I’ve been seeing a lot of variation around the block when it comes to spirit. As I commented last week at Beru’s blog, I felt that I was in a mite nifty place, not running out of mana too early, but having a nice little cushion when a fight demanded it. However, this week, not only did I get my tier chest, I picked up the heroic leg and chest token as well as the random stat shoulders with a bit of intellect, stamina, haste and mastery.
Since I suddenly found myself in such an awesome sea of stat upgrades, I decided to play a bit with my gear-set and talents. So if you like anecdotal tales come sit around the campfire and review a night of changes with me!
All that discussion about spirit really made me take a look at how I reforge. While I regularly reforge major stats while working on my boomkin set, for my healer, I expect that my staying power will become a massive thing as a tier progresses. I mean, that’s the history of mana pools and raiding. You start with a struggling healer that ends every battle crying for mercy, then you become more powerful until it is impossible to make you whimper in despair (at least where mana is concerned).
I definitely followed this model in T11. I was comfortably riding the wave of my haste cap, had a good collection of mastery, and was quite happy with my 2k spirit. I was feeling so good about my mana, that I had gone with a 10/0/31 specialization. Concentration pots, much less mana pots, were a thing of the past as I happily hovered anywhere between 20-40% of my total pool at the end of every fight whether progression or not. I was happily complacent about my this state of affairs.
Then we started raiding Firelands. While I love upgrading a new piece and maximizing that intellect, my secondary stat arrangement took a rapid nose-dive. Haste was falling off my gear in waves. I didn’t want to be one of those players who holds upgrades, legitimate upgrades, in abeyance until I met some perfect arrangement of gear pieces. With every new piece of gear I ended up juggling gems and reforges trying to meet some happy medium that was no longer attainable. I finally broke down, accepted that I couldn’t meet my haste cap on my own, and begged the resident warlock to share his DI.
My spirit creeped up a bit during this time, but nothing ground-breaking. As of Monday, I was floating a little over 2100 spirit. Mana was rarely, if ever an issue. I might use a mana pot from time to time if I dipped around the 20% mark, but I definitely wasn’t in conservation mode. And then, the huge upgrades began.
The tier chest I picked up Tuesday night was immediately turned into a heroic chest, my legs got the upgrade, and my shoulders went from T11 to a heroic version of T12. I’m honestly surprised our feral druid didn’t turn into a flaming kitty and maul me over that chest. I happily went to kit out my new gear, and without even breaking a sweat (or visiting the reforgers) I had reached my haste cap.
“Well,” says I, “what now?”
I had tons of unforged gear. Somehow, it just didn’t seem right. I went to WoW reforge and played around a bit with different combinations. Finally, I decided on a complete overhaul of my gearing choices and talents. Remembering all those spirit discussions of the last few weeks, I decided to be fearless… or stupid. I aggressively reforged spirit from my gear, replacing it with mastery. The results are honestly kind of scary.
Feeling a little woozy over my spiritual decline, I went back to a 8/2/31 talent specialization. My thinking was my mastery had taken such a huge shot in the arm, that I could afford to lose a little bit of talented spell increases in favor of a larger mana pool. I also picked up Fiery Quintessence in favor of Fall of Mortality and quickly slaved it to my innervate.
We were supposed to be starting on heroic Rhyolith for the night, but we only had 9 players available until 9:30ish, so we decided to work on Rhy’s achievement and start attempts on heroic Staghelm. Let me just say that I wish I’d thought some things through!
For the most part, the night went just fine. I could survive a heroic-mode fight (or a somewhat normal fight) with no problems. What I didn’t count on was losing my spirit trinket for the night as we worked on Staghelm and utilized those long-neglected Tol Barad trinkets. 1400 spirit vs. 1700 spirit is a noticeable difference. The amazing thing (to me) is that it was actually o.k. I definitely had to pay strict attention to needed healing vs. I’m bored have a rejuvenation style healing.
The bad thing about 1400 spirit is that if you die, you’re absolutely worthless for the rest of the fight. Especially if you were diligent and innervated early. Or forgot to bring concentration pots because you haven’t used them since heroic Magmaw. A mana pot doesn’t make a dent, and those T12 mana returns don’t add up fast enough when you’re dealing with ferocious scorpion swipes.
As difficult as some attempts were I definitely intend to keep my spirit lower than I had before. However, I hate being stuck sucking on fumes too. I also failed to take into account my boomkin spec at all in this endeavor, and I’m sure I’ve left for my poor lazer chicken looking confused as death rays bounce of bosses. My plans now are to reforge to comfortably accommodate my dps spec, which should bring me up to 1700, and stay with the spirit trinket… for now. I think another night or two should tell me whether I really need those innervate bursts, or can handle things with a normal boost in between my natural mana regen. I’m also definitely raiding the guild bank and picking up some more concentration pots!
Will this work for you? That really, really depends on where you are with extra stats and mana consumption. Although I’ve got just one night with the new changes, looking at my average mana regen vs. Thursday nights, I lost ~200k mana regen over the course of the night. That’s a lot of mana. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest taking the Wind nose-dive challenge either ;) It’s a little disconcerting working on new attempts without a firm grasp of how your little blue bar is going to perform. However, I would suggest that there’s no reason to assume that as you progress in the content that you will always find yourself with more mana at the end of fights.
Reforging is here, and spirit isn’t safe! It can be worth challenging yourself and paring that blue bar down to size.