Monthly Archives: June 2009

New PTR druid form pictures – Mostly Night Elf

Okay, so here’s a handful of the pictures I took from the PTR today (my pre-made druid got copied over before my live-druid did), with the help of some unsuspecting druids who stayed still long enough for me to take pictures with them. You don’t realize how awesome they are until you’ve actually seen them in action. So, these pictures don’t really do them justice. I also took some rear-end pictures, since most people just post faces. We need to know what we’re going to have to stare at for the next… several years!

So, here’s a small assortment of random pictures. I took a lot more, but like I said, you really need to see them for yourselves. They have really awesome movement. The Night Elf cats are way better than the preview made them look, and I’m willing now to take back all the bad things I said about Night Elf cat form before. The preview just failed to capture their level of awesomeness. I’m really happy with how they turned out in-game.

You should be able to get bigger images by clicking on the thumbnails of each of the 6 pictures below.

Posted in Druid - General, Feral Bear tanking, Feral DPS Cat, Patch 3.2 WotLK

What happened to caring about whether or not the tank lived?

Note: I started this thread before the 3.2 changes came out, and delayed posting it to talk about the 3.2 changes. Now that the dust has settled, I’m updating it a bit and posting it while I’m busy with my sister’s wedding stuff this week. If this is outdated, it’s because I saved it too long…

So, recently, Sydera at World of Matticus posted what Healing Meters do and don’t tell you. Everyone needs to go read it. Right now. Just click here.

Come back after you’ve read Sydera’s post. I can wait…..

Done yet? If not, go read it….

…. Done now?

Good! Lets move on.

I see a really, really major problem with the mindsets of a lot of healers right now based off reading the WoW Healing Role forum. What’s that problem? Well, mostly reading recount & other healing meters without understanding them. There is a major problem with blindly following the output that recount gives you, thinking that HPS gives you the same information as DPS. The problem with promoting competition between people to top the meters is that they work on topping the meters rather than sticking to assignments.  Only “raid” healers top the meters, wheras anyone assigned to tank healing does not top the meters. This means that recount and WWS meters effectively measure how MANY people you healed during a boss fight, not how well you healed each person during that boss fight.

This means that paladin healing is “low” on the “how many people did you heal?” meter. It also means that holy priest AOE healing is high on that meter. It also means that our Tier 8 bonus has a tendency to inflate the resto druid numbers on that meter, because a bunch of instant 1500 heals add up over time.

However, I really like this recent quote by ghostcrawler that I’m going to pull out of another thread:

Yes, I know that CoH and WG look really good on the meters. But topping off 5 people isn’t nearly as useful as saving the life of one person. You can still target players and heal them. Players do it all the time. PvE healing does not rest entirely on smart, AE heals (though they might look really good on the meters).

We forget this because Ulduar has an over-abundance of raid damage. Just about every single boss fight has high-risk damage to raid members, which is what forces people to have to move, and forces healers to have to “think on their toes”. However, this ridiculous amount of damage taken by the whole raid (combined with no more crushing blows on tanks) means that in a lot of fights, even the people assigned to tank healing are… not healing the tank the vast majority of the fight.

While shaman & paladin healing styles have flaws, what is really the most broken right now is our perceptions of what makes a good healing class. We’re forcing everyone into AOE healing homogenization because we’re following healing meters as though they are superiority rankings, rather than actually caring about whether or not our tanks died. We’re also not caring enough about whether the tank is dieing or not, because in the majority of fights, the paladins and discipline priests (with a little HOTs from the druids) in raids do such a great job of keeping the tank up (sometimes with cooldown rotations for the healers & tanks) that we just don’t even focus on tank healing as a priority anymore.

I know that I’ve accidentally let a tank die when I was assigned to healing them, just because I was too busy spamming my AOE heals on the raids that I missed crucial and unexpected burst damage times (which is why I got myself switched to raid healing to play with the 4-piece T8 bonus instead of being on tank healing the last week).

This style of healing feels new, and it sucks sometimes. I miss the days of caring about how much healing was done to a tank. I can stack all my HOTs on a tank and then spam nourish, but the vast majority of the time, all the tank needed from me was a HOT or two to keep them topped off until they get hit with whatever big magical effect comes on “predictable” intervals. At least in the days of crushing blows, you wanted to constantly heal the tank because you knew they would take random large bursts of damage, so your overhealing was likely to be a worthwhile strategy.  We were also able to downrank our spells to make overhealing a worthwhile number to look at. Right now, tank healing feels much less worthwhile, and so everyone only cares about how much AOE healing they can do, because keeping the DPS alive seems like a much more important job right now, with enrage timers and huge burst damage on all the raid DPS being so abundant on  Ulduar fights. Hard modes also became “dps faster” modes, so raids are having to drop healers from their raids and stack up more DPS (gooo dual specs!).

The best way to fix healing at this point would be to bring back tank-healing fights, and reduce the amount of AOE healing fights. This would prevent Blizzard from needing to completely homogenize all the healing classes like what is happening right now, with paladin & shaman & even druids needing to be given better raid healing tools to keep up with Holy Priest AOE healing – and nerfing priest AOE healing to make the other classes look better on the meters.

So, back to tank healing. How can we make tank healing fights hard & enjoyable for everyone in the raid without having them be “tank and spank” fights? Well, I don’t have an answer to this question, but it’s something that the developers really need to start thinking about (and maybe we’ll see some show up in the new instance!). We need to have at least some fights where healing the tank matters more than healing the DPS. I miss the days of being able to let DPS die because I’m keeping up the tank, because right now, tank healing means that I sometimes put HOTs on the tank while I’m throwing around wild growths & rejuvs on everyone around me, which is why my Nourish numbers aren’t that high.

Posted in Restoration Healing Trees

Graphic cat & bear form updates – PTR in action!

Here are links to other people’s Youtube videos. We were also told a while back that WoWinsider (now wow.com) would eventually likely post videos of the forms in action. I can’t get onto the PTR yet because my characters haven’t finished copying over (grumble grumble). I’ll be posting more screenshots of them later that I’ll be taking (probably tomorrow – or whenever my characters copy). However, I wanted to get some of the previews posted up now that other people have posted on the forums. Overall, what I’ve seen has made me like the forms better than the still shots that got posted on the WoW forums.

There is also one version of the Night Elf bear forms that aren’t showing up on the PTR (purple bear, I think). There is a post on the druid forums with mostly tauren pictures, but it may gain more links as the day goes on.

Here is a video posted on the druid forums by Chaparral. It has both tauren & night elf forms. Night elves start a little after 5 minutes into the video.

Click here for another video link of tauren Druids only.

Click here for another video link of Night Elf druids only.

Here’s one of the screenshots of Tauren bears posted on the forums by Eira:

bearanglescopy_byEira

Tauren (left) and Night Elf (Right) cats side-by-side (posted by thelan):

Cats

Tauren(left) & Night elf (right) bears side-by side (posted by thelan):

bears

Posted in Druid - General, Patch 3.2 WotLK

Tier 9 Set bonuses & Idols for all druid specs

Okay, so I was happily surprised to see when I logged on after my airplane flight yesterday that we had some really interesting new 3.2 developments come out. I was going to post something up late last night, but I was too tired and didn’t want to just give you just a copy/paste that you can read from wow insider or mmo-champion. I’m also expecting to see a lot more news coming out in the next several days as people have more time to test the new content up on the PTR. I’m also in California all week, so I can’t work on my normal posting schedule. This means that what I’m posting are just my initial reactions to the set bonuses & idols. We really need to see these in action to get a good feel for how they’re actually going to work.

First, the most exciting part for me is the new idols:

  • Druid T9 Feral Relic (Lacerate, Swipe, Mangle, and Shred)– While in Bear Form, your Lacerate and Swipe abilities have a chance to grant 200 dodge rating for 9 sec, and your Mangle and Shred abilities have a chance to grant 200 agility for 16 sec.
  • Druid T9 Restoration Relic (Rejuvenation) — Each time your Rejuvenation spell deals periodic healing, you have a chance to gain 234 spell power for 9 sec.
  • Druid T9 Balance Relic (Moonfire) — Each time your Moonfire spell deals periodic damage, you have a chance to gain 200 critical strike rating for 12 sec.

What all three of these do is give you a chance to proc additional helpful stats when you use one (or more) spells/abilities. I feel like I’ve been asking for stats on relics for a long time, and we’ve seen similar items before. This solves some of the problem of having to rotate between abilities and having a relic that only buffed one ability (moonkin have been trying to figure out how to swap between relics because of the changes to Eclipse in 3.1).  My bet is that these should come out on top for all druid specs, depending on what the proc rate is.

The tanking one even gives druids dodge, which means it’s got real tanking stats on it (yay!). This is also combined with an agility proc. I’m not sure if the AGI proc works in both bear & cat forms, or just cat. My guess would be that it’s only supposed to work in cat form, but I can’t get to the PTR yet (and everything on the PTR is still buggy and subject to change).

The healing one is giving extra spell power, but it also means that they aren’t going to turn the Tier 8 set bonus into a relic – I’m personally likely going to pick this up as soon as I can. Right now, I’m using the one that reduces the mana cost of rejuvenation, but I’m liking the ability to have a huge spell power proc so that it buffs my other spells and overall increases my healing done.

For balance, I’m not sure how helpful the crit will be, but about 4% crit is a welcome addition, especially combined with the new Eclipse mechanics and the Tier 9 bonus. I’m sure that once we’ve had a chance to play with it that Graylo and the other mathy moonkin will get it all worked out soon – BUT I like it just for the fact that you don’t have to swap idols if this new one will do the trick.

Now for the set bonuses:

  • Druid T9 Feral 2P Bonus  — Decreases the cooldown on your Growl ability by 2 sec and increases the duration of your Rake ability by 3 sec.
  • Druid T9 Feral 4P Bonus (Class: Druid) — Increases the damage reduction granted by Barkskin by 10% and increases the critical strike chance of Rip and Ferocious Bite by 5%.

For cats, having an increased duration on rake should be helpful, since that means they have to re-apply it less often. I’m not sure how often you are able to taunt in high-end raids (where you would be picking up this growl set bonus). Increased powerfulness of barkskin has to be nice for absorbing more damage (hey, you got the resto barkskin talent as a set bonus!), and more critical strike for some of your cat abilities is welcome. Then again, they just put crit on… everyone’s set bonuses for druids.

  • Druid T9 Balance 2P Bonus (Moonfire) (Class: Druid) — Your Moonfire ability now has a chance for its periodic damage to be critical strikes.
  • Druid T9 Balance 4P Bonus (Starfire) (Class: Druid) — Increases the critical strike chance of your Starfire spell by 5%.

We complained when we lost the Tier 8 critical strike chance, so now we’re getting back crit on the 4-piece bonus, but only for starfire. The one I’m really interested to see in action is the moonfire DOT having a chance to crit. Will the improved moonfire talent also give the DOT an increased chance to crit, or will the imp moonfire talent only work on the direct damage portion of the spell? Since we didn’t like the Tier 8 set bonuses all that much, my bet is that we’re going to want to ditch the T8 and bump up to Tier 9.

  • Druid T9 Restoration 2P Bonus (Nourish) (Class: Druid) — Increases the critical strike chance of your Nourish spell by 5%.
  • Druid T9 Restoration 4P Bonus (Rejuvenation) (Class: Druid) — Your Rejuvenation ability now has a chance for its healing to be critical strikes.

The 2-piece bonus is a “tank healing set” bonus. We won’t likely switch our 4-piece T8 bonus for the 2-piece Tier 9 set -> EXCEPT when we’re assigned to tank healing. My hope is that the new bosses will have less raid damage, and let us actually put more healers on the tank…. but only time will tell. This also goes along with another buff to nourish through talents. The tier 9 4-piece bonus gives the rejuvenaiton HOT a chance to crit. However, keep in mind that you won’t have the insta-heals on rejuvenation anymore. So, it’s going to take rejuv 3 seconds to kick in before it starts healing. Overall, the insta-heals from T8 are more useful than HOT crits without the instant heal. I’m not sure how fast I’m going to want to upgrade sets… mostly because our Tier 8 instant-rejuv bonus is just so powerful in Ulduar. I’m definitely going to have different sets for tank & raid healing until I’m in four Tier 9 pieces. It would be a lot better (for me) if lifebloom also had the HOT chance to crit, as that would encourage us to actually use it again. However, Averna at Nerf this druid is pretty happy and excited about the idea of critting rejuv ticks.

Overall, I don’t see anything in this list that I really hate. For all the set bonuses and idols, I don’t see anything that we’re going to skip over, unlike Tier 8 where we struggled a while to get moonkin in a good place (and still threw out the insect swarm & nourish idols instead of getting them). However, the growl decresed cooldown seems like a lame tanking set bonus unless we’re going to need to taunt a lot in the new raid dungeon. I’m interested in seeing how all of this is going to play out, with the procs and such.

Posted in Druid - General, Patch 3.2 WotLK

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