Not-So-Shocking Conclusions About the Post-Cataclysm Shockadin  

Posted by Dristanel in ,

Depending on how long you've been playing WoW, you may or may not have seen the elusive beast known as the Shockadin. This rare creature resists the lure of vengeance and instead fights with the purity of the Light on his side. He also has a bad habit of being a crazy nutso zealot to anyone that tells him he can't play the way he wants, but I digress.

Shockadins have all but disappeared from modern WoW. Sure, you see a few in arenas, and some staunch protectors of the build still out doing their thing (their thing usually being ~2.5k DPS in heroics...), but for the most part the shockadin died with the release of 3.0.1.

Now that we're nearing 4.0.1, some former shockadins - myself included - have wondered if there might be any hope for this rebel build. At first glance, it seems impossible. You can't make hybrid builds anymore, and all of the bonuses granted to the holy tree do nothing to assist your DPS.

Well, there's good news for those of you that like to be the purple kodo chilling in the pack. Yes, you can create a Shockadin build and hold your own in Cataclysm.

Now, that said, here's what you cannot currently do with a Shockadin build:

  • Your DPS will not be comparable to Ret. Gear itemization makes it almost impossible to strike a good balance between a spell set and a physical DPS set. You also have no way to expend your Holy Power, which is the biggest crippling factor of this build.
  • You probably won't be leveling as quickly. Speed of kills will be slower, and literally, you won't move as fast, as Ret currently has two movement-boosting talents.
  • You're not going to get that hybrid feel. One of the best things about the Shockadin, to me, was the ability to spec down into Prot or Ret and have Holy Shock with something else. Post-Cataclysm, you're not getting Holy Shock + Holy Shield or Seal of Command.

But it functions perfectly fine as a leveling build right now. And who knows. Maybe someday some nutter fanatic will exclaim 'Eureka!' in a frenzy of self-enlightened Shockadin discovery, having portioned out the exact balance of melee stats to spell stats.

Still interested in pursuing the Shockadin way of life? Repeat after me: There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowl--oh, right. Wrong mantra. Here's the build I am using at 80:

I've played around with different gear and have settled on keeping my ret kit equipped. Be aware that mana can definitely be an issue. You'll feel like you're playing the old style of Ret. Fun times.

As for glyphs, I am using: [Pr] Judgement, Holy Shock, Exorcism [Ma] Ascetic Crusader, Divine Plea, Hammer of Wrath [Mi] Might, Kings, Truth. I am blessing Might and running Ret Aura with Truth as a seal.

My rotation is a priority system that goes as follows: Hammer of Wrath, Holy Shock, Exorcism, Judgement, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Consecration. Exorcism should be used when Denounce procs. Since you have no other way to dump Holy Power, use Word of Glory to heal yourself when needed.

So, what's the verdict? In the end, Ret is going to outpace a Shockadin build. That's only going to increase with the disparity in gear and lack of itemization for this build. And honestly, this is as it should be. But if you're interested in reliving the Shockadin glory days, I say go for it. I'll warn you, though, that it's never going to be like those fond memories of pulling ten mobs in Netherstorm and commencing with the holy dervish of pain.

Oh, and to the shipwrecked buddy in the screenshot above, had I not been AFK my response would likely have been: We have to go back!!!1111one


Posted by Dristanel

Gosh, it's been a while. I want to apologize for falling off the face of the earth. Life got crazy, I got unmotivated, etc etc same old story.

However, I'm considering taking back up the blogging venture again. I've been writing articles and blogging commercially now so it'll be good to have something running that's just for me again. Also I noticed Gypsy got her blog up and running again and I'm inspired.

So I'm curious if anyone is still out there! I recently got into the Cataclysm beta and have been tooling around with paladin changes, including healing in heroics with an 85 premade. Yeah. That didn't end well.

What I'm saying is... if you guys are still interested in hearing me blather on, I've got the information. In fact, y'all can share in my pain:

Totally Accurate Paladin Class Changes  

Posted by Dristanel in


Now with 92% more

H'okay. So paladins aren't getting covered in the class design changes preview until April 16th, a week after everyone else. I know you're all freaking out. cause I know we all hang on information that's subject to change at any given time between now and the release of Cataclysm, then again in future patches.

But I have good news. So good, I'm breaking the color scheme of this blog to share it. The paladin class as you know it? Totally wiped. Complete redesign. But what could possibly take the place of such awesome, you ask?


Yep. You heard me. Song-slinging, dress-wearing, lute-strumming minstrels of sheer win.

Remember back in beta when our auras weren't passive, so if we timed it right, we could have more than one up at a time? Welcome to your new class design. Seals, blessings, hands, and every other direct cast spell will be removed from the spellbook in favor of auras out the wazoo.

What kind of auras? Well I'm glad you asked, newly-minted bard! You'll get three different lines of auras in the Protection, Holy, and Retribution trees. Since we only care about holy here (and singing soothes the soul), let's take a look at some choice auras:

Aura of Restoration Rolling HoTs? Screw that. Twisting HoTs, baby.

Lyrande's Locating Aura Someone released and can't find the entrance even though they've been there twenty times? Never fear, a palabard is here to track down your corpse!

Arthas' Acelerando Aspect of the Cheetah? Whatever, hunters!

Uther's Aura of Clarity You wish your Innervate was raid-wide.

Now, you may not be familiar with twisting. It's okay. You can learn. You probably won't ever be awesome at it like some of us old pros, but maybe you can twist three auras. I'll just be over here twisting six, but whatever, you know.

Since auras will no longer be passive, they will have a fixed duration that refreshes as long as the aura is up. Let's say you've got Aura of Restoration running in 10 second intervals. After five seconds, you switch to Uther's Aura of Clarity, and for 5 seconds you have both health and mana regen! See where I'm going with this?

To Awesome Town, that's where.

Oh, and that's not even the best part! Remember how Ragnaros is going to be back? Well, he's going to drop all-new legendary items to start class-specific epic quests! Wanna see your new sword, palabards? I know you do.

Singing Spellsword
+75 CHA (INT is getting placed with CHA just for us, isn't that cool?!), +75 STA
Equip: Regenerates 40 mp5
Equip: Bladedancer's Sonata (raid-wide haste just for being in your awesome presence!)

To everyone who actually gets this post - represent! And Happy 10 Year MMOversery to me! My first ever character was a bard who promptly got lost in the bowels of Blackburrow, never to be seen again...

Friday Ficlet: Nightmares  

Posted by Dristanel in ,

In lieu of anything overly productive to post, I decided to tackle Anna's writing prompt this weekend. As I noted before, IC/story posts will always be sorted without a picture, so you can easily skim them in your feed reader if you so desire. But if you do read this... enjoy! It's proof positive that I love torturing my characters.

Written for Gypsy as much as the prompt. Even if she won't give me that list.

Oh, and this is... way longer than I intended. Also not edited beyond a once-over proofread.

Ratharion immediately noticed two things upon waking: It was uncommonly bright, and he was alone.

Neither of those things gave him too much pause, except that he had evidently overslept his morning duties. The starch-starved jackals could wait a few hours, and at least another on top of that while he oriented himself a bit. The baker made a half-hearted attempt at pushing himself up, flopping back down on the bed with a groan, his hand resting on the vacant pillow beside him. It was still rather warm, so evidently she hadn't left that long ago. It was a small comfort, but one his sleep-hazy mind would accept as he curled a bit closer to her side of the bed.

The opening of his door came as no surprise. He rolled over to face it, drowsy grin and all, just about to murmur something that would likely make no sense, yet would make her smile just the same. But hushed whispers caught his ear and he strained to make out voices.

"...just being lazy, darling. Get him out of bed for me, would you?"

It was Istolla's voice, touched with a light humor. But who was she talking to? He scarcely had time to contemplate as he was, much to his surprise, pounced upon. It wasn't Istolla. Too small to be Istolla. And for as demanding as she could be - when she wanted something, you'd know it - she was usually a bit more subtle in this particular area. He cracked open one eye and smiled. The face that stared back at him was familiar. Wide, green eyes and an expression filled with insatiable curiosity. And a bit of impatience, at present. She looked like her aunt, in fact, and the red curls tumbling over her shoulders didn't help...

Ratharion sat up, frowning. Aurellia didn't have red hair. It was more blonde than her mother's, if anything. Had she dyed it? Some sort of reverence for her aunt? Orora certainly wouldn't be happy about that...

"It's about time you woke up, Daddy."

Daddy? But for all that he was confused, he felt the truth of it as she slipped her arms about his neck and gave him a warm hug. Pulling back he offered a bewildered smile. Light, but she did look like Istolla.

"Can we open presents now?" The girl bounced on the bed exuberantly, evidently having used up what little patience she possessed while waiting for him to wake.


"A common tradition on Winter's Veil, I'm told." There was a gentle mirth to her voice as she stepped into the room, a picture of grace that caught his eye and held him riveted. There was flour on her face and she wore a rather simple dress of a dark green, but he was fairly certain she had never looked more breathtaking. She sat on the edge of the bed and presented a tray of cookies that - well, had been iced by a child, quite obviously. "Your daughter and I did the baking this morning. Happy Winter's Veil, Pussycat." She leaned in to kiss him, then further to whisper in his ear. "You can unwrap the rest of your present later."

A shiver ran down his spine as she pulled back, donning an innocent expression but for the devious smirk of victory on her lips. Before he could contemplate that, his daughter was in his lap again, insisting he try one of the cookies. He chose one carefully - or rather, with her guidance and continual 'Not that one!' swallowed in a sheet of giggles - and took a bite, grinning with approval and a fair bit of pride. The girl's face seemed to light at this and he felt a sense of contentment wash over him. This was right. But still, something tugged at the back of his mind...

"Get dressed, beloved. We have company." She collected the child, brushing her lips over his cheek before standing, presenting him with neatly pressed red robes adorned in gold trim.

They looked... disturbingly familiar. "Istolla, these are..."

"His robes, yes." She wore a girlish smile. "I thought it only appropriate."

He looked at them skeptically, then back at her. "Appropriate for what, exactly?"

She smiled at him, shaking her head, and nudged the girl toward the door. "Meet us downstairs, you silly thing. I'm sure he's already waiting."

Ratharion would have asked questions, but she was suddenly gone, and he found himself in the hall, dressed in those ridiculously pompous robes. They clung to him, weighing him down, making him feel rather disgusted with himself. But he continued on regardless.

The force of the man's presence hit him on the stairs, alluring and all-too-familiar. Even if he hadn't caught a glimpse of the golden hair and the proud, poised stature, there was no mistaking him. And at present he was seated rather too close to Istolla, holding her hand in both of his while their daughter sat beside him, transfixed. Ratharion was about to open his mouth - say something; anything - when the Prince turned slowly, a charming smile gracing his features. "Dear boy, come and sit. I have wonderful news."

He found himself compelled to obey, even as his mind reeled at the very thought. Taking a seat across from the man, he observed the scene that was unfolding before him. Kael'thas was in his sitting room. Somehow decidedly not dead. And he had Istolla - whom he now encircled possessively with one arm - and his daughter fawning all over him, held rapt with anticipation. Ratharion could form several thoughts, not the least of which involved the Prince's gruesome demise, but he could string none of them into coherent sentences, instead just gaping like the fool he was.

"I wanted to thank you, Ratharion. You've taken excellent care of my property while I've been detained." Property? He tried to protest with as much venom as he could muster, but was unable to manage even a word. "You will be pleased to know I am relieving you of your duties, Confessor. You needn't play house anymore." He stroked a hand through Istolla's hair, petting her as he would a dog, and smiled as she submissively curled into him.

"What the hell is this?" He found his voice, finally, but it sounded weak and dry; hollow and sucked into the void created by the Prince's presence.

Kael'thas Sunstrider - or what passed for him, as Ratharion was certain he was never that tall or that damned... bright - gave a dismissive wave of his hand as he stood with a sweeping grace, slowly approaching Ratharion. Cold, calculating eyes appraised him and the faintest smirk touched his lips. "Just how did you think this was going to play out, boy? They were never yours to begin with. And though I've missed a few years..." He turned slightly, aiming a lascivious grin at Istolla as his gaze roved over her figure. "I will enjoy reacquainting myself with what is mine. Now, be a good lad and drink this."

Somehow his long fingers had curled around a cup of tea - or rather, a bit of hot water and what looked to be mostly bloodthistle, the liquid reeking of it. In what must have been a blink, the cup was in Ratharion's hands, pressed to his lips, and he was drinking, his family nowhere in sight.


He woke with a start, sweat beaded on his brow, heart racing, breath shallow and labored. Sitting bolt upright he surprised his bedmate who made a bewildered sound of protest before waking more fully. In an instant her hands were resting on the sides of his face and she was whispering calming words, her forehead pressed to his. Just a dream. Nothing more. Still shaking, Ratharion wrapped his arms around her and tried desperately to forget.

Top Ten Things Paladins Can Do (In Bed)  

Posted by Dristanel in

Om nom an egg!That's right. I got this list out before somebody published the mage one. What a tease. I know you're eagerly awaiting my list, but some news before that. First, we got Sindragosa down Saturday night! She dropped her pretty blue shield. It's not better than the 25 one I have, but it's... pretty. So I'm keeping it.

Second, my posting will likely slow for a couple weeks while I figure some things out and take a bit of a WoW break. Fighting the edge of burnout, and I don't want to push myself there for fear of not blogging. So I present to you this veritable treasure trove of nonsense in the meantime:

In case it wasn't clear, this post is entirely not-safe-for-work.

Beacon of Light Shit. Where did I leave my fucking bra. Shit shit shit. I need to get out of here before he wa-- oh, look. He's radiating a bright, holy light while he sleeps. And there's my bra, under the fucking sofa.

Sacred Shield It's okay, baby. I got it covered. Nah, it won't break. Promise.

Divine Favor You know what they say about paladins. All secluded with crazy ideas and strict rules. Eager to please just for the chance to get some.

Hammer of Justice The hammer is... oh, nevermind. But just where do you think Captain Hammer got his material from, huh? That's right.

Divine Plea Please let me beat my five minute record. Followed by...

Concentration Aura Discipline, baby. You priests got nothing on us.

Summon: Charger Yeah. That's being generous. Don't shatter our dreams.

Crusader Aura For when you want to fit a 'nooner between visits to the Citadel.

Lay on Hands You knew it was going to be in here. Don't act all shocked.

And last but certainly not least...

Redemption Making it with a foxy paladin? Doesn't count, sister. We're above reproach. So if you have some silly 'Must be a virgin to fulfill a sacrificial prophecy' thing going on? We've got you covered. Besides, you know what they say. Once you go paladin...

...Nothing rhymes with paladin.


Edit: As it turns out, a lot of things rhyme with paladin! I think I'm going to agree that "Once you go paladin, you'll be absolved of sin." Which would totally make Cleanse an honorary mention on this list.

Thanks to Josh from Eye for an Eye for the suggestions!

Don't-Quit-Your-Day-Job Holy Paladin PvP  

Posted by Dristanel in ,

Disclaimer: I am not a PvPer. Never have been never will be. I am a PvEr who sometimes dabbles in PvP when she is after something. Like stone keeper's shards for heirloom shoulders. Or a new mount. Or because I get mildly crazy when I'm not sleeping and for some reason actually have the desire to PvP. Take all of this for what it is: A PvE-paladin's guide to PvP.

Little known fact about me: I started on a PvP server. In fact, it's where I learned to love being a paladin. Originally I leveled a hunter to 50 before I began leveling the paladin, and the difference was night and day. People left me alone. And people that didn't leave me alone soon learned I just wasn't worth the trouble. I couldn't kill anybody, no. But damned if I couldn't just annoy people until they went away. There's something about being invulnerable, then invulnerable again, then healing yourself that really irks some folks. Can't imagine why.

So yes, I have delved into pvp as a paladin. In fact some of my fondest memories of the class were right after Alterac Valley opened. I was on my human paladin (obviously) with a prot warrior in tow. She'd charge in and distract a mass of people, I'd heal her from afar, and when the cavalry arrived to back us up or swoop in on an objective, it was a very satisfying feeling. Did we contribute directly to a kill? Hell no. But without us there, our allies would have had a much rougher go of it.

That's what playing a holy paladin in PvP is like, more or less. All of the work, none of the glory. But you're used to that, right? You're a PvE healer. Everybody hates you and it's always your fault. Also, 3.45647784 mins til Kings drops, refresh it NOW, bitch.

As if that wasn't bad enough, now you've decided to martyr yourself for some noble cause and queue for a random battleground, or perhaps boldly step through the Wintergrasp portal. My guess is you want something shiny. War mounts now at 50k honor? Sure! Free yellow gems (let's be realistic here, you're not gemming anything else) for life? Why not! Whoring out your paladin for heirlooms? That's cold, brah.

Regardless, here are the top five things (in no particular order) I've learned as a PvE player trying to PvP. Note that this is primarily BGs. I have very little experience in arenas. With no resilience gear, most of my time in arenas has been spent... dead.

1. You are a defender. Your best place is on defense, holding an objective with at least one other person. This means nodes in Arathi Basin, towers/bunkers in Alterac Valley, the fortress in Wintergrasp, etc. There are exceptions to this, of course. You make a great flag assist in Warsong Gulch due to hands, cleanses, and other utility spells, but that's still a role that's focusing on the defense of an ally. You're there to help other people do their job. It's not as glorious as the person topping the killing blows chart, and if you're doing your job to its full potential, you may not even see huge healing numbers. Your job is to keep yourself alive first, so that you may keep your allies alive.

2. Use the right buffs. Under most circumstances, you should be Beaconing yourself. You can also Sacred Shield yourself, but if you notice someone being focus-fired, your shield can help them out. You have other ways of saving yourself. Forget blessing wisdom - mana won't be an issue, period. Bless kings on yourself and on your allies unless they request something different. And don't forget Righteous Fury if you're spec'd for the damage reduction! Every little bit helps.

3. Forget your PvE healing know-how. Just toss it out the window. Holy Light is not going to cut it here, and there is no slow, predictable damage. PvP is all about quick reaction time, and you need to be on your toes. Holy Shock and Flash of Light will comprise most of your healing arsenal. If you are properly hasted you might be able to get away with Holy Light on players who aren't being heavily focus-fired, but it can be very dicey.

4. Learn to love your utility spells. All those hands you only use situationally in PvE? (You are using them in PvE, right?) You should be using them all the time in PvP. Hand of Protection on the mage who just got jumped by a rogue. Hand of Sacrifice on the gent who's bravely broken through the front lines and is now taking heavy siege damage. Hand of Freedom on the flag carrier who just got snared. Hand of Salvation... alright, not so much. And for the love of your Holy tree, Ceanse those hunter stings, paladins! There's no excuse to let your health or mana be drained.

5. Expect to die. A lot. Even as a paladin, you're going to die. Just get used to it. Until you build up a resilience set, if you care to do so, there will still be folks who can just tear through you. Eventually someone is going to notice you're the one keeping everyone else from dying, and you'll be focus-fired. You can and should bubble if staying alive will mean the difference between a goal and/or match, but eventually you have to have a nice chat with reality: you're going to be face down in the dirt/snow/sand. That's life. Or death, as it were. Suck it up and deal.

To reiterate, I am not one to be giving you the best PvP advice, but if you're after something specific and want to dabble, these general tips should help you toward that feat. Good luck and happy annoying-people-to-death!

Obeying the Muse  

Posted by Dristanel in ,

In celebration of six months of Jaded Alt, Windsoar proposed a challenge to her commenters: Do whatever I say. Yep. Quite the taskmaster, that one. Responding to the whip appeal, I am tackling the topic she suggested for me:

When I first visited your website I was absolutely blown away by your theme–the artwork, sidebars and even the fancy script. I know you were also kind enough to donate a beautiful button to A Healadin’s Tear for a blogging contest.

I’d like to know more about the artist! Is it a hobby, a passion, something you learned just to set up your blog? (haha)

I've always maintained I am a much better writer than an artist, but you folks have indulged me with kind words, so I'm posting a bit more. The answer to that question would probably take a lot more explanation, but here's the basic rundown: It is a hobby, one I've dabbled in for years, starting rather young and becoming a bit more serious about improving in high school.

The digital art is my favorite medium, so I'll discuss that mainly, I suppose. I use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS2 - Photoshop is for the majority of the images in this post, Illustrator is what I use for the RSS icons and other vector images. I initially would make a sketch with Col-Erase pencils (love those things, especially the photo blue one) and scan it in, then do more with it in Photoshop. But once I scrounged together the money for a decent tablet (I use a Wacom Graphire 8x8) I started sketching in Photoshop with a custom brush that's set to emulate a fairly hard sketching pencil.

I've tried a lot of different styles and it's difficult for me to say which I like best. They've all ended in some interesting pictures. Cel-shading is fairly easy - I could knock out a portrait for a tabletop game in 3 hours start-to-finish - but I also like the quick, loose lines of speed-painting. And there's a nice sense of completion in a full-on painting that you've spent over 20 hours working on.

My explorations in digital art started when I was playing EQ2. That eventually turned into a modified DnD game, and I made character portraits for most of the main characters. More tabletop campaigns (I think we went through Werewolf, Mage, Shadowrun, DnD... mind-changing GM is mind-changey <.< ) and more portraits later, I decided I really liked making things for friends. Unlike writing, art provides fairly instant gratification, and I could finish a piece without spending days, months, or years writing and proofing.

In 2006 I decided I liked it so much that I would enroll in a Game Art and Design program. I graduate from that in May (yay!) with a Bachelor's, and it's certainly been an interesting ride. I've been exposed to so many different mediums I thought I would hate but have very much enjoyed. Photo manipulations, for one, are an absolute blast. Bringing a ton of stock images together to form a cohesive image with a solid theme is a lot of fun.

Most of my recent 'art' work has been done in 3D Studio Max. I've done everything from creating simple polygon meshes to building a full game level mock-up, complete with textures done in Photoshop. Which, for the record, seems boring but is also a lot of fun. Turning a flat block into a brick wall just by applying a nice texture with appropriate bump and spec maps is an exciting process to me, and something I'd like to explore in the future.

Unfortunately, I've lost my tablet in this mess I call an apartment, or I'd still be sketching and painting. It's good stress relief, and these days I can use every ounce of that, so I may try to dig it out one of these days and fire up the drivers.