Monthly Archives: March 2011

It’s the little things…

So, I looked at the patch notes and realized how little they actually have to do to get me to be super excited about something in a patch. The latest patchnotes for 4.1 include:

A dead player can now be resurrected by targeting them using the Party or Raid Frame even if they have released. No more hunting for corpses.

Now, this is something that all healers have had to deal with for as long as I can remember having resurrection abilities – if someone released, they would either have to run back, or you would have to spend a lot of time (somewhat unsuccessfully) hunting for where their body was in the room to manually target it (that is, if the body didn’t disappear on you when you released, or wasn’t hidden under something).

Being able to resurrect people after they release seems like a little thing, but it’s a huge quality of life improvement and will save many people from future resurrection-related headaches.

When we get the Mass resurrection ability from the guild perk, the change they are making to resurrection targeting may or may not matter, but for now, I’m going to celebrate the little things – like being able to find people’s corpses after they release.

In this game, you have to celebrate small victories.  Oh, we also might not have to pop barkskin to protect tranquility while we channel it, but MMO-champion removed it from the patch note listing, so we may or may not get it… However, I’m more excited about the resurrection thing!

Posted in patch 4.1, Patches

Restokin’s Second Blogiversary!

So, on March 7th, 2009, this humble druid started a blog with hopes of bringing druid guides, news, and discussion to the community.

Two years later, I’m still going strong (though I’ve cut back my number of blog posts, since “every day” wasn’t going to be sustainable long-term, lol). In the last year, my blog reader numbers have grown substantially (especially with the release of Cataclysm!). It has been a busy year for me, and for the WoW community as a whole.

I couldn’t do it without you guys (my readers)!

Thank you everyone! Here’s looking forward to the adventures we’ll have in the druid community over the next year!

Posted in Achievements

Hurry up and wait (OR: why smaller, more frequent patches is better)

So, today I want to examine the history of patches and content releases in WOW’s history. My goal is to explain why the smaller, more frequent content updates are going to be better than the big (but infrequent) content patches we got in WotLK.

First is our trip down memory lane:

  • Patch 1.x (Vanilla WOW): 12 major patches across 2 years. One to three months between content patches. Only 4 of the 12 major content patches contained raid zones. Other numbered patches included as little as “Weather effects and Tier 0.5 armor sets” as the major content features. Other content patches included either 5-mans (with nothing else), or outdoor raid bosses, or PvP content with no major PvE content releases. It didn’t really matter what you were into, since there was always something new & interesting to do (and if you didn’t like what was in a certain patch, you only had to wait another month or two for more).
  • Patch 2.x (Burning Crusade): 4 major patches across approx 1.5 years (Jan 2007 thru Oct 2008). Two to four months between content patches (6 months between BT released in May 2007 and ZA being released in November 2007 with only “void chat” as the major patch between them). Three of the 4 major patches contained raid dungeons plus additional features. Began the days of huge monolithic patches with many months between content releases. However, the difficulty of raid content was designed such that it could take a guild 4 to 5 months to kill all the content, and not very many people cleared all of Sunwell even having from March 2008 to October 2008 (7 months) with no additional content releases (in part due to the gating of opening Sunwell content).
  • Patch 3.x (Wrath of the Lich King): 3 major content patches, with 4 months between major patches. Each major patch released a raid dungeon plus additional content. 3.3 was released almost a year before the next major content patch (4.0). They released other content in sub-patches (ie. ruby sanctum in 3.3.5 approx 6 months after 3.0 hit).

For a full listing of the patches, their release dates, and what they contained, I put them on a separate page here to not clutter & distract from the post.

A return to the “good ole days”

Having experienced all of WoW’s post-release development, I am actually REALLY happy to see that they have decided that the Vanilla model (smaller, more frequent “content” updates) is a better way to go than huge content releases (with huge gaps of time between them). There are points in time where there is plenty of raiding content still to do, but everything ELSE in the game is boring. Giving us minor goals or smaller, more frequent, “content” patches is better than having to wait for a big raid dungeon’s release with the 5-man and quests all together so that we have a ton of things to do for 2 weeks and still get bored 3 months before the next content patch hits again.

A rose by any other name? Instead of the major content patches, we have still gotten a lot of patches (with numbering such as 3.3.5a) which would either include bug fixes or content features (things they didn’t want to wait for a “major” content release patch to push out because people’s ideas of a content release patch had gotten too grand).

Vanilla was more fun because it felt a lot less like “hurry up and wait” and more like there was always something new to explore. Even if that new content involved PvP in Southshore/Tarren Mill, it still felt substantial.

Instead of the TBC & WotLK patch cycle of “hurry up & wait”, I like the idea of going back to a time where a “major content update” could be something small that wet your appetite for more to come. If you are only waiting 2 months between content patches (with less content per patch), I think we can get used to that, and it may help prevent the huge spats of boredom that come between the rush to complete all the content in huge patches.

Posted in Cataclysm, Druid - General, Patches

Efflorescence and tranquility updates.

So, as I posted in my last post, there were 2 bugs: 1 for efflorescence and one for the tranquility cooldown reduction effect. Both of those have  now been addressed by Blizzard, so I figured it was time for a follow-up post:

First, the Tranquility cooldown reduction will be attached to Malfurion’s Gift, which is fine since it’s a talent everyone should have anyway.

This buff is nice, however, there is one thing that has me nervous: Shaman got a damage-reduction cooldown in the latest forum version of the PTR notes (a really cool air totem that does an AOE damage reduction), and all druids have gotten so far is a cooldown reduction on tranquility (which doesn’t provide a damage reduction buff). Combined with giving away battle res to DK’s, this leaves druids in a very tenuous place in terms of desirability – because lowering tranquility’s cooldown does absolutely nothing to address the desirability of druids in a raid. All it does is allow us to use it up to twice a fight instead of just once – but we still have to time when to use it based on boss effects (so in some cases, we’ll still only use it once to make sure it’s available when we absolutely need it – and in some fights, I still don’t remember to use it at all). A lower CD on tranquility is NOT equal to shaman’s new totem, PW: barrier, or pain suppression, etc. It heals up damage after the fact, but doesn’t reduce the amount of damage they take. I’m HAPPY for shaman (my level 83 shaman is happy to get a new toy). However, I’m worried that druids aren’t going to get what we were also promised in the same patch where they’re taking a sledgehammer to the one thing that promised druid raid desirability (bres).

Now for some actually good news:

Blizzard released their plans for efflorescence:

The change to Efflorescence becoming a smart heal was actually originally just a bug. Since so many of you responded so favorably to it though, we’re actually going to redesign Efflorescence to work similarly. We expect the redesign to help the talent be more useful in 5 and 10 player content as well. We’ll have more details at a later time.

Which was followed by a new patch note:

Efflorescence has been redesigned. It creates a healing zone at the feet of a Swiftmend target, but this healing zone now restores health equal to 4/8/12% of the amount healed by Swiftmend to the three most injured targets within 8 yards, every 1 second for 7 seconds. This periodic effect now also benefits from spell haste, but the individual ticks cannot be critical effects.

This new version is better than the old version. The old version used to do tiny bits of unimportant healing on a lot of people – which may have added up after a while, but didn’t feel like it was contributing much to the raid. The new version is a “smart” ground-targeted effect, where it’s going to focus all it’s energy on the most injured players (instead of “wasting” healing on people who didn’t need it but were still standing there to water down it’s effect).

As described at Rank 4 HT, the real buff is in the haste scaling, where the new haste goal for us will potentially be the 2005 haste breakpoint if Efflorescence & WG both share that breakpoint to gain a new tick. The overall % healing buff to the spell is more substantial for smaller raid sizes than larger raid sizes – but it also prevents efflorescence from being “watered down” with a large number of people standing in it (BUT it will also no longer heal a large # of people – so there is definitely a trade-off).

Right now, the theorycrafting and blogging community appears to be supporting this newer version over the old “weak healing rain” version. We haven’t been able to test it much on the PTR, but I would expect a flood of more testing & information to happen over the next couple weeks.

Posted in Uncategorized

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