Category Archives: Druid
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost been a year since Cataclysm was first released. There’s been a lot that has happened – good things, bad things, and things in between that people really aren’t sure about. The expansion on a whole seems to be controversial in the fact that some believe it’s been a big success, while others believe it’s been a failure. I personally think that it’s an experiment that was partially successful, but that’s for another time.
As of November 29th, the beginning of the end of Cataclysm is upon is.
Blizzard has said that this will be the last full content patch for the expansion, and that this will basically be the end for updates before Mists of Pandaria comes out. This could be taken two ways: the optimistic way, thinking that we’ll be seeing MoP sooner rather than later and won’t have to do this content forever; or the pessimistic way, thinking that we’ll be doing the exact same content for a year, as we did with Icecrown Citadel at the end of Wrath of the Lich King (Ruby Sanctum doesn’t count).
Unfortunately I don’t work for Blizzard, and I don’t know when they hope to release MoP. Like everyone else, I’d rather see it sooner rather than later, but we know that it will be done when it’s done. However, all that being said, I’d like to take the optimistic view.
The 4.3 content patch has a lot in it. Not only do we get the new raid on Deathwing, but there are three new 5-man dungeons, a revamped Darkmoon Faire, Transmogrification, Void Storage, the Raid Finder, a bunch of new items from the raids and other content, and a whole bunch of balance changes. It would take too long to go through each one, so I’ll suggest you check out WoW Insider’s guide to Patch 4.3 to get the details about many of the new features.
Briefly, I’m very happy with Transmogrification. The interface is incredibly easy to use, and I finally am rewarded for being such a packrat for all these years. I was able to have one of my favourite looks of the Tier 5 shoulders and Wildfury Greatstaff for my Druid, which really makes me happy and nostalgic.
Void Storage is nice, but unfortunately a bit too restrictive. I have a lot of stuff in my bank from the many holidays that have come around, and I was hoping to empty a bunch out to free up some room. The biggest thing is that items labelled “unique” or items not soulbound cannot be deposited to VS. Many tabards, as well as other holiday things are all unique, and some of the holiday items like the Brewfest and Winter Veil gear are not soulbound, but I wanted to keep them nonetheless. So I deposited what I could, and at least freed up some room.
The Raid Finder has been one of the things I’ve been looking forward to most. As I’ve mentioned before, my schedule is very weird for when I can raid, so now I can raid whenever I want – as long as there’s enough other people queuing as well. I was able to get into a group, and successfully get the four bosses currently available with little drama. We only wiped twice, and there were people taking charge of the raid to get things done.
We also got Tyrael’s Charger. It’s pretty.
All in all, there’s some great new content that everyone can enjoy no matter what you do. Raider, casual player, leveling player, there’s something for everyone. As I experience more of the new content, I’ll post my thoughts about some of them. In the meantime, happy exploring!
The words “DON’T PANIC” are inscribed in large, friendly letters on the front of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
When something new comes, there’s only a few different ways that people can react. If the new thing looks appealing and pleasing to the person, there’s a sense of excitement and anticipation. If the new thing doesn’t hold any interest to the person, there’s a bunch of apathy and boredem. If the new thing looks not good at all to the person, there’s a sense of doom, dread, and panic.
Something new came this week.
Earlier in the week, Blizzard released an early look at the Mists of Pandaria talent and spec calculator. It shows every class, what their new talent tree will look like, and more importantly what the different specs will look like come patch 5.0 and the release of the new expansion.
If you missed it, at BlizzCon it was revealed that talent specs are changing with MoP. Rather than just adding to a specific arsenal of abilities that every class has, each spec will become even more specialized. As an example, only Fire mages will have Fireball and only Frost mages will have Frostbolt, but every mage will have Frostfire bolt.
Between BlizzCon and now, there has been a bunch of speculation about how much each class would change. With the new calculator, it’s shown that every class will be changing, but each class has differing amount of change. The pure DPS classes seem to be having less change than the hybrids, which seems to give the impression that Blizzard wants the spec to do one thing and one thing only – which is what they spec into.
The big disclaimer that has been stated is that this is a “pre-alpha” build, meaning that the information given can and more than likely will change between now and release. Bashiok said that they are giving this information out because they want to get feedback from the players and see what can be improved or tweaked. If you decide to leave a note for Blizzard, just please remember the most important thing (and Wheaton’s Law): Don’t Be A Dick.
Since my main is a Feral DPS Druid, I thought I’d give my impressions about that class.
One big change to Druids is one that all hybrids who can do any sort of healing are experiencing. If you’re not specced into the healing tree, there will be very limited choice for what healing abilities will be present. Rather than having Healing Touch, Regrowth, Nourish, Rejuvenation, and Lifebloom – it’s down to Nourish and Rejuvenation that are baseline. All of the other spells will be available at certain levels if you spec into Resto.
On the other hand, the times when a Bear could do decent DPS while not tanking are long gone. Druids are having the distinction of being the only class that will now have four specs: Balance (Moonkin), Restoration (Tree), Feral (Cat), and Guardian (Bear). If you want to be a bear, you’re a tank and a tank only. Even though this is definitely a loss for Druids, it is bringing us in line with the other classes that are out there. A Protection Warrior isn’t able to do good DPS while still in spec, why should a Bear be able to shift to Cat and do well?
That was definitely one of the benefits of being a Druid in the first place, and we’ll still have a limited capacity for it with the level 90 talent of Heart of the Wild (there are some bloggers out there who think that it will not be very useful at all – which I’m inclined to agree with). However, Druid specs will most definitely be very specialized.
The biggest news that I’ve seen so far is the new level 87 ability called Symbiosis. The text reads: “Creates a symbiotic link which grants the druid one ability belonging to the target’s class, varying by the druid’s specialization. In exchange, grants the target one druid ability based on their class and combat role. Lasts 1 hour and persists through death.”
On first glance, this looks absolutely amazing. Of course, this likely means that it won’t be as amazing as we hope it will be. Lissanna at Restokin gave a really good writeup about how she thinks it will work, and I think she has the right idea. It will probably take a specific ability from each class, rather than taking a random one, and since it will last an hour and persists through death it shouldn’t be left up to chance. Unfortunately, this won’t be able to be properly tested until the beta comes out, so until then we’ll be left with speculation (unless Blizzard decides to give us details about how it exactly works… /wink).
As with expansions in the past, we just have to get used to the “new normal”. There are things we may not like, but at the moment they’re not set in stone. If this is how things look when MoP is launched, then there might be some other words being used at the time.
I think that things are going in the right track, but will definitely need some tweaking. While we see the specs make the player focus on a specific role, there are then talents which encourage us to do other roles… but we won’t have as many tools to do said roles. It just doesn’t make much sense to me now. We’ll see how things go as time progresses – just remember, the game isn’t even close to being out yet.
What defines a person? What is the thing that is at their core, which makes them who they are? There can be many things that do this, which can be small or large parts of their lives. As a gamer, we have a way to extend these definitions of ourselves into the virtual world through the characters we play.
Of course, not everyone does this. There are people who play only for the enjoyment of what a certain character can do or a role that is required. I believe that someone who truly enjoys playing a certain character does so because it’s something they can identify with.
Looking back at the characters I’ve played over the years, I can see a progression of how I identified with these characters and why I chose what I did. More so, I can see why I’ve stuck with my Tauren Druid so long and still really enjoy playing him.
Of my many characters, I’m only going to focus on two: my previous main, a Blood Elf Paladin and my current main, a Tauren Druid.
I stuck with my Paladin for a long time, starting on BC launch day and raiding as a healer through Tier 5 stuff (Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep). This was my first experience playing a melee oriented class that I actually enjoyed, as previously I had played only ranged/magic classes in my online gaming career. With this character, I found that I could identify with him somewhat.
In real life, I’m a very ordinary guy. I work for a living, I have a great family, I do very normal stuff. However, part of what I do in my job is help people out (since I work for a bank, it just happens to be financial help), and that is part of who I am.
When I focused on being a healer and a paladin, I could identify with what the paladin is supposed to be. A protector of others, putting other people ahead of one’s self. As I was healing my guildmates and keeping them alive through these encounters, I could see myself in that role as well. Because of this, I believe that I stayed with the character for a while.
The Paladin was a member of the Blood Knights, originally siphoning power from M’uru, and thinking that he was just doing this for his own advancement. Yet, as time went on he realized that he actually liked being able to help others out. Rather than just being another Blood Elf minion, he established himself as a member of his guild and a vital member of a raiding team. When he found out about the betrayal of Prince Kael’thas, he decided to focus on the friends he had made in his guild and only be loosely affiliated with the Blood Knights, even though the Sunwell was restored.
My current main character was born because my wife had recently started playing WoW as well, and we wanted to level characters together. She had created a Tauren Shaman, and I wanted to create a new Druid – hoping that it was better than the original time I tried to level one in Vanilla. We had a lot of fun, and made it to max level in Burning Crusade, and I eventually made him my new main.
I see my Druid’s identity as part of that original experience. He was going through the world with his wife, trying to help people out and bring glory to the Horde. His loyalty is first to his family, then to his fellow Tauren, then the Horde. This is basically how I am in my real life situation.
Our experiences shape who we are, in-game and out. Whether that is a traumatic experience that makes you cringe when you see spiders, or a smile whenever you see kittens because you just love them. If you value protecting others by keeping them safe, a healer or tank might be a good option for you because it aligns with natural personality. If you protect others by removing things that would cause others harm, there’s DPS for you. What type of DPS? Take out your frustration by stabbing things as a rogue. Enjoy setting things on fire as a warlock.
WoW’s longevity can be credited to a number of things, and I believe that relatable characters is a very big part. I wrote about this before regarding NPCs, but this definitely also applies to player-controlled characters as well. Why have a hero if you hate being that person?
It’s not just any Tuesday today. Maestro, please begin the ominous music.
Today is when patch 4.2 hits North American/Oceanic realms for World of Warcraft. It’s been just over six months since Cataclysm was released, and our first major content patch with new and exciting things to do. We technically have had a content patch already, but redoing two existing instances takes a lot less work than a whole new raid and daily quest hub.
To say that there are a lot of changes is quite the understatement. I will be referencing links from WoW Insider throughout, and the best place to get a run down of the major changes is their guide to patch 4.2.
The major points of the patch are the inclusion of the Firelands raid and the Molten Front daily quest hub. Ultimately defeating Ragnaros once and for all, the raid also includes the chance to get a new DPS caster legendary staff. Similar to the Isle of Quel’Danas, the Molten Front area is a daily quest area that advances along with personal progression (I touched on this on a previous article).
For the first time with a patch, we actually have explanations for the class balance changes that came along with it. Ghostcrawler took every single change and said why they made them in point form. Rather than just saying “here you go, deal with it”, we at least have an idea of the philosophy the developers use when making their decisions. There are a great number of changes, best to take a look at which ones apply to your own class(es).
Another great change is the Dungeon Journal, which includes a version of AtlasLoot. Once again we see Blizzard taking addons that they like and feel should be part of the default UI and incorporating them. The Journal has information all the fights of Cataclysm content (will be expanded for the rest of the game eventually, I’m sure), along with abilities that the bosses use and gear that can drop. Currently there is the gear information on the Battle.net website, but this is a great way so people don’t have to use a third-party addon or alt-tab to find out what drops from a certain boss.
Lastly, one of my favourite things about 4.2 is the inclusion of a great cosmetic change. Since I’m back to being feral DPS, I can be a flaming kitty! I believe that it only requires the person to have the staff that drops from Fandral, and whenever you’re in cat form you become a cat… on fire. Dragonwrath turns the caster into a dragon with a proc, but it looks like this is a passive cosmetic change.
I hope that this opens the door for more cosmetic changes down the road, as we really need them – especially for druids. We have great gear, but in combat we’re in the shapeshift forms and are unable to see the great looks. The community has been asking for changes such as this for years, so hopefully we’ll see more down the road.
New content is awesome. I know I’ve been getting impatient, as this six month period since Cataclysm released seems to have gone by very slowly. Hopefully I’ll be able to raid the new place, for the main reason of becoming a flaming kitty. Otherwise, at least I’ll have the new daily quest area to keep me busy for a while.
There are times when I wish I wasn’t as accommodating. Yet, I only have myself to blame for it. I try to do things with the best intentions, but sometimes things just don’t work out.
In this case, it all has to do with my DPS specs. A while back now, I decided to change from feral cat DPS to a boomkin because the guild needed more ranged people. I volunteered, because I always wanted to try the spec out and see what it’s like. One of the biggest problems is that I barely make it to the raids due to real life schedules, so in the end I didn’t really do much to help the guild out with getting a ranged class.
Finding that I was missing being feral DPS, I decided to change my second spec (feral tanking, which I had not used once since I got the spec set up and reforged all the gear) back to a kitty and tried it out in a heroic to see how I would do. For comparison, as a boomkin I would average around 8-10k DPS – which is not very good at all – by any comparison for my gear level.
My first thought was: “Why in the world did I ever switch?”
After doing a heroic Zul’Aman, my average DPS for the entire instance was around 13.6k, and my highest was around 18k for Nalorakk. At first I thought it was just that instance, but after thinking more I realized that it’s just something I’m so used to doing that it flows easier.
One thing I was really bad about as a boomkin was my DoT uptime. There were some fights where I was below 30%, because I just forgot to reapply it with being so focused on my regular rotations. Fortunately as a kitty, the DoTs that I use aer some of the most important parts of my rotation and come naturally. That in itself is a great way to make sure I don’t slack.
Plus, I found I was getting bored with being a boomkin. There were definitely fun parts about it, but altogether I was finding that I was just there and not being very excited to instance or raid at all. Perhaps that’s how I got my priest to 85 so quickly, because I just wasn’t feeling it.
Whatever the case, I’m definitely back to being a feral DPS spec. I had so much fun with it through my first instance, I don’t care how many rogues and other ferals I have to beat up to get my gear. As well, if I needed any other reason, the staff that Fandral will drop from Firelands in 4.2 turns cat form into a fire cat form. ‘Nuff said. I’m back to a melee state of mind.
I have mentioned before that I was working on a goblin priest for an alt, something I’ve wanted to do for a while. That priest is finally level 85, and heroic ready… but the process was a little bit different from the expected.
Originally, my thought was to try to level through the dungeon finder to work on healing skills as I had never healed on a priest before. It worked out well for quite a while until level 41, when I got too frustrated at other people and then decided to just take the plunge and quest with a shadow spec. This ended up being a good plan, as I now have the basics of both specs down.
The thing that was scaring me was the idea of healing Cataclysm instances. On my druid, I have done all of them multiple times (excepting the new Zandalari ones), so it wasn’t that I didn’t know the fights. I had the simple fear of failing at something that I set out to accomplish. Many times I’ve been in a group where there’s been one member that was doing a very bad job at their role and I was afraid that one day I’d turn into them.
Once my item level was high enough – unfortunately heirlooms make this a bit difficult, as they’re an item level 1 – I decided to give it a try. From when I first made my priest, I decided to use discipline as my healing spec since it looked like fun, and so far it has been. Having the multiple methods of damage prevention and utilities make it so I have more tricks up my sleeve, and hopefully will make the run go smoother.
All in all the regular instances went fairly well. It didn’t stop me from being nervous through all of the runs, but at least we were able to make it through them. The hurdle now is the transition into healing heroics.
I’ve done a number of heroic runs with my shadow spec, getting drops and justice points to improve my gear before I try to heal them. As of last night, I am at the point where I think my gear is ready to go into a heroic. There are a few fights that I’m worried about that have high levels of damage, and whether I’d be able to cope with the stress.
Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of forgetting to use cooldowns at times. The biggest problems are two of the best cooldowns a discipline priest has: power infusion and pain suppression. Huge increase in healing throughput and huge damage reduction, and I forget to use them? I have to set up some power auras to help me remember, the same I did for my boomkin stuff.
My priest has yet to heal a heroic, but I think I’m ready for it. If not, that’s why there’s the option for a dual spec.
This post will be about two versions of Power Auras – the one that is built in-game from Blizzard, and the addon that inspired it: Power Auras Classic.
A while back, I had installed the Power Auras mod and played around with it. My raid leader had told me about it, and at the time my DPS as a feral cat druid was lacking, so I wanted to try whatever I could. I loaded it up, and very quickly became confused with it and didn’t bother trying it again. Not too long after, Blizzard decided to incorporate their own version of the system into the game itself, with not nearly as much customization.
Basically, Power Auras is an alert system that can tell you a number of things. Things like a spell alert which is being cast on your target, when a cooldown is available to be used, or if a certain debuff is not on your target are some small examples. By using these alerts, it can make you that much of a better player by being able to focus on what you’re doing without having to look at too many different places.
I personally use a combination of the spell alerts from Blizzard supplemented by Power Auras. I know many people who use one or the other, but out of sheer laziness I decided to go with what was given by Blizzard since it would be less work for me to set up. To set up the in-game spell alerts, simply go to Interface Options, the Combat screen, and enable “Show Spell Alerts” (see graphic at right). The opacity slider simply decides how transparent or not the alerts are.
There will be a number of pre-loaded things that will happen for certain events, such as Shooting Stars which procs and instant cast Starsurge. If you haven’t used these before, it would probably be a good idea to use them for a bit so you know where they are on your screen and what they look like. If you don’t like them then you can customize those events into Power Auras, and if you don’t mind them like me you can leave them.
The spells that are covered by the Blizzard spell alerts are:
- achieving Solar Eclipse
- achieving Lunar Eclipse
- proccing Shooting Stars for an instant cast Starsurge
- proccing Clearcasting for the next ablility to cost no mana
In my opinion, why fix what isn’t broken?
This is my Power Auras setup, which is nothing too fancy. I’m a big fan of doing as little as possible to clutter up my UI. Starting from the top middle and working clockwise, this is what the different elements mean:
- Starsurge off cooldown and available to use
- Insect Swarm is not on target
- Force of Nature (treants) off cooldown and available to use
- Starfall off cooldown and available to use
- Moonfire or Sunfire (depending on which Eclipse phase I’m in) not on target.
Between the base spell alerts and Power Auras extra information, I rarely ever have to look at my action bar to see if things are off cooldown, unless I want to see how much longer until I need to use it. I have other mods which tell me specific times on cooldowns that I have as well as duration left on the target, so between these different things I’m pretty much set.
If anyone has any suggestions on ways that I can improve my setup or things that I have missed, please let me know in the comments. I’m always looking to improve, and would love to hear from you.
The past two weeks have been an interesting time for me. Three different long-time goals that I have had have been achieved, and I’m a little bit lost. These are not just small things, but goals that I have been working on for years.
Four months into a new expansion, and I’m already bored. I’m a Loremaster of Cataclysm, I got exalted with the factions that give me the best gear upgrades that I need, and I do my daily heroic when I have the time. I’ve become exalted with Hellscream’s Reach in Tol Barad and have my awesome dragon from them, and I dread having to grind the daily quests again to get another item.
My long-time goals that I have completed are not even from Cataclysm, but actually from Burning Crusade. I was able to get exalted with the Sha’tari Skyguard and get the Nether Ray flying mounts, and as a result of that also getting exalted with Ogri’la (again for both – I got this on my Paladin back during BC). Shortly afterwards, I finished up the grind to get exalted with Netherwing and get all the awesome dragons.
Finally, this past Sunday I completed a goal that has eluded me for quite a while. Every day for a long time, I would venture into the lair of this foul beast and slay it in hopes that it would drop itself for me to ride upon as a trophy. At long last, it finally happened. I was excited, had a bit of a gasp as I motioned for my wife to see the loot window, and learned the Raven Lord mount.
But… now what?
I do stuff in-game as mentioned before, but it’s not really keeping me entertained. Lately I’ve been working on my goblin shadow priest alt and have been enjoying it greatly, but it’s only a matter of time before I run into the same problem as I have now. I get the priest to 85, run dungeons until I’m raid ready, raid until I have all the gear, but then will I want to do all the extra stuff I’ve done already on my druid? I highly doubt it.
This is the classic symptoms of burnout. The game isn’t as enjoyable as it was and I’m trying to find things to keep me occupied. At the moment, the priest is doing the job of keeping me busy and getting a sense of accomplishment. My main character is sitting in Orgrimmar building up cobwebs, which is dusted off once a week to raid.
I’ve definitely been cutting down on my playtime lately, and trying other games. I recently bought Magicka on Steam and have been enjoying it greatly. It frustrates me many times as I find new and exciting ways to get my character killed, but still lots of fun. Portal 2 just came out, and I’m hoping I can find a way to get it soon.
Looks like I’ll be scaling back on my WoW time. This isn’t a bad thing, as when 4.1 comes out and there’s new features to the game I’ll be rested and ready for them.
One of my gaming New Year’s Resolutions was to suck less. Unfortunately, this resolution hasn’t been something that I’ve been the best at keeping. Fortunately I’m not failing completely, but I’m still in the process of learning my new role as a boomkin, so there is still that curve to adjust to. I was giving some thought to ways that I can improve, and I came up with the following three points:
1. Use cooldowns appropriately
Abilities have cooldowns for a reason – a decision has to be made as to when the most they will be the most beneficial. Don’t just use a cooldown when it’s up, make sure that it is put to the best use possible. Using Starfall in conjunction with Lunar Eclipse is an example of a small thing that can help boost damage without needing to do too much extra work. Along the same line, using Treants during the air phase of a dragon encounter isn’t really the best timing.
2. Many abilities, handle them!
I’m guilty of forgetting to use certain abilities, but at the same time I use certain others that my raid leader has looked at the combat log and said – “… and you threw in a few random typhoons, I see?” Basically, don’t forget what is available. My personal problem is forgetting to use Wild Mushroom, as I started out as feral and always thought it wasn’t a very good ability to use. The damage was low, the mana cost was high, it was useless. Then Magmaw came around, and I was told in no uncertain terms that I could have used them to help with the adds.
3. Be situationally aware
Again, with my switch from melee to ranged damage, this is a big key for me. Know what is going on around you at all times, and what could happen to you. Good practice for this is the first boss in Deadmines, which gives the achievement “Ready for Raiding” for a reason: if you avoid all the junk that he deals, it’s a good indication that raiding is on the way for you.
These three simple things will help anyone raid better, and hopefully I’ll be able to remember these things as well. Any class can benefit from these tips, once I have more experience under my belt I’ll try to make one that’s more boomkin-specific.