Monthly Archives: September 2009

New 5-man allows for more progression without raiding.

So, it looks like they’ve actually implemented real 5-man dungeon progression (as a way to skip raiding and still get great gear upgrades). You’ll get item level 219 gear from the normal 5-man (basically, Ulduar 10-man gear equivalent), and ilevel 232 gear (ToC 10-man gear equivalent) from the heroic 5-man. So, here is even more casual friendly content and easy to obtain gear upgrades for really casual non-raiders.

We don’t know exactly what the raid dungeon will look like for Icecrown Citadel, since they haven’t posted much info about it yet. However, they recently posted more information about the three wing dungeon for the five man instance, which not only gives you great gear, but allows you to see the Lich King up close and personal. This is nice for all the non-raiders, new players & alts. I guess Blizzard really has changed their stance and are working hard at giving alternative progression paths for people…

So, I hope you guys enjoy your epic 5-man experience. I’m not really that excited about the new 5-man, but I know a lot of people are…

Posted in Patch 3.3 WotLK

There is no I in Healing Team

So, a while back, a guest writer over at World of Matticus talked about how raiding was about being part of a team.

I was frustrated today after reading a lot of healing forum posts that seem to have forgotten that raiding is not a competition against your other raid members.

The over-focus some people have on DPS and healing meter numbers usually distracts from being part of a team. The goal of the descriptive meter rankings is to show how people are different from each other, not to show what makes teams good at defeating bosses. The bar graphs are designed to emphasize the differences in numbers, not to promote having doing what they need to on any given boss encounter. You can have people who win at meters, but fail at moving when they need to, or fail at being a good part of the team (or pop green clouds on Yogg!).

What makes raiding with PUGs generally worse than raiding with consistent guild groups is that the people in PUGs are usually not playing a team sport. They include individuals who may or may not ever talk to that group of people again, which ends up just breeding a really bad kind of behavior. This kind of more selfish behavior in the PUG raiding group (ie. wanting to see who “wins”) really distracts from accomplishing their goals. It also makes loot distribution really hard because no one wants to pass gear to people they will never see again. Even people running with consistent groups made of members who aren’t in the same guild are better than random invites for inconsistent groups.

With guild runs, you are part of a team, and you can’t treat it like you would a PUG (heck, you shouldn’t even treat Pugs the way I just described treating Pugs). As part of a consistent raiding group that usually have the same core of members, you have to care about the progress of the whole team, and understand how parts of your team work together. I miss whenever one of our healing team is gone, because they fill a really important role as part of the healing team (for example: we struggled on Yogg +3 last week because we didn’t have enough magic dispels, since our pally healer was gone).

It doesn’t matter who came out first on a meter for any fight, especially for healing. It matters if the boss died or didn’t die, or if you kept alive the people you were assigned to healing. If you stood in a fire, spamming heals on yourself to look good for a meter, then you aren’t really doing your team any good at all. If damage dealers stand in a fire and expects the healers to keep them alive, then they aren’t doing their team any good even if they are normally the highest DPS for that third of a fight when they are alive.

Healing spells and other tools for priests, druids, paladins, and shaman are designed to work together in a raiding environment. They aren’t designed for competing on a healing meter. So, some days I like to forget about those dumb statistics, and just focus on being part of the team. Some days, I just review my personal performance on a World of Logs report after the raid instead of having a “recount” box taking up space on the screen (and distracting from what is important). When I have recount running, I still keep it minimized during fights, and I only pull it up to review my performance after fights when we’re waiting for the next one to start (and I really only use it to see % of healing done from what spell when I’m resto, along with my DPS when I’m moonkin).

I really wish meters could give a ranking for who reacted best to various events that happened in the fight, or who worked best as part of a team. However, there aren’t numerical values we can assign to these qualities or skills. So, when you are working with your guild (as a healer, or as DPS, or maybe even a tank!), think about what it means to be a good member of the team. Focus on what it means to work together with the other healers in your raid, rather than trying to compete against them. Everyone wins when your raid works together to accomplish the goal, when everyone is aware of their surroundings (and when they need to move!), and everyone respects the other players in their raid enough to be happy when other people in the group do well. That ends the day with less drama, less pain, and less hurt feelings.

Posted in Uncategorized

Preparing for Cataclysm: Moonkin Talent Feedback

So, I already posted once about people’s opinion on what is the “weakest” druid talent. I also posted about what the 3 new druid spells should be. In continuing with my pre-Cataclysm feedback series, I’m starting to look more at the talent trees, in thinking about how they should be shaped by the Cataclysm changes.

This week, I’m posting one of my epic talent review feedback posts. There’s nothing too special with the timing of this thread, since I’ve been working on it the last few weeks and finally had time to do the finishing touches over the weekend. This is the Pre-cataclysm post, where I’m making suggestions about things that could be changed for the upcoming expansion. This is just an analysis of our currently existing balance talents. I’m not expecting cataclysm to hit for another year, but it’s never too early to start giving feedback on existing talents. Also, I do this about once a year even if we’re not in the middle of testing phases. One common theme is that there are a lot of flat and boring talents, which are things that just give stat increases without changing what the ability does. GC has said multiple times at Blizzcon that they plan to remove a lot of those types of passive damage increasing talents.

Balance Talent Analysis for Planning the Cataclysm Revamp

  • Starlight wrath: Reduces cast time of our main nukes. This is a good talent to differentiate between resto & moonkin druids. However, the cast time reduction on wrath ends up being problematic with it clipping the Global Cooldown.
  • Genesis: Increases DOTs & HOTs. Generally regarded a resto talent in the balance tree. This is a general weakness. Not a significant boost for moonkin to invest 5 points. Would need to be removed if resto druids were going to be encouraged to not invest points in balance. It is also a rather uninteresting flat damage boost talent, and they said at Blizzcon that they want to remove some of the more passive talents.
  • Moonglow: Good option for people having mana problems. Good to get early leveling mana costs reduced, but not as useful for higher level moonkin.
  • Nature’s Majesty – Gives increased crit chance. It’s okay for sort of base stat increases. The crit chance is nice because it applies to both balance & resto spells, so it gives resto druids something they can invest in the balance tree to get to Nature’s Splendor.
  • Improved Moonfire – Was more useful before the moonfire glyph became pretty mandatory for PvE and the instant cast component got trivialized. This talent will likely need to be changed  to be more useful for end-game raiding builds so we have an alternative to be able to skip moonglow.
  • Brambles – An interesting talent, but it has a lot going on. It could probably use a little more refinement. It still usually gets skipped in PvE builds. Some PvP builds may pick it up.
  • Nature’s Grace – Adds some interesting flavor to the talent tree. However, it doesn’t interact well with Wrath at high levels of haste, since haste is clipping the GCD. I’m not sure changing the talent would really help with that problem, though.
  • Nature’s Splendor – Makes our DOTs & HOTs last longer. This is usually an okay talent to pick up, especially for 1 point.
  • Nature’s Reach – Increased range & reduced threat. We need the threat reduction from here, and being able to nuke from further away is good.
  • Vengeance – Increases critical strike damage. Costs us a lot of points. This is a talent that could get slimmed down.
  • Celestial focus – Adds pushback protection, and increases haste rating. Generally an okay talent. Lets PvE druids have some pushback protection without needing Owlkin Frenzy, however we have to be careful not to have too many redundant talents, since we DO get pushback protection from other talents, and also get haste rating from other talents, too.
  • Lunar Guidance – Probably becomes unnecessary when spell power comes from int in Cataclysm. It is likely that these kinds of stat conversions will disappear with the stat changes.
  • Insect Swarm & Imp Insect Swarm – The changes to insect swarm in WotLK made this DOT more worthwhile, and the improvement here is actually a nice bonus for helping our DOTs interact better with our direct damage spells.
  • Dreamstate – Like Lunar Guidance, this is another place where Blizzard is likely to take out stat conversions that go against their new goals for Cataclysm talents.
  • Moonfury – A flat damage increase is somewhat uninteresting, so this may be another place where Blizzard may decide to bake it into mastery instead. It’s not a bad talent, however, at the 3 points it got trimmed down to.
  • Balance of Power – A PvE (hit) bonus, and a PvP (defensive damage reduction) bonus. I’m not sure if hit bonus talents are going to get baked into Mastery, or if we’ll keep balance of power. Either way, having some hit from talents is good, so that we can have some gear overlap with resto.
  • Moonkin Form – There’s a lot going on in this talent right now. Armor Bonus = Fine. Should move the damage reduction while stunned to a different talent, so that we can benefit from it when we’re in caster form. The crit raid bonus is fine. Mana regen bonus is fine.
  • Improved moonkin form – Haste raid bonus is fine. The spirit to spell power conversion could get changed to something else, since there won’t be any more spirit on moonkin gear (and we can modify resto gear to remove some spirit if needed).
  • Improved Faerie Fire – Now that FF finally has a long duration, this talent is probably fine as is. It used to bug me a lot, but the current version isn’t so bad.
  • Owlkin Frenzy – There’s a lot going on here now, and we don’t seem to be picking this up for PvE builds, but it might be fine as is.
  • Wrath of Cenarius – Basically another boring flat damage increase, but only increases the damage of two of our spells. This talent might become outdated when we switch to the new mastery system.
  • Eclipse –  When (if) we get a new balance spell added, this talent will need to be removed or modified to adapt to the new rotation balance druids will hopefully have. (Please for the love of Elune add another spell to moonkin PvE rotation for single-target damage so we can have a more interesting rotation without the clunky part of the Eclipse mechanic).
  • Typhoon – With the 6 second daze, it’s working better.
  • Force of Nature – Might be more interesting if they did something besides just melee damage. The bramble’s effect that adds the random chance to daze seems to not be all that great.
  • Gale Winds – It’s hard to justify the talent points here in some moonkin PvE builds, since it only boosts the damage of 2 AOE abilities. The range increase for Cyclone is good for PvP, but the talent still feels a little clunky if we are trying to get away from flat damage bonus increases.
  • Earth and Moon – Gives a good raid damage buff, with a small increase for us to make the points justifiable. This is unlikely to change in Cataclysm.
  • Starfall – An interesting design, that runs into problems where it is either too powerful or not powerful enough. This may need some adjustments in Cataclysm depending on how it interacts with the other talents.
Posted in Cataclysm, Moonkin Balance DPS

Harvest festival – One week to complete one quest

Don’t spend all week running around looking for harvest festival things to do. For the alliance, it’s pretty much always just been that food table outside Ironforge, and the one quest you get from the NPC that also sells fireworks. Boize at Moonglade covered the Horde version already.

This is what old-school holidays used to be like back before achievements. You just did it if you felt like it. 😉

Here’s a picture of Uther’s Tomb where the alliance go to honor our fallen hero.

Honoring Uther

Coming Soon: Analysis & review of the balance talent tree. What talents should be revamped in Cataclysm? Also, I should be doing minor updates to my leveling & healing guide soon (nothing major, just continuity checks for 3.2.2).

Posted in Uncategorized



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