The highly anticipated patch is live, and after reading about it at Wow Insider and playing some of the new “toys” myself, here are a few of my “first impressions”:

Disc Priest

Love my Disc Priest, but haven’t done the healer thing very much since all the changes back in November, especially with all the mostly negative reports coming from the official WoW Priest and Healer forums.

So…I was looking forward to healing again after this patch was implemented as it seemed to address a few concerns regarding mechanics and bug fixes.

I queued up as Healer on the Love is in the Air Holiday Boss as I figured it would be a good opportunity to try out a few things and see how this new Disc worked.

I mean, after all it’s just a boss and a few adds – not as if it’s waves of trash packs and gimmicky boss fights.

Everything seemed to start out okay, but then the tank and a DPS started to take some damage.  No problem, I was just bubbling the tank (no one else to save mana) and throwing out a PoM, Penance, Heal or Greater Heal as required.

Halfway through the fight I was out of mana.  I’m sure I wasn’t throwing out heals willy-nilly but the mana bar kept dropping, damage was going up and I was running out of options.

I suppose in a normal instance I would just let the DPS die if it was between saving a DPS and the tank, but for crying out loud – this was a Holiday Boss!

I decided to throw a bubble on the DPS for a moment until I got the tank up to a “safe” level (I wasn’t even trying to keep everyone topped up), then threw a couple of small heals to save the DPS before he kicked the bucket.

My theory was that since I was almost OOM, it would be in my best interest to keep everyone alive to get the boss down fast instead of slowing down the fight and running completely OOM and just standing there like a stupid.

So now what do I do?  I frantically searched through my bags for a leftover mana pot from the good old Wrath days, drank that, then sent out my Shadow Fiend and even threw a few Smites at the tank’s target.

I must be doing it wrong – I shouldn’t be running OOM in a simple little Holiday Boss.

By the way, whatever developer(s) decided mana management was actually a genuine “fun” mechanic to the game were probably dipping a little too deep in the “happy juice.”

A nice toolbox of spells and making decisions about what to use is fun – limited choices because of mana mangement is NOT fun.  Just saying.

Unfortunately, I haven’t found any tips or strategies for the Disc Priest “in between” place where one is still working on gear upgrades.

To quote the “Discipline Healing Guide and Discussion” sticky at the official WoW forum:

To start, I believe that in the current state that discipline priests in primarily i346 gear or higher who correctly prioritize their healing can, with some knowledge of predictable damage, heal equally or better than all other classes providing they use the proper spec and healing rotations. . . .

There are three basic healing styles for discipline which depend on the type of incoming damage, and are as follows. If you cannot heal the encounter with these strategies, you cannot heal that encounter at your current gear level OR you have DPS taking unnecessary damage.

Note: Emphasis mine.

Okay…sounds good but my gear average is i329 so what do you do before you have i346 gear?

Are the changes to Disc an improvement?  I have no idea.  I’m guessing the number people are busy calculating it out with their spreadsheets so I expect the answer to that will be out shortly!

Fishing

I was happy to see that the “Bobber” timeout problem appears to be fixed.  I’m sure I caught that elusive Sea Turtle about 50 times during the guild fishing contest but lost it because of the timeout issue (that’s my theory and I’m sticking with it.)

The new “hook” graphic is nice but I liked the little “fish” graphic better – less “stuff”.

I’m also thrilled that the rare fishing poles will also be a chance drop in the Stormwind/Orgrimmar fishing dailies – twice as many opportunities to be disappointed (ha ha)!

I hope the Worthless Pieces of Glass will also be included.  I’m gathering up quite an impressive collection of those….

Cooking

The cooking quest for Confectioner’s Sugar now has more spawn points, but I found this actually takes longer to run around looking for them (think “Juicy Apples”.)  If a vendor has a couple for sale I’ll just buy them.

I wouldn’t call this a big improvement but once all the new spawn points are known it might speed things up a bit.

Archaeology

Archaeology now shows fragment counts and best of all, the vendor price for most grey items has been increased!  I’m glad I saved my Chest of Tiny Glass Animals – a whopping 100g!

I believe the Survey timer cool down has also been reduced, but since all I have up to solve at the moment are common items, I still can’t force myself to do any Archaeology until the “extreme boredom” factor has been fixed!

Guild Perks – Armadillo

The guild reputation to obtain this pet was reduced to “Revered” from “Exalted”, so I raced over to the guild vendor and purchased my Armadillo.

Armadillo Pup

Armadillo Pup

This is the best change of all – now I can have an Armadillo Pup rather than wait until that long, long grind to Exalted!

The Worst Patch Change?

Okay, I haven’t read all the patch details yet and didn’t see this one, but I noticed that now when one mounts/dismounts the animation is accompanied by a “puff” of smoke or dust or something.

This is horrid.  It adds nothing except obscure your ability see what is immediately around you (very “handy” when trying to land in a strategic position in a group of mobs) and even worse, it’s just a very ugly, dull grey graphic.

No way to get rid of it except to set the “Particle” in video all the way down to “low” and all that does is reduce it a bit and of course, reduces ALL particles in the game.

I hate it.  Get rid of it, or at least give me the option to turn it off.

One last thing – is it just me or has the loud “sound effect” when one clicks “Play” been ramped up again?

I thought the volume on that thing had been reduced a few patches ago….

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