Monthly Archives: June 2009

Maybe the sky isn’t falling…

The patch 3.2 has a LOT of changes. It’s a huge patch. It’s taken a really long time to go through everything, see what feedback people have had, and to overall evaluate the changes for the druid class. I still haven’t quite digested everything, especially the non-druid changes that are coming. I’ll go back through and take a second look at the druid changes real quick, with some updates based on having some time to really look through things…

chicken_little

Feral: So, after some calm collection of information, it looks like the feral nerfs aren’t as bad as I originally thought it was going to be. According to Think Tank, it’s not a huge nerf. There is also some actual number crunching up on EJ now. So, all the evidence I’ve found points to maybe a 2% dps decrease (at most). That’s not nearly as bad as the patch notes made it look. Then again, this assumes that things work the way that the theorycrafters think it will. There were also almost no feral tanking changes announced in the patch.

Restoration: Mostly PvP nerfs came for resto druids. The nerf to the bloom (although I complained about it on the WoW forums) is not going to drastically change anything about the game for us. The PvE aspects of resto druids is really only influenced by the changes to replenishment and innervate, and those two changes will probably cancel eachother out in terms of mana in PvE raiding. However, the nerfs for PvP are all things that won’t really destroy PvP for the spec, so it should come out okay and not really be a problem.

Balance: The change to Eclipse is going to have a large impact on the rotation for balance druids, and we really won’t quite understand the best rotation until we’ve had some time to practice it on the PTR. It’s going to take a while before we really know the DPS implications of the Eclipse change. I don’t really feel like working out the math, since Murmurs & Graylo are better at it than me. It probably won’t be a huge DPS increase, but it’s going to have really interesting implications. You may get a couple hundred more DPS out of having one of the Eclipse procs up so much of the time. It doesn’t really change some of the core problems that moonkin have, but I figure that Eclipse buffs are just something that’s supposed to happen all the time. I’m worried that the constant Eclipse buffs are going to make that talent really far over-budget, but I’m not going to complain about being more powerful.

I’m still a little too scatered from the amount of patch notes and changes that have been announced recently that I’m having a hard time focusing on just one change or another. So, I kinda feel like I’m repeating myself a lot in this post, but I wanted to try and have an overall more positive spin on the changes. It’s mostly not that bad. So, maybe the sky isn’t falling for druids in 3.2.

Update for Balance/Resto: Looks like I missed a blue post that got put up around the time I’d finished this entry and went to bed. Lets take a look at what GC said about a couple of the druid changes. Click here for the original link.

Owlkin Frenzy is caused by all types of damage, not just physical. We were considering making that change a few patches ago (3.1?) but ended up not doing it.

Right, we promised that moonkin wouldn’t die in fires so it wouldn’t get nerfed.

The resilience change does nothing to the relative damage caused by crits and non-crits. If you are a crit-dependent class, this change does absolutely nothing different for you. If 40% of your damage came from crits before, 40% of your damage will still come from crits. The only way I can imagine it having an effect is promoting more players to wear resilience which makes you less likely to crit. However the same phenomenon will also cause you to live longer.

The resilience change overall means that people in pvp will take less damage. They also pretty much shut down 2v2 arenas, with the gear rating requirement change to limit the best gear for 3v3 and 5v5 teams. This means that overall, people will live longer. We’ll have to see how these changes play out in arenas before we even know if moonkin will have survivability issues or not.

The spell miss chance was very RNG, which was frustrating for both the druid and casters attempting to get binary spells off. Changing it to spell damage will also include melee attacks from DKs and paladins that struck for Holy and Shadow damage, for which the Moonkin’s prodigious armor did nothing.

I think that overall, it is likely that the change from a % miss, to a flat damage reduction, will actually be a nice help to moonkin survivability, taken together with the resilience change. It will be nice to see this in action.

We realize the Lifebloom nerf does hit Balance druids too, but unlike critical damage above the resilience change does affect the relative power of healing — it buffed it. Consider that it is harder to cause damage to someone in PvP now but no harder to heal it. As such, the LB nerf will either not be felt at all or will be a slight buff relative to the amount of damage you take. At full resilience, you are going to take ~12% less damage in PvP. That’s a lot.

I could see the bloom on lifebloom being problematic for resto in PvP, and it looks like GC’s hope is that it just won’t impact feral & resto that much. They were probably running into “unkillable trees” during internal testing, and thus made the changes most likely to not hurt PvE. I think I can live with that.

Posted in Druid - General, Patch 3.2 WotLK

Patch 3.2 druid changes in PTR patch notes – A first look

From the official PTR patch notes for 3.2.

#  Flight Form: Can now be learned at level 60. Flight speed increased to 150%.

# Travel Form: Can now be learned at level 16.

These we already knew about. It’s being changed to go along with mount changes.

# Innervate: Duration reduced to 10 seconds, and cooldown reduced to 3 minutes. This means each use of Innervate will give half as much mana as before, but it will be available twice as often.

This is neither a buff or a nerf. It’s kindof a nerf for PvP, and this should make all the PvP QQ’ers happy, as in innervate won’t return “A whole QQ bar at once”. In most raid situations, being able to use it more often should make up for it returning less mana at each application. This means that we’ll “use it early and often” in PvE situations, and all the PvP QQ can stop the QQ (when combined with one of the below changes).

# Lifebloom: The final heal that occurs when this spell blooms has been reduced by 20% on the base and on the spell power coefficient.

Oh, look. A PvP nerf to lifebloom. Lets make lifebloom even more useless for PvE? Then again, it’s pretty much all overheal anway. Why force us to let it bloom and then nerf the amount healed by the bloom? This is a pretty crappy move overall to a spell that most druids are starting to stop using, anyway.

# Mangle: Ranks 4 and 5 base points reduced by about 11%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
# Rake: Ranks 6 and 7 base points on initial and periodic damage reduced by about 7%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.

# Rip: Ranks 8 and 9 base points and points per combo point reduced by about 6%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
# Shred: Ranks 8 and 9 base points reduced by about 10%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
# Swipe (Cat): Percent of weapon damage done reduced from 260% to 250%.

Holy crap, this looks like it’s going to equal a lot of DPS loss, if “base points” means a reduction in the base damage of the spell. Maybe I’m reading it wrong? But I don’t think so. Without doing any math, I can pretty much feel my head exploding from too many feral DPS nerfs all in one list. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I see this change creating more problems than it solves. This feels like it is going to be way too much over-nerfing. I look forward to all the math and crying that comes from the feral community. There are too many changes & just way too much reduction of the abilities base damage. Since this is a nerf to the pre-gear amounts for the most part, it’s going to nerf entry-level druids a lot more than I think the developers really want. Way to swing the nerf-bat way too hard and not pair it with ways to compensate. Lets have a cat DPS rotation that is more complex than other classes, and now have that paired with also not having a chance of keeping up with other people in raids unless we completely out-gear and out-skill our teammates? I don’t like nerfs to the base damage done by our abilities, as it nerfs entry-level raiders a lot, who don’t have the gear to compensate for it. I don’t like it, not at all. I’m hoping that math proves my initial gut reaction to be wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is going to be bad for our poor Hello Kitties. I expect much controversy over this to explode pretty soon…  EDIT: Think Tank has a better look at it, which makes it sound a lot less dramatic…


# Talents

* Balance
o Balance of Power: Now reduces all spell damage taken by 3/6%, rather than reducing the chance to be hit by spells by 2/4%.

o Eclipse: The Starfire and Wrath buffs from this talent are now on separate 30 second. cooldowns. In addition, it is not possible to have both buffs active simultaneously.
o Owlkin Frenzy: Now also restores 2% base mana every 2 seconds for the duration (10 seconds) in addition to its current effects.

These are really interesting changes. Balance of power should actually go a long way to helping moonkin survive in PvP, in addition to Owlkin Frenzy having a HUGE buff to moonkin mana in PvP. The Eclipse change is actually really the most interesting of all, and will actually be a HUGE PvE buff, since that means we’ll almost always have Eclipse of one type or the other active. I’m expecting a lot of good feedback from the moonkin community over these changes. At least one of the druid specs gets to be happy in 3.2…

* Restoration
o Empowered Touch: Now also increases the amount of bonus healing effects for Nourish by 10/20%.
o Improved Barkskin: No longer provides dispel resistance to all effects on the druid, but now reduces the chance your Barkskin is dispelled by an additional 35/70%.

Well, here’s the nerf to Imp Barkskin so that innervate can be dispelled in PvP, thus reducing the powerfulness of druids in 2v2 arenas. I totally called this one a while ago, sorry 2v2 resto druids. The change to empowered touch is interesting, since it’s actually a buff to Nourish when you use it with or without HOTs. I wasn’t quite expecting nerfs to lifebloom & innervate to be paired with more nourish buffs.

Posted in Druid - General, Feral DPS Cat, Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 3.2 WotLK, Player Versus Player, Restoration Healing Trees

Will the new approach to the 3.2 raid dungeon satisfy the hard-core raiders?

Okay, so more details about the next raid instance were recently released. If you missed the announcement:

  • New epic 10- and 25-player raid dungeon with five encounters, with each encounter being unlocked one week at a time
  • A more intuitive structure for harder encounters. This raid dungeon will have four different versions: 10-player, 25-player, 10-player Heroic, and 25-player Heroic, with each one using a separate lockout.
  • Introduction of the Crusaders’ Tribute! Each of the Heroic mode instances has a new tribute system that will limit players on the number of attempts they get in the Coliseum each week to present a greater challenge for the most battle-hardened heroes. Additional rewards can be earned depending on the number of attempts left in the tribute run each week when the final boss is defeated

Okay, so there is a total of 5 bosses, and you can kill bosses up to 4 times a week (ie. the 4 different “modes”). So, if a guild wants, they could (in theory) start with just the hard-mode encounters. The flaw with this is that it’s likely the same bosses that they would be killing multiple times, increasing the likelihood of getting bored with those bosses. I mean, there were a lot more than 5 bosses in Ulduar, and some people have already quit the game due to boredom with the high-end raiding content.

The new raid dungeon does bring one thing that may help the hard-core raiders: One boss is being unlocked at week intervals. This has the benefit of pacing guilds a little better, and guarantees that it will take at least 5 weeks before all the bosses are downed. However, with only 5 bosses, this may only hold people’s attentions for a short amount of time if the bosses are easy to kill and get turned into farming-mode in a matter of hours, instead of taking days & weeks to learn the bosses.

Crusader tribute will limit how many times you can attempt the boss… okay, this is more on track. However, if it’s the same boss as the normal-mode instance, you can just master the normal-mode one, and then they can probably just go into the Hard-mode one without having to really learn a whole new strategy. So, time will tell if this fills the need for newer & harder content.

Now, for the more casual raiders, the regular mode encounters won’t have the Crusader Tribute effect, so you can go in and take as many tries as you need to get the boss down. The normal mode encounters will still have the phasing, where bosses are unlocked at weekly intervals.

Time will tell if this fills the appetite of the hard-core raiders, or if this will just be an appetizer on their way back into farming Ulduar…

Posted in Druid - General, Patch 3.2 WotLK

Genesis is for resto, NOT for moonkin or ferals.

I have a lot of readers who are new to the druid class, and sometimes I take for granted that they know certain information, when they probably don’t. So, after reading a disturbing post on the Druid forums, I feel the need to explain what the Genesis talent does and doesn’t do.

Genesis is a talent in the first tier of the balance tree. It’s tooltip states: Increases the damage and healing done by your periodic damage and healing effects by 1/2/3/4/5%.

Why can’t my feral druid spec into it? First off – the Feral cat & bear bleeds don’t benefit from this talent. Even if they did, it would not be worth the 5 point investment in the balance tree. A good feral druid right now puts zero points in balance. This is not a tasty feral talent. There is plenty of bloat in the feral tree, and plenty of tasty talents in the resto tree for feral druids. Don’t throw away talent points in the balance tree.

So, what about moonkin, I mean it IS in the balance tree? The problem with this talent for moonkin is that it’s a huge waste of talent points. For a tiny DPS increase, you can dump 5 talent points down the drain? No thank you! I mean, most raiding balance druids are even skipping Improved Moonfire, which gives twice the damage bonus for less than half the points. That’s how bad Genesis is for moonkin – we’re already skipping a talent more powerful than it. Moonkin are not really a DOT-based like warlocks are, so a 5% increase to our DOT damage is a really, really small DPS increase overall. So, not worth it for moonkin.

Well, then who was genesis designed for? Genesis was designed for restoration druids. When Nature’s Grasp was taken out of the balance tree, and the “powers that be” didn’t want resto druids to spec 0/0/71. So, they invented genesis (a pretty good resto talent), and moved things like Nature’s Grace lower in the tree so resto druids could easily get it. Another great resto talent in the balance tree is Nature’s Splendor, so that we don’t have to re-cast our HOTs very often. So, genesis is the way for resto druids to progress up the balance tree, the way that Furor is designed for feral & moonkin druids to progress up the resto tree.

Got it?

Posted in Leveling

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