Monthly Archives: July 2009

We’ve lost that shifting feeling?

So, there has been an interesting conversation going on in the healing forums lately about how often we shift from one form to another, about the design of tree form, and about moonkin lack of shifting, too.

Back a long time ago, we used to shift more often just because all of our forms were weak on it’s own. What do I mean by that?

This was my original leveling solo “rotation” to kill a single mob: Pull with starfire, root, moonfire, wrath a couple times until roots breaks. Melee in caster form until omen of clarity proc’d (yes, I’m serious). Cast rejuv on myself. Shift to bear form. Melee in bear form for a while. Eventually shift back out. Start back from the beginning and repeat a few times until mob was dead.

My current moonkin “rotation” to kill a single mob: Cast starfire twice, or wrath three times.

You should go back and read all the blue posts in this thread, especially if the Q&A left you a little queezy about possible changes to shapeshifting.

Okay, so this is part of something I posted in that thread:

Moonkin actually have a reason to want to spend more time in caster or feral forms, but mechanics of the class just prevent shifting out of moonkin in PvP to really be viable. Giving moonkin the ability to spend time outside of moonkin form would solve a lot of moonkin’s PvP problems.

Ghostcrawler’s reply to that quote:

Yeah, we agree. That is what I was getting at with the druid as a shifter. The idea is that a Balance druid would sometimes leave Moonkin form, but we haven’t made it easy enough to do so. We also don’t want to just adopt a model where say you shift to caster form to decurse and shift back – that just means your decurses take 3 button clicks (or a macro). It should be more tactical than that – do I want to be in Moonkin form for a little while, or would I rather be in caster form (or possibly even bear or cat)?

From a PvP design perspective, being stuck in moonkin form without access to resto healing or feral crowd control abilities is pretty problematic. We’ve got a good PvE spec that does decent DPS, but Eclipse (something tied heavily to our rotation) doesn’t allow for any mobility at all, and so that combined with just not having enough tools available to moonkin in PvP really makes it such that moonkin are the perfect candidates for wanting the ability to be able to shift around in and out of forms to gain access to the tools that would help us be successful. The other option is just giving moonkin more tools, but that has to be balanced around the other specs. Just giving moonkin easier access to feral and/or resto abilities would actually help a lot with making moonkin have more flexibility.

However, they seem to be overall paying a lot of attention to resto’s lack of shifting right now:

Druids are supposed to be shifters. We want to see more shifting. We came down hard on Resto druids in PvP shifting to bear, and now wonder if we went too far. Likewise, we think there should be some motivation not to be a tree all the time even as Resto.

Well, if the game was balanced around 1v1 PvP, I could see resto druids needing more than just thorns to do damage to their opponent. However, in group PvP situations, it’s going to be the resto druid’s job to keep the person doing damage alive. This means that there aren’t many things that resto druids need access to if they want to do the job of healing in a PvP situation.

Shifting at all in PvE seems pretty ridiculous to even think about wanting us to do, since the druid design is really meant to have us focus on ONE role, which comes with ONE talent spec. We’re now able to use dual specs to switch between two roles, so I think that really works out from a design perspective to encourage changing roles more often:

As I said with the Balance example above, it might work better if you decided “Okay I am going to be in Tree form for a little while because of the situation.” It’s a pretty different model, but imagine a druid changed forms at least once or twice a battle. That feels a little more like the shapeshifting druids from Warcraft lore.

And this model can work for PvP, but with the over-specialization that happens in PvE, we’re going to pick a role and stick with it. Being locked out of spells designed for our role (like when we couldn’t decurse in tree form) is just annoying without being fun or interesting. With the speed debuff, we’d choose to be a weaker healer for increased mobility, but losing any healing output will mean we are likely to just slip right back into tree form as soon as we can when we’re in a PvE situation where output numbers are going to matter.  As a healing tree, the thing I miss the most is that I don’t have a mana-free source of damage (like wands) to contribute while I’m trying to conserve mana (and tree form’s melee is pretty much slim to none). However, this is a problem that resto shaman & holy paladins have, too.

So, we don’t want a design for PvP (like making tree into a temporary buff) that makes PvP interesting at the cost of making PvE worse. Going back and giving resto and balance access to feral charge or those kinds of utility abilities could improve the desire to shift in PvP, without making PvE worse. Also, I’d like to argue that we do get to see our set items sometimes: When we’re riding around on ground mounts or other times out of combat where we’re not always tied to a form. Is that enough? I don’t know. However, doing something just to change the way we look more often is lame if it doesn’t also enhance our play style overall.

These issues are going to take a long time to work out, and I’m really not expecting tree form to disappear on us any time soon…

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Player Versus Player, Restoration Healing Trees

We’re moving…

So, shortly after I started this blog, I only had about 100 readers a week.  The post that featured restokin on WoWinsider (now made that number jump up and spike at a couple thousand instead of a couple hundred. Even now months after that article, I still have between 800 and 2,000 people per day reading my blog. The original hosting service we were using wasn’t meant to handle the kind of traffic that I get here on busy weeks and new content release days, even though there haven’t been major problems since the first wowinsider spotlight.

Now that my blog has been out a couple months, we can move the domain to a new hosting service that can better handle the increased traffic that this blog periodically has (we spike pretty high right around the time that patches and such come out). The move will be happening over this weekend, so if you have a hard time connecting to the site, I promise that it should be back to normal & even better than normal pretty soon. The new hosting service will be able to better handle peak traffic times and I won’t risk my site crashing as it grows and flourishes.

I’ll still be posting relatively normally over the next few days, even with the switch. We’re also keeping the domain name, so you’ll still be able to come to the same place for the same druid information!

On another note:

As we get closer to the 3.2 patch release date, I’ll be working on getting the healing & leveling guide updated with new content changes. There’s not a whole lot that will effect resto healing or druid leveling in general, so the changes that I do make to the guides should overall be small (I hope!).

Posted in Uncategorized

Druid Q&A analyisis Part 2 – Feral Cat & Bear

Okay, so here’s part 2 of my druid Q&A analysis. I hope you already took the time to read through the Q&A. This part focuses on the feral spec (cat & bear form), with some highlights of  things I thought were interesting.

Next up were Feral questions. Here’s some highlights for the Bears & Kitties

  • Now I will say that long term something we’d love to do is get rid of shifting costs altogether. We want to see druids in lots of different forms

While he brought this up in relation to restoration druids, having no shapeshifting cost has interesting implications for feral PvP, but I doubt we’ll actually see this go into effect, since it would allow you to break snares easily without worry of mana.

  • Cat form damage: If you want to do the best damage possible, you need to be able to master a complex rotation. This is one of the features that attracts players to the Feral spec.

I took this quote out because I wanted to focus on something here. Basically, the fact that druids CAN do good damage, and that the 3.2 “nerfs” are minor and pretty negligible tweaking down a little bit. So, being able to master your spec to do well seems like a good trade-off for being complicated. Compared to doing terrible damage until patch 3.0 came out, we should really just be happy that feral cats are worthwhile for raiding right now.

  • They also talked about feral PvP, in terms of having more (or better) interrupts, and this doesn’t seem to be something they are worried about at the moment.
  • Also, in terms of bear tanking: Bears are not inferior tanks in Ulduar and it’s possible their survivability is too high in 3.2.
  • Summary of other feral issues: Savage defense, feral charge, and swipe are fine for now.

Basically, there are a handful of abilities that everyone asks about, and Blizzard doesn’t have to say “well buff this” in every potential issue they acknowledge. Last time I checked, savage defense was still buggy, and bugs have a way of getting fixed over time.

They had a couple questions where they touched on bear itemization:

  • Bear tanking stats: We think it’s interesting that a bear and a warrior tank might look at the same piece of gear and place different values on it. That’s one of the elements that makes looting interesting and rewards players who understand their class.
  • More on tanking itemization: In my experience, most bears end up with “tanking leather” anyway because they want to gem and enchant their bear gear differently. Having one set of gear that you wear as cat or bear isn’t really feasible in Ulduar.

I find it interesting that GC spends a lot of time talking about tanking itemization for bears. However, this is something that the druid community spends a lot of time being worried about. The “gear consolidation” push has done a lot of things to change bear tanking mechanics. However, since they already think feral tanks are strong enough, we’re not really going to effectively bargain for buffs. I think that long-term, things for better or worse will happen in druid tanking itemization, but this doesn’t seem to be on their short-term list of things they want to address in any way we’ll think is positive. So, a lot of the time, no news can be good news in it’s own way.

Another feral note

The feral section really just doesn’t offer much in the way of things to look forward to in the future.  For another answer regarding feral PvP and DPS complexity, there’s another GC post on the Damage Dealing forums where GC tries to respond to people who weren’t happy with the Q&A. Here is something that is actually interesting which he posted in that Damage Dealing thread, which is directly related to feral PvP:

  • I’ll try again. The Feral dps rotation is complex because we like it that way. We understand it’s harder to pull off that rotation in PvP. However, this is somewhat compensated for the fact that Shred is a very high damage ability (perhaps even the highest single button melee attack) even when not propped up with Savage Roar, Rake, Mangle etc, and even when you can’t use Shred, you do have a back-up ability, Mangle, that trades damage for ease-of-use. Honestly, I don’t think any problems Feral has in PvP comes from not doing enough damage. In PvP it nearly always comes down to when you can do that damage and countering specific tactics of the other team. In fact when we compensate classes with limited utility by just piling on more damage, we get into trouble.

I personally think that one of the reasons he’s considering making shapeshifting easier is so that feral can switch back and forth easier between bear, caster, & cat to use a wider range of abilities in PvP to solve some of the utility problem that plagues the non-resto druid PvP. They got feral & balance damage just about right for PvE, but neither of those damage styles translates into good PvP – which is more about how PvP works than about druid damage not being strong enough. That’s why moonkin mostly ask for utility things when they talk about PvP, and being able to do a half decent feral rotation isn’t really that hard for PvE. No one is going to bother to just spam shred or mangle without the other supporting abilities, so GC’s extreme case he talks about in the Q&A is really just trying to say that you don’t have to be 100% perfect on your feral rotation to still be raid viable.

Posted in Uncategorized

Druid Q&A with GC is up now on the druid forums!

So, sometime while I was sleeping (or maybe it was during my raid & I was AFK from the forums), the druid Q&A jumped a few spots in line to come out early. They hit most of what I think are the “major” druid issues, but I’m sure there is still plenty of controversy around. You should really go read the whole thing for yourself. I can, however, take some quotes out of context and analyze them a bit. However, GC has a habit of writing really long-winded answers that make more sense in context. Also, this Q&A is not a “list of things that are happening today,” but more likely things that will be looked into sometime between now and the next expansion – and the answer to some questions is mostly just that they think X or Y ability is fine. I have to split this post into 2 pieces because it got to be too long, so today is just the Moonkin & Resto analysis. I’ll post bear & cat either later today or tomorrow.

First on the analysis were moonkin.

  • The most interesting part of the entire Eclipse discussion: Long-term to fix this problem we need to add another spell, separate out Starfire and Wrath from each other a little more, or make one of the other spells, like Moonfire or Insect Swarm, more dynamic

Well… look at that, we may eventually be able to flesh out the moonkin rotation to not just be Eclipse proc watching as a long-term type of thing. Anyone who reads my moonkin posts would know that I prefer adding another spell. Only having 4 single-target damage spells is just really limiting, and it’s just hard to make 2 dots and then rotating through 2 nukes actually interesting. He answers 2 questions about moonkin that basically discuss spell rotations not being interesting, and while the Q&As aren’t supposed to actually be about planned fixes, just acknowledgments of long standing problems is what we have to accept.

  • Moonkin PvP: : We don’t think Moonkins are quite there yet

This much we knew already, but it looks like at least moonkin PvP is on their long-term radar. He talks about this twice – once in the intro questions, and then once again as a specific question.

Now onto Restoration healing trees:

  • GC recommends that you read the whole first rambling philosophical post about restoration druids. I’m going to quote a whole paragraph from it (less than half of the text for that question) that the community needs to think about and talk about:
  • In addition to having to give up utility in order to heal as a Tree of Life, we have become less enamored with druids locking themselves into one form. In fact, you really never see the basic tauren or night elf druid form (you know, the one that actually shows off the awesome armor art) because all druids are in cat, bear, tree, or moonkin form nearly 100% of the time. I’m not saying we would just cut Tree of Life from the game. It’s been around awhile and for better or worse, it’s part of World of Warcraft now. However, we could see taking the druid in a direction where shifting was much more common and easy to do. Maybe you only go into tree form for certain spells but leave for other spells — this didn’t work previously because of the high cost of shifting, but in the absence of power shifting, we’d love to get rid of the costs completely. Another way to go would be to make Tree of Life form a cooldown, more like Metamorphosis. You shift into tree when you need a healing boost, but you don’t stay in it all the time. Now, I am totally waving my arms here. This is not the kind of change you are going to see in the next patch. But it is something we’re thinking about long term, and the kind of thinking we’d love to have more feedback on from the community.

In PvE, there are specific roles assigned – if you are a healer, you pretty much just spam heal buttons. If you are DPS, you aren’t going to throw around many heals.  Also, dual specs were the best thing ever given to the healing class to encourage filling more than one role and doing more versatile things. We lock ourselves into forms and don’t come out because that’s what druid playstyle IS at this point. It’s possible that tree form could work differently than our other forms, but doing that would probably be lame, because the druid class expects to spend all of our time in a form. In PvE, there can be more shifting around to use Utility spells (hurricane & roots, etc) that aren’t useable in tree or feral forms. The problem of sacrificing everything else to be able to fill our roles well is just that… we have to sacrifice everything else, and in the end, that’s fine. Making tree form a shapeshift on a cooldown is actually a lame idea, since none of our other forms would have that, and it would go against what it is to be a druid.

  • Okay, on to the rest of the restoration druid questions… the answers are basically that Tranquility & Healing Touch are fine for now. And that’s about it it for specifically restoration questions. Resto druids are (in PvP and PvE) in a pretty good place right now, so I wasn’t expecting much here for that spec. Tranquility won’t be an okay spell until we can target what group we want it to heal. I use it maybe once or twice a week out of all my raiding days (not even once or twice a day). At least Nature’s Swiftness makes Healing Touch more useful, since it makes a good burst healing mechanic (especially with the improved talent we’re picking up in 3.2).
  • When talking about itemization, GC mentioned that critical strike rating for restoration trees may not be attractive enough, but doesn’t really offer much more than that.

Highlights from the last hodge-podge topics (things that could effect all druid specs):

  • They are looking into how relics are itemized, but don’t really have any changes they are planning on at the moment.
  • At this time we want to keep the 310% flying speed very rare
  • We like the fact that Innervate requires shifting. We want druids to shift more.
  • long-term we’d love to get druids shifting more often, which means shifting has to be less painful. I don’t know for sure that changing the GCD needs to be a part of that, but it could be.
  • We do have plans to update additional forms at some point in the future.

Okay, so that gets us to the end of the druid Q&A for things relevant to our caster trees. I had the feral parts ready to go, but this post was just way too long to do all 4 specs at once, so I’ll post that piece “soon”.

Posted in Druid - General, Moonkin Balance DPS, Restoration Healing Trees


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