all the advice. Knowledge is power, so let’s take a step back and look at first principles: your attributes.

1. Spellpower

This is your single most important stat, in the sense that if you don’t have enough of it, all the other stats in the world won’t help. There’s no point having a mana pool that will last for ten minutes of chain-casting if your heals aren’t big enough to keep your tank up.

Spellpower, obviously, increases the size of a number of your spells: Holy Light, Flash of Light, Holy Shock, Sacred Shield, Consecrate, Judgement of Light, and Exorcism. Healing spells have the following Spellpower coefficients:

  • Holy Light: 166%
  • Flash of Light: 100%
  • Holy Shock: 81%
  • Sacred Shield: 75%

What this means is if you have 1500 Spellpower, your Holy Lights will heal for an extra 2490 (1500 * 1.66), your Flashes of Light will heal for an extra 1500, and so on.

2. Intellect (and mana)

Intellect is the new black, as far as holy paladins are concerned. I’ve written about this before in detail, but to reiterate: all the important sources of mana regeneration are either based directly off the size of your mana pool (Divine Plea, Replenishment, Mana Tide Totem) or are affected by the amount of Intellect you have (Illumination-based mana return from heals that crit).

So Intellect has three main benefits:

  • It increases the size of your mana pool, thereby increasing your mana regen
  • It increases your crit chance, thereby increasing both your mana return and your throughput
  • It increases your spellpower (via Holy Guidance), thereby increasing your throughput

Great synergy; there’s nothing about Intellect that’s useless, and that’s why you’ll see holy paladins running around with a 30K mana pool in raids.

3. Crit rating

Crit rating increases your chance to crit, and that has three flow-on effects:

  • It increases your throughput; a crit heal does 50% more healing than a non-crit.
  • It returns 60% of the mana cost of the spell, from the Illumination Holy talent.
  • If it’s a Holy Shock that just crit, it will trigger the Infusion of Light effect, making your next Flash of Light instant or your next Holy Light very fast indeed. This is fantastic for healing-intensive moments and mobile fights. (Note that in 3.1, Infusion will still make FoL instant, but it will increase crit chance on HL instead of cutting 1 sec off its cast time.)

Obviously, crit is very popular with most paladins; including talents, you can get over 40% unbuffed Holy crit chance in Naxx-25 gear.

At level 80, 45.9 Crit Rating gives you 1% chance to crit.

4. Haste rating

Haste is something of the ‘new kid on the block’; it’s something that most paladins haven’t seen on their gear before (unless they were raiding Black Temple and Sunwell Plateau). It decreases the time required to cast a spell, but the way the mechanics work make a lot of people go crosseyed.

I read a fantastic guide to spell haste the other day, but stupidly I forgot to bookmark it, so I can’t link you all to it. So, I shall roll up my sleeves and attempt to explain it myself.

The way to make sense of Haste is in terms of how many spells it will allow you to cast in a given time period. 10% spell haste doesn’t knock 10% off the cast time of a spell, it means that in a given amount of time you can cast 10% more spells. In fifteen seconds, you could normally cast 10 Flashes of Light. 10% spell haste makes each FoL faster, so that you can fit 11 of them into those fifteen seconds.

The formula for calculating your cast time when you have Haste gear is:
[New Cast Time] = [Base Cast Time] / [1 + Spell Haste]

So the base cast time of Flash of Light is 1.5 seconds; if you have 10% Haste, it reduces the cast time to (1.5 / 1.1), or 1.36 seconds. If you have 20% Haste, FoL’s cast time is (1.5 / 1.2), or 1.25 seconds. And so on.

There are a few things to know about Haste:

  • It reduces the Global Cooldown as well, down to a minimum of 1 second.
  • It does nothing to affect your mana efficiency on a per-spell basis, so if you don’t have enough Intellect/mana, Haste just means “I can go out of mana even quicker!”
  • As your Haste rating increases, more Haste has less effect on the cast time of any one spell, but it still increases how many spells you can cast over a given time by the same amount.
  • Haste is multiplicative, so if you have 10% haste from gear and another 5% from buffs, you actually have 15.5% Haste, not 15%.
  • If you incorporate all the haste effects you might get in a raid (Wrath of Air Totem, a Ret paladin’s Retribution Aura, your own Judgements of the Pure talent, et cetera) 20.6% Haste from gear and consumables will get you to the ‘cap’ of 1.0 second Flashes of Light (and a 1.0 second GCD).

At level 80, 1% spell haste requires approximately 32.79 Haste Rating.

Bear in mind that haste has two effects on your healing: a) it increases your overall throughput, by allowing you to cast more spells in the same amount of time, and b) it increases your responsiveness by reducing your cast time, allowing you to get that emergency lifesaving heal off that much faster. As your Haste increases, the effect of more haste on the latter decreases – it still reduces your cast time, just not by as much.

5. Mana Per 5, aka mp5

mp5 does exactly what it says on the tin: you regain the listed amount of mana every five seconds, regardless of whether you’re in combat or not, casting or not, moving or not – the only requirement is for you to be alive. :)

mp5 used to be beloved of holy paladins, back when we were all Flash of Light spammers. Because Flash of Light is much more mana-efficient than Holy Light, crit-based mana return didn’t matter as much, whereas well-stacked mp5 let you cast Flash of Light til the cows came home.

That’s changed in WotLK however; for starters, we need to use Holy Light heavily to keep up with incoming damage, and the mp5 needed to keep up with that would be prohibitively high. Secondly, gearing for Int gives better mana regen and throughput than gearing for mp5.

mp5 is not a bad stat, and there’s no need to ignore an item just because it has mp5. However, taking mp5 at the expense of superior mana return stats – that is, Intellect and Crit – is generally a mistake.

There are a couple of limited situations where mp5 may beat Int and Crit: if you’re silenced a lot, and can’t cast (to cast Divine Plea or regen mana from spell crits), if you have to move a lot, or if you never have a Replenishment buffer in the raid, no access Mana Tide Totem, and are bearing a lot of the healing load so you can’t afford to Divine Plea often.

mp5 may also become more valuable in Ulduar, if the tanks are taking Ridiculous Amounts of Damage™ and we have to heal so hard that we can’t afford to Divine Plea on a regular basis. However, there’s still a dichotomy in that gearing for mp5 probably won’t provide enough regen to compensate for such heavy healing; at that stage, stacking crit is likely to be more valuable (although I haven’t done the maths yet to model that;

So, What Do You Pick?

Most paladin guides you read say “stack Intellect!” with no exceptions or explanations. However, I tend to believe that that’s overly simplistic and not terribly helpful advice without context – these are generally guides aimed at raiding paladins, and stat advice for a geared healer in a 25-man raid group is quite different from guidelines appropriate for a starting healer in 5-mans.

Assuming you’re starting from scratch as a fresh 80, you’ll be running 5-mans and heroics while you’re gearing up for raids. (If you’re swapping from ret or prot as a raider and you’ve picked up a fair bit of offspec healing gear already, you can probably jump to the last stages of this process.)

As a fresh 80, in 5-mans and heroics, people aren’t going to die because you ran out of mana after a ten-minute fight; if the fight’s long enough for you to OOM, your DPSers are probably underperforming. No, in my experience, people generally died in 5-mans and heroics because I couldn’t keep up with incoming damage, or I couldn’t get a heal onto them fast enough after a spike.

As such, you should be gearing for spellpower first; extra mana’s no good if your heals aren’t big or fast enough to keep the tank up. So focus on spellpower until you have a reasonable level of it – as a rule of thumb, I’d say you should stack spellpower until 1650 or so. (Within reason, of course; don’t equip green “of spellpower” gear that has no other stats on it.) You’ll get Crit and Haste as part of this process, as just about every piece of appropriate gear has one or the other on it – sometimes, if you’re lucky, both.

Once you have a reasonable level of spellpower, start diversifying. Make sure your crit and haste levels are up to scratch – 30% holy crit, unbuffed, is a reasonable target for crit, and somewhere around 250 haste rating (8% Haste). This is the point at which you can start stacking Intellect in your gem and enchant selection.

TL/DR! What’s the bottom line?

You need to gear for spellpower first, to make sure you can keep up with incoming damage, before you start stacking Intellect like all the other guides say.

Tier 8 Gear Sets – First Look

MMO-Champion has just posted information on the Tier 8 gear in the recent PTR patch (build 9704).

The sets:

First, let me say that the set does look better with a kilt than with pants, but I’m still pretty sad about the way this armor set turned out (compared with the awesomeness of the concept art, especially). This is one helm I won’t be showing, for fear of feeling like Thomas the Tank Engine.

Secondly, I’m disappointed: the Helm and Chest of the 25-man set are available on the Emblems of Conquest quartermaster, for 48 Emblems of Conquest each. However, logically the Emblems of Valor vendor should have two pieces of the 10-man set for Emblems of Valor, and they… don’t. Which makes it tough for people in 10-man teams who have poor luck with the RNG, or who pug and don’t get to rely on getting an equal shot at loot. I hope Blizzard will put the items on there.

That said, now let’s look at the stats.

For comparison’s sake:

  • 10-man Tier 7: 299 Stam, 309 Int, 35 mp5, 9105 Armor, 184 Crit, 181 Haste, 391 Spellpower, 1 meta socket, 3 red sockets, 2 yellow sockets, 2 blue sockets. (Socket bonuses total: 5 mp5, 12 Haste, 4 Crit)
  • 10-man Tier 8: 353 Stam, 363 Int, 74 mp5, 9432 Armor, 153 Crit, 214 Haste, 481 Spellpower, 1 meta socket, 2 red sockets, 1 yellow socket, 4 blue sockets. (Socket bonuses total: 28 Spellpower, 4 Haste)
  • Net effect of upgrading all 5 pieces: +54 Stam, +54 Int, +39 mp5, +327 Armor, -31 Crit, +23 Haste, +90 Spellpower, plus a change in gemming (if you socket for color).
  • 25-man Tier 7: 335 Stam, 345 Int, 40 mp5, 9335, 212 Crit, 203 Haste, 453 Spellpower, 1 meta socket, 3 red sockets, 2 yellow sockets, 2 blue sockets. (Socket bonuses total: 5 mp5, 12 Haste, 4 Crit)
  • 25-man Tier 8: 381 Stam, 386 Int, 79 mp5, 9538 Armor, 167 Crit, 249 Haste, 525 Spellpower, 1 meta socket, 2 red sockets, 1 yellow socket, 4 blue sockets. (Socket bonuses total: 28 Spellpower, 4 Haste)
  • Net effect of upgrading all 5 pieces: +46 Stam, +41 Int, +39 mp5, +203 Armor, -45 Crit, +46 Haste, +72 Spellpower, plus a change in gemming (if you socket for color).

It’s interesting to note that both armor sets nearly double their mp5 at the expense of Crit, and that the socket colors are an attempt to push people to socket more mp5 gems. I’ve never been more thankful to be a jewelcrafter, with my prismatic gems.

And the set bonus:

  • Paladin T8 Holy 2P Bonus — Your Holy Shock critical heals now also place a periodic healing effect on the target, healing for 15% of the Holy Shock’s heal amount over 9 sec.
  • Paladin T8 Holy 4P Bonus — Increases the damage absorbed by your Sacred Shield by 10%.

The 2P bonus sounds nice, but at 2k spellpower a crit Holy Shock lands for an average of ~6200, which means the HoT component only does 930 healing over a further 9 seconds, which is virtually insignificant.

The 4P bonus again sounds nice; at 2k spellpower your Sacred Shield will absorb 2200 damage instead of 2000 damage. (Sacred Shield absorbs 500 + 0.75*Spellpower.) Given that each Sacred Shield iteration will absorb that much, and it’ll trigger up to five times for one cast of the spell, this means you’re potentially gaining about 1000 damage absorption.

However, to be honest, both of these feel pretty underwhelming next to the Tier 7 set bonuses: 2pT7 is +10% crit to Holy Shock, 4pT7 is -5% cost to Holy Light. Unless I’m missing something, the T8 bonuses just aren’t in the same league.

And there’s a relic:

  • Paladin T8 Holy Relic — Increases spell power of Holy Light by 160.

This is available for 25 Emblems of Valor, on the EoV quartermaster in Dalaran. However, I don’t think it’s superior to the Libram of Renewalfor 40 Emblems of Heroism – especially not given that Ulduar is meant to be a more mana-stringent raid. Still, if you’ve got spare EoVs lying around, it could well be useful for fast-furious-spam-frenzy fights where mana conservation isn’t an issue.

Increasing Your Camera Zoom

A quick handy tip for you all that’s made my life easier in countless raids and instances: Zoom Out! On any fight with environmental factors, it can make a huge difference. Want to not be the nub who can’t dodge a lava wall on Sartharion? Zoom out!

But, of course, the camera doesn’t zoom out very far – even when you scroll out as far as you can go, even when you go into your interface settings and set the maximum zoom to the end of the slider.

Fear not: you can go beyond the values that slider offers you; you just have to enter a console command to do so.

There are various commands that will give you the desired effect; the one I use is:

/console cameraDistanceMax 50

That will let you scroll out much, much further than the interface settings will give you. How much further? My zoom, let me show you it:

How to Increase Your Camera Zoom

Click the image to see a larger version, making it clear just how much you can zoom out. Hope this helps?

Against Your Better Judgement: A Guide to Judging

Judgements: they’re not just for Retribution paladins any more.

There’s a fair amount of misinformation and misunderstanding floating around when it comes to paladin Judgements, and the issue of “who should Judge? when? why?” is something I’ve seen come up in discussion in a number of places recently, so: here’s a guide. First up is the primer; if you know the basics, skip to the end for the last three sections.

Three Key Facts

  1. You have to have a Seal spell currently active before you can cast a Judgement.
  2. There are three Judgement spell options, which share the same cooldown: Judgement of Light, Judgement of Wisdom and Judgement of Justice.
  3. Using a Judgement spell has three effects: damage, a debuff on the target, and a buff to you (and possibly others).


Casting a Judgement on a mob causes some amount of direct damage to it. This varies depending on which Seal you have active:

The damage from Judging each seal scales differently with talents and stats; going into detail is outside the scope of this guide.

Debuffing the Target

The Judgement spells all apply a different debuff to the target. You generally can’t stack more than one debuff of each type on a single target, regardless of how many paladins are judging – this has not always been the case, but that’s usually due to bugs. Each debuff lasts 20 seconds, so a paladin will need to keep re-judging to keep the debuff up.

Judgement of Light applies a debuff to the target which has a chance to restore health to anyone who hits the target. This healing is attributed to the paladin who applied the judgement, and confers zero threat.

The amount of healing it gives scales with the gear of the judging paladin; the amount is calculated by (0.18 * AP) + (0.18 * SP). Therefore, if you’re fighting with multiple paladins, this should be applied by the people with the highest combined attack power and spellpower.

Judgement of Wisdom applies a debuff to the target which has a chance to restore mana to anyone who hits the target. This is a flat amount; 2% of the attacker’s base mana, so it doesn’t scale with the paladin’s gear, the attacker’s gear, or anyone else’s.

Judgement of Justice applies a debuff that stops the target from fleeing, and restricts their movement speed.

Used against mobs, this spell will stop them from running away at low health if they would normally do that. Used against players, this spell restricts people to 100% speed – ie, standard running speed. It nullifies speed increases from mounts, gear (ie enchants and gems), skills (like Dash/Sprint) or talents (like Pursuit of Justice or Unholy Aura). PvP trinkets will remove this effect, but druid shapeshifting won’t – for obvious reasons, this is a popular judgement in PvP, especially in arenas.

Buffing You

Each paladin talent tree has a talent that synergises with the use of your Judgement spells; the effects of these are very different, depending on your spec, but all are useful.

Holy paladins have the Judgements of the Pure talent, which increases their Haste by 15% for one minute after using a Judgement. This is very useful for healing; you only need to judge once a minute to keep this buff up, and the Haste can make a big difference in your healing output.

Protection paladins have the Judgements of the Just talent, which is technically a further debuff to the Judgement target: it reduces the target’s melee attack speed by 20%. This is a huge bonus when fighting opponents that do a lot of physical damage (like, say, most raid bosses); it’s a lot of incoming damage that the tank no longer has to soak or avoid, a lot of damage that the healers no longer have to heal.

Retribution paladins have the Judgements of the Wise talent, which restores 15% of their base mana immediately, and grants the Replenishment mana restoration buff to the raid. This talent makes Retribution paladins very useful to most raid groups.

(In addition, Retribution paladins and many Holy paladins also have the Heart of the Crusader talent, which applies an extra debuff to the target giving all attacks against it an extra 3% critical strike chance.)

So Who Judges What?

Paladins are pretty popular these days, which means many (I dare say most) raid groups will have more than one – which means you should be sharing the Judgement duties around, or else people are going to overwrite each other and waste useful abilities.

Judgement of Light is currently more useful than Judgement of Wisdom, because mana isn’t a problem for most people in current content. That may change – is likely to, in fact – in Ulduar, so raid groups in the future will need to revisit this issue. But for now, if you’ve only got one paladin, Judgement of Light is more useful than Judgement of Wisdom. And Judgement of Justice is useful only for the sake of triggering your talents; the debuff it confers doesn’t do anything useful.

So, in current content: Light > Wisdom > Justice.

Who judges which?

  • Judgement of Light scales equally with Spellpower and Attack Power. Ret paladins should be applying this if they’re present, as a Retribution Paladin’s AP + SP total will be higher than that of other specs. Protection paladins are next on the list; Holy paladins should only be applying this if there are no other paladin specs in the raid.
  • If there is a Protection paladin in the raid, they should not have their judgements overwritten, except by another Prot paladin – this is important, in order to keep Judgements of the Just active.
  • Holy paladins can apply whatever Judgement isn’t already claimed by another spec, as they only need to judge once a minute for Judgements of the Pure; their judgement doesn’t have to stay up.

This all leads to:

The Bottom Line

If your raid has:

  • Ret, Prot and Holy: Ret on Judgement of Light, Prot on Judgement of Wisdom, Holy on Judgement of Justice.
  • Ret and Prot: Ret on Judgement of Light, Prot on Judgement of Wisdom.
  • Ret and Holy: Ret on Judgement of Light, Holy on Judgement of Wisdom.
  • Prot and Holy: Prot on Judgement of Light, Holy on Judgement of Wisdom.
  • If all your group’s paladins are of the same spec, it doesn’t really matter who judges what. The best-geared paladin should judge Light, as it scales with gear, but it doesn’t really matter.

… But What About The Meters?!

There are holy paladins out there who will claim they should be judging Light so they get credit for all that healing done on the meters. There are raid leaders out there who look at healing meters and get angry if the Retribution paladin is nearly outhealing the Holy paladin.

To both of you, I say: fie on you! Healing is not a competition; the raid group is a team. Do you really want to give bad assignments that waste peoples’ potential, just so the meters look “right”?

If you’re that concerned about the meters, log the raid with WoW Webstats (aka WWS), look at the report afterwards, and ignore the amounts for Judgement of Light. Don’t let Meter Worry (or Meter Pride) goad you into encouraging the use of inappropriate Judgements, when in the right hands Judgements are powerful tools for your raid.

Hodir testing on the PTR, with video

Herein, a first look at Hodir, one of the bosses of Ulduar!

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to try this with my guild, as the limited testing times are restricted to American and European prime-time hours, so I had a chat to my esteemed blogging colleague Matt, of World of Matticus, and mentioned that I’d love to help test Ulduar on the PTR with him.

Edit: Check out Matt’s rundown of the experience!

Well, Matt set up <Years Behind> on Broxigar, and – apart from constant world server failures, lag, UI problems and all the other symptoms of a test server – away we went!

Here’s a video of one attempt; sadly we didn’t get much testing time, as we spent an hour or so fighting constant disconnects and insane lag, but it was enough to get an idea of the encounter and what’s involved.

(You can view the video here on YouTube for a higher-quality copy; I’ll replace this with a better link and embed once I’ve sorted out better video hosting.)

Recruitment: Looking For A Few Good Men

…and women, and – if strictly necessary – gnomes.

My guild, Southern Wardens of US-Proudmoore, is currently recruiting raiders for 25-man content. We’ve cleared Naxxramas, we’ve done Sartharion +1 Drake, and we’ve got Malygos on the ropes at the moment.

We’re currently looking for DPS players – more ranged DPS than melee, and we’re particularly interested in boomkin/mages/shadow priests, but we’re happy to consider all applications.

About Us

We’re an Australian guild and we raid during Australian times, although we welcome people from other time zones if your schedule permits it. We started our 25-man raiding in mid-January; we’re currently building our raiding force to finish off Malygos, work on Achievement progression, and prepare for the launch of Ulduar.

We’re not hardcore, but we are progression oriented, and we have traditionally been placed in the top 15-25% of raiding guilds on Proudmoore. We make an effort to be as flexible as possible for individual players, and we ask players to be flexible for us in return.

About the Server

Proudmoore is a US PvE server with a very high Australian/Oceanic population, meaning that our peak playtimes are spread throughout the day. It’s one of the original launch servers, operates on PST, and is in the Bloodlust battlegroup. As an old server, it has a solid population base, a very active raiding community and a mature server economy. If you transfer in from outside, and find that we’re not to your liking, there are a number of other active Australian raiding guilds so you won’t be stuck in a dead end.

If You’re Interested

Check out the full recruitment post here on our guild blog, and drop me a line here, or via email at siha [at] southernwardens dot com, or in-game.

Poll: What Kind of PvE Do You Prefer?

Whenever I read people talking about their progress in 10-man raiding, my immediate response is to hope they can get into 25-mans soon for their sakes. I know that’s completely irrational of me; a number of 10-man encounters are more challenging than their 25-man counterparts, and plenty of people are happier in the smaller raid sizes, fo various reasons. I sincerely believe 10-man raids are just as real and valid as 25s.

But! I prefer 25s, and it’s so hard not to project this when I’m thinking about what other people want out of the game.

So please educate me, gentle readers – everything else being equal, what kind of PvE content do you prefer?


Dual-Specs Info At Last

Blizzard have finally released information on the dual specs feature talked about for months. You can read the full Q&A on the official site; here are some of the highlights, with my reactions.

Nethaera: Who will be able to use it?
Ghostcrawler: Players who have reached the maximum level will be able to set up dual specs.

Nethaera: Why do players need to be max level in order to do this?
Ghostcrawler: We didn’t want to burden lower-level players with extra complexity as they’re working to level up and learn their class. But if the feature proves popular we might consider expanding it.

Frankly, I hope they do expand it; it’d be tremendously useful to be able to have a DPS spec and a tanking or healing spec while levelling.

Nethaera: How will you be able to set up a dual spec?

Ghostcrawler: Players will be able to visit their trainer and pay a one-time fee to be able to use it.

Nice and easy.

Nethaera: How do you switch between specs?
Ghostcrawler: Players will be able to switch between their talent specs by visiting any Lexicon of Power provided they’ve paid for the ability to have a secondary spec.

Lexicons of Power will be available in major cities, and inscribers will also be able to create a new item that summons one. Anyone can purchase this item, but it requires a ritual of several players to summon it for use by the party. It’s similar to a repair bot in that it will exist in the world for a short duration.

It’s important to keep in mind that you will not be able to switch specs while in combat or Arenas. While you won’t be able to switch your spec without the Lexicon, you will still be able to look at your secondary spec whenever you want to.

Nethaera: Will solo players have the ability to switch their specs outside of the cities or will they still need to visit a Lexicon of Power?
Ghostcrawler: Solo players will still need to go into the city to visit the Lexicon of Power to switch their talent spec or will need to get together with other players to summon one in.

Okay, that’s a pretty awesome way of handling it. I’ll be interested to see whether the item used to summon a Lexicon requires a Scribe to use it – will raids need to take Scribes for Lexicons in the future, in the way they need an Engineer for Repair Bots now? My guess is yes.

Nethaera: Can I respec only one of my talent sets, or will I need to respec them both if I reset one?
Ghostcrawler: When you reset your talents, it will look at the spec you currently have in use as the talent set you want to change.

Excellent. I’d been wondering how they were going to tackle multiple specs for those people for whom two regular specs isn’t enough. You’ll still have to fiddle about with the manual respecs when you go to and from your third spec, but at least it’ll be a simple process.

Nethaera: Will players be confined to only setting up two specs?
Ghostcrawler: We will be launching the feature with just two specs, but depending on how we feel it works out, we might consider additional specs in the future.

Speaking as someone with about five specs to choose from, I hope they decide to add more.

Nethaera: Will you be able to switch gear easily to match your spec?
Ghostcrawler: At the same time we implement dual specs, we will also be setting up a gear system. The feature is called “Gear Manager.” It can also be used to just swap weapons or trinkets or put on that tuxedo to strut around town. It will not automatically switch your gear when you change your talent spec, but it will allow for an easy gear change between them. The feature may not be fully functional immediately in the PTR, but we’ll have more information to share about it before too much longer.

Hello, in-game ItemRack! ItemRack’s one of my ‘can’t live without it’ addons; this might relegate it to a nice optional extra, or replace it altogether.

Nethaera: Will you be able to change your Glyphs as well?
Ghostcrawler: Glyphs will be tied to each talent spec so that if you switch between them, so too will the Glyphs. You’ll notice the UI will have changed a little bit so that the Glyph panes show up alongside the Talent panes now that they are associated.

Excellent! Of course, if you do want to change glyphs around in a raid, you’ll have this handy summonable Lexicon of Power…

Nethaera: What about hotbars? Will players be able to save them for the talent spec they’re running?
Ghostcrawler: Yes, you will be able to save hotbars and use them with your talent specs. It just saves your bars at the same time as it saves the glyphs and talents. If you want to switch to your other action bar, you will need to change specs.

Five bucks says this breaks every hotbar addon in heinous ways. Most of the addon authors will no doubt be all over the PTR getting their addons ready for the changeover; I hope the author of my bar mod of choice (Macaroon) does the same.

Nethaera: Is there a way for players to choose their talents without them being saved? Currently, once you spend your talent point, it’s spent unless you pay the respec cost again.
Ghostcrawler: With the dual spec feature, we are going to allow players who respec to configure all their talents before they get saved. They will be able to allocate the points, then choose if they want to use that as their spec, rather than needing to carefully diagram out their talents ahead of time. This will allow players a little more freedom when deciding on the talents they want to pick and avoid costly mistakes.

Well, there’s a feature that’s about four and half years overdue. ;-)

Loot Progression and Emblem Types

Some information has started to trickle out from Blizzard about the way loot will work in the next tier of raid content. Some of it’s what I expected, some of it surprises me.

Here’s some of what we know, now.

  • There will be a new Emblem type: the Emblem of Conquest.
  • You will be able to spend Emblems of Conquest on Deadly Gladiator gear in the same way you can spend Emblems of Valor on Hateful Gladiator Gear right now.
  • There will be a new boss in a new wing of the Vault of Archavon, who will be able to drop some, but not all, of the new top-tier PvP items (Furious Gladiator gear), random Honor items, and any of the T8 PvE set items.

(Source: this post by Kalgan.)

  • PvE gear progression is basically this: Naxx 10 < Naxx 25 = Ulduar 10 <Ulduar 25.
  • Ulduar-10 will have gear roughly equivalent to Naxx 25 in quality; you gear up for Ulduar-10 in Naxx-10.
  • (That said, Ulduar-10 will have 10-man T8, not recycled 25-man T7.)
  • Ulduar-25 will have gear that’s a step up from the iLvl 213 stuff from Naxx 25; you gear up for Ulduar-25 either in Naxx-25 or Ulduar-10.
  • There’s no mention of a new 10-man Emblem type.
  • The logical conclusion: Emblems of Heroism will continue to buy iLvl 200 stuff (equivalent to Heroic epics and T7.10), but there are no plans for new items at this level. Emblems of Valor will buy iLvl 213 stuff (T7.25 and T8.10). Emblems of Conquest will buy iLvl 226 stuff (T8.25).

(Sources: these posts from Bornakk: 1, 2, 3, 4)

In other words: there’s no benefit to hoarding your Emblems of Heroism, because you won’t be able to buy any new items with them. (I’m spending them on Ret gear.) Emblems of Valor, however, are worth saving for the T8 10-man gear, in case there are some decent sidegrades there.