Monthly Archives: November 2009

Need more abilities: 10 to 30 feral

Okay, so one of the most common complaints by druids who are leveling feral is how bad it is to level from 10 to 20. These are usually druids who get bear form and try to plod away by mauling things to death for 10 levels. It’s pretty painful.

What bear gets from 10 to 20:

  • Demoralizing roar (10) – debuff
  • Growl (10) – taunt
  • Maul (10) – does damage
  • Enrage (12) – buff that generates rage
  • Bash (14) – is a stun
  • Swipe (16) – AOE damage
  • Faerie Fire (18) – range ability that lets you pull things from far away

Only 2 of those are actually damage abilities that you are going to use on a regular basis (maul & swipe). You basically have 2 or 3 buttons (if you include faerie fire for pulling) that you are going to really use for solo leveling 10 to 20. All you will really use for solo leveling is: Maul, swipe, and faerie fire.

Maul is really the only damage ability for single-target damage. Faerie Fire is basically just a debuff that doesn’t do much damage at all at low levels. Swipe is better for fighting groups of things than fighting things by themselves. This actually limited number of solo damage leveling abilities is really what makes bear form so painful for leveling 10 to 20.

We don’t have many good damage abilities in bear from from 20 to level 50 when we get mangle. This kinda sucks, but it’s the most problematic until you get to level 20. I have heard dozens or hundreds of complains about how bad feral leveling is from 10 thru 20 – and then we just go cat from level 20 on unless we’re tanking.

What bears need for the 10 to 20 grind:

  • We know that Maul & other “on next swing” mechanic damage abilities are probably changing soon. For bears, they won’t be able to just take it out, since it’s our ONLY damage ability for a LONG time in bear form. They’ll have to change it to something else that’s a direct damage ability that is spam-able (not on a cooldown).
  • New ability, usable in bear form, available at 12 or 14 – a weaker version of Mangle that does a fair amount of damage on a cooldown (no bleed debuff, less damage than mangle). Replaced by Mangle at level 50 through talents, since it would share the same cooldown with Mangle – and mangle would do more damage along with applying the debuff.
  • New ability name suggestions: Darting bite or battering claws.

We get cat at level 20 - but it’s not all good then, either

Cat is still pretty bad at the lower levels. The improvements to cat that came along were all put in at level 40 or above, which leaves 20 to 40 as not fun. Here’s the problem. We don’t get the right openers & finishers early enough.

Cat openers (require stealth):

  • We get shred at level 22, which requires us to be behind the target. The only time we are behind the target is when we are in stealth mode at the beginning of a pull. Unless you are leveling with a partner, feral druids have to treat this as an opener instead of a real damage ability.
  • Our first opener is at level 32. This is ravage.
  • We don’t get pounce until level 38.

We should get either pounce or ravage at either level 20 or 22. We need our opener ability earlier. It doesn’t matter which ability, but going 12 levels with stealth without anything that requires us to be stealthed is just really, really silly. It also hurts cat’s early leveling playstyle to not get an early opener move. It’s okay to pick up one of them in the 30s – but one needs to come early.

Cat finishers (require combo points):

  • Rip at level 20.
  • Ferocious bite at 32.
  • Maim at 62.
  • savage roar at 75.

Rip is a bad finisher move at lower levels. You shouldn’t be fighting things long enough for a finisher bleed from level 20 to 32. That’s just too slow of a leveling process if you can bleed things to death like that. Ferocious Bite needs to come earlier. I mean, rogues get eviscerate at level 1. Having to wait until level 32 to get our eviscerate is really just not fun. I’d recommend level 24 for ferocious bite (so we go a couple levels with just rip before we get FB).

In conclusion, this is what feral needs to make leveling more fun:

  • A new bear ability to use from 10 thru 50 (can be replaced by mangle if Blizzard doesn’t want another tanking ability.
  • Need a better opener/finisher set at lower levels. Make ferocious bite trainable before level 30. Make either ravage or pounce trainable before level 30.

Just one new ability and changing the timing of when we get 2 other abilities will have a huge impact on improving early feral druid leveling. With Cataclysm working on revamping low level zones, I really think that some classes (like druids) need the timing of early abilities re-examined so that new druids don’t have to suffer through the same problems we’ve had since the game first came out. Fixes (like Ferocious bite & mangle) were given to us at higher levels, which made the higher levels less painful, but it doesn’t address the early struggles.

Posted in Cataclysm, Druid - General, Leveling

Shared topic: WoW’s best changes for druids

Okay, so the shared topic on Blog Azeroth is asking about what we think are the best changes that have happened to WoW in the last 5 years. Since I’ve been playing my druid for almost all 5 of those years (except for the couple months when I got frustrated by tree healing in BC), I thought I would make my post totally druid-centric. You can see the posts from other people on the Twisted Nether site, since I’m posting this a little too late…

Sometimes, we get so caught up in what is still wrong with a class, that we forget how far we’ve come. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, and the 5 year anniversary, here is my list of: Thank Elune they fixed that, Druid edition!

  • The most obvious thing they did that helped druids was the dual spec feature. It’s not a coincidence that one of GC’s first teaser posts about dual specs was in the Druid Beta forums.  All druids can benefit from dual specs. We can now specialize in 2 of our 4 roles – or have different pvp/pve specs, or have super specialized specs within one role. Healing druids can now spec moonkin or cat for soloing; feral can now go bear/cat for switching between roles in raids.

This was a huge bonus, but it’s actually not the best thing that happened to druids, so here’s the little things that made a huge difference:

  • Innervate became trainable. Back in Vanilla WoW, innervate was a restoration talent. All druids were required to spec for it. Making innervate trainable allowed druids to have more spec flexibility. Even after the 1.8 talent revamp, it took a while to convince them that innervate was necessary for all druid specs to have.
  • Making all 4 specs raid viable. Back in the Molten Core raiding days, there was only one spec, and that was restoration. That meant there was also only one role: Healing. When we got our 1.8 talent revamp, they made feral & balance better, but it took two expansions to get us to where we are today: accepted as melee DPS, Caster DPS, tanking or healing.
  • Some newer abilities that I’m thankful for: Giving bear & cat Mangle. Giving resto druids lifebloom & nourish. Giving balance druids moonkin form. Making tree not have a 50% speed debuff.
  • Feral cat & bear graphic revamps. For as much as people complain about the new forms, they are really so much better than the old ones.
  • Feral range bug: People don’t complain about the feral range bug as much as they used to. WotLK came with some fixes that made the range bug more bearable, though they never really completely fixed it.
  • Giving up on the melee moonkin design, and letting us regen mana from spell crits.
  • Putting a mailbox in moonglade.
  • Giving us instant-cast flight form & epic flight form speed.

What Blizzard design changes are you thankful for?

Posted in Druid - General

Spells for moonkin: Cataclysm suggestions

Okay, so it’s been a while since I asked for feedback on what spells moonkin need. At this point, I’ve isolated it to two new spells needed. Both need to be arcane school. One needs to be an instant-cast spell (single target) with a short cooldown. One needs to be a short cast time single-target nuke (likely between the cast time of wrath & starfire).

Here’s why & what I’m imagining for the future of moonkin.

  • Right now in moonkin PvP, one huge problem that people don’t talk a lot about is the fact that pretty much all of our spells are nature. The only non-nature offensive abilities are: Moonfire (just a DOT), Starfire (too long of a cast time), and starfall (easy to interrupt it’s damage).  This sucks when any of our nature spells gets us locked out of the nature school, since we can’t use our main PvP nuke (wrath), typhoon, cyclone, or heal! So, we need more spells that are arcane so we have more of an ability to deal with being locked out of a magic school.
  • Moonkin in PvE need to be able to drop wrath from our rotation (OR need wrath’s cast time to be longer). Basically, we need to be able to have a short-cast PvP nuke that we don’t use in PvE – so that our PvE gear can have more haste on it. So, we need 3 nuke speeds (before haste, after Starlight Wrath talent). These speeds are: 1.5 seconds, 2 seconds, 2.5 seconds. We can rotate between the 2 second and 2.5 second speed nukes in PvE, and then the 1.5 second nuke can be for PvP. Right now, wrath is the 1.5 second nuke, but I’d be okay with wrath being turned into the 2 second nuke, with the new nuke coming in at 1.5 seconds for PvP.  Just about anything works so long as we have those 3 different nuke speeds. This would solve the PvE haste problem without destroying our PvP abilities. It would be even better if the PvP nuke was 1.5 seconds and ARCANE so that if it got spellocked, we could still cast nature spells. They could even make wrath an arcane spell, and make the new nuke nature. At any rate, the PvP’ers could still use the medium cast time nuke as a backup spell if wrath stayed as the shortest cast spell – but the PvE haste problem doesn’t have to destroy moonkin’s chances of being good at PvP.
  • We need to be able to cast on the run more often, and just having DOTs and Typhoon to cast on the run isn’t enough, so we need a “cast on the run” spell, with a short cooldown for an instant direct damage effect. This can be used in PvP for doing some more controlled bursty damage to someone, and can be used for making the PvE rotations more interesting with managing it’s cooldown and how it could be designed to make us want to rotate other spells into our rotation. It can also be designed in a really interesting and “flavorful” way.
  • Eclipse needs to be replaced with a better PvE rotation mechanic. Adding two new spells helps a lot with being able to design a whole new PvE rotation & gives us more things to manage. The PvE talents need to be redesigned to have an interesting rotation without this really artificial feeling mechanic that Eclipse has become. Eclipse was a good band-aid fix, but not a long term solution.

Some separated PvP & PvE talents: If we get two new spells, and we end up having separate PvP and PvE tools, then we can have a couple talents designed just for doing interesting PvP things with our PvP tool set, and we can have a set of different talents designed to make us good PvE damage dealers. Having a better spell arsenal variety would help a lot with this, as being so limited in number of spells really hurts us in a lot of ways. PvP talents could add more defensive & offensive PvP-oriented abilities, and PvE talents could be used to boost damage and make moonkin’s damage rotations more interesting for PvE purposes – to make us  mix up the use of our two PvE-oriented nuke spells (the 2 sec & 2.5 sec nukes), the instant cast cooldown spell, and our two DOTs.

Why generals & not specifics?

I’m listing out here pretty obvious points, but not saying WHAT the two new spells should look like. This is because I respect Blizzard’s design decisions in terms of what they want our new rotation to look like. However, I want to give some suggestions and continue all of our discussions about this in hopes that moonkin can be a lot better in Cataclysm. I hardly ever fill numbers into my suggestions so that they don’t get turned down just based on the numbers.

Posted in Cataclysm, Moonkin Balance DPS

Exploring the world

So, for the last couple of weeks, I have been feeling pretty nostalgic. I have been playing WoW since about a week or two after the game first came out. So, in preparation for Cataclysm, I wanted to visit all the zones and pick up my World Explorer achievement. I just had a handful of zones left to finish up (especially horde starting zones).

So, I picked up a lot of achievements, including Exploring all of Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, & Outlands to finish off my World Explorer Achievement over the weekend!

I also got my Onyxia Whelpling for WoW’s 5th Anniversary! They started popping up on servers at Midnight, so make sure you log in to get yours! Now with more Deep breaths!

Today is also the day that starts the Pilgrim’s Bounty holiday! I’m super excited to have something to do in WoW over Thanksgiving break, and I like working on holiday achievements. Soon, the turkey pet will be mine!

Posted in Achievements

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