Riding the tides of change: Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria is now just 10 days away! At this point, I thought I would reflect on what I am looking forward to in Mists of Pandaria, what outstanding problems I still have with the expansion, and some information about my plans for Mists and how it effects this blog.

What I’m looking forward to:

  • Gotta catch ‘em all! I really enjoy the Pet Battle system. More fun content to do outside of raiding will be really helpful for keeping the game fresh and interesting between raid releases. One of the biggest problems is that most days, I log in and fly in circles around <insert major city of the expansion> because I have very little to do on non-raid days. Mists tries to  give us more non-raiding activities to fill our time.
  • Alternative progression paths: The three person skirmish instances allow DPS classes more flexibility in queue times by giving small group content that can be completed without the traditional trinity (tank/heal/DPS). The expansion of the Looking for Raid system in Mists gives more casual players a chance to see the raid content, and the changes to the loot system for raid finder cuts down on amount of time spent fighting over loot.
  • Harder content for hardcore players: In addition to the softballs thrown for more casual players, Mists has a lot in store for people who enjoy doing things the hard way. The Challenge Mode dungeons place an item level restriction on you that keeps the content difficult because you can’t out-gear it.  For people looking to find a way to stand out from the crowd, these timed speed runs should be a test of your endurance and skill.
  • Some Moonkin & resto design successes: Ironbark for resto druids provide a much needed tank damage reduction cooldown. The introduction of Astral Storm balances out moonkin’s AOE damage toolset a little better, providing some type of AOE (besides moonfire spam) that benefits from lunar Ecliipse. Moonkin also got more burst damage cooldowns and have been provided with tools that give us a little more control over our damage.

Outstanding problems for Mists:

  • Failure to support 25-man guilds: My guild is currently still a 25-man guild (now 8/8 heroic in the last few weeks before the expansion). While we have a mostly full roster for starting out raids in MOP, I still have some concerns about the longevity of 25-man guilds in Mists. It’s not really a surprise to me that most guilds who used to run 25-mans no longer raid 25-man content, and very few guilds are bothering to try to recruit in enough people to run 25′s. So, one really big outstanding problem is that Blizzard hasn’t made the steps necessary to allow 25-man guilds to really be a viable alternative for people who are starting a new guild. It may actually be organizationally easier to run two to three 10-man raids in a guild than to try and run a consistent 25-man raid. Blizzard hasn’t really provided any incentives for officers to lead 25-man guilds, and when you kill a 25-man encounter, you don’t get any record on your armory. Thus, tracking sites like World of Logs and WoW Progress are actually likely to award your first kills (and subsequent repeated kills) as 10-mans instead of 25-mans, meaning that you actually even have to fight the record keeping sites to get credit for your accomplishments. Blizzard needs to figure out how to save 25-mans before they go extinct.
  • Moonkin design problems: The Wrath spell doesn’t do enough DPS, so the time between when you proc a Solar Eclipse and when you enter a Lunar phase, you’ve fallen behind a noticeable amount of DPS and then you have to struggle to bring your numbers back up again during the Lunar phase so you can survive the next meter nose-dive. The DOT and Eclipse mechanic really make moonkin’s rotation clunky at lower gear levels due to the need for clipping DOTs as you leave Eclipse at level 90. In addition, while the minor glyphs provide a lot of neat cosmetic bonuses, moonkin have no interesting major glyph choices at all (other than the glyph to be able to heal in  moonkin form), to the point where I’d be happier with six minor glyph slots.
  • Failure of the healing shroom design: The wild mushroom: Bloom design isn’t working because they don’t provide the type of burst healing that druids needed. Instead, each shroom heals hes for less than HALF a tick of one of our HOTs on each person (rejuv ticks for 14034 per tick, WM:Bloom heals for around 7325 each shroom at level 90 – Meaning that shrooms heal me for a total of 22K out of my 369K hit points). Healing Shrooms need to hit harder when they are hitting a small number of people, and then have diminishing returns or a cap on the number of people healed like ALL other AOE heals have. Healing Shrooms shouldn’t be something we cast every 10 seconds, but there are ways to prevent us from constantly spamming them (such as increasing the cooldown to make them more situational based on amount of time rather than just being a horrible spell that isn’t worth casting). To my druid community: I’m sorry that healing shrooms were designed terribly bad, and I’m hoping that they get fixed in a future content release so that they can have a better place in our toolset. Until then, you should only cast them on stackup points when you have absolutely nothing better to do – and make sure you complain often on the forums about how you wished that healing shrooms didn’t fail at math.

Looking into the future:

  • With recently hitting 8/8 heroic on 25-man (when we started out in WOTLK not even being able to kill normal-mode Arthas), my guild is veering a little more towards hardcore progression while staying on a short time schedule (keeping the 6 hours of 25-man raiding each week). Thus, I will still be raiding. However, since my guild has two really awesome resto druids right now (Juvenate and Hestiah), along with a plethora of other healers, I won’t be healing in Mists. In fact, I haven’t been a main healer for my guild at all in Dragon Soul (only healing when others were absent or when the fight required more healers than normal).
  • At this point, I’m somewhat burnt out on playing my druid, even as a moonkin. I have over 330 days of /played time on this character since I started playing at the beginning of Vanilla, I’ve decided to stop raiding progression content on my druid for at least the first tier of Mists.
  • I will still, however, be maintaining my guides (both the leveling & healing guides, as well as providing as much moonkin advice as I can). I will still be blogging about druids, but I will also sometimes be blogging about mages or other classes, or other random things that I feel like writing about.I talked  more about my decision to stop raiding on my druid on the Team Waffle Podcast last night.
  • I will be raiding primarily on my frost mage. So,  I will be working on a short intro post to playing frost in PvE at some point in the future. I will be race changing my gnome mage to pandaren to take advantage of the racial bonuses (Epicurean is nice for raiding). I really enjoy the frost mage rotation for PVE, and frost is looking like it will be viable for raiding. Since I have a higher damage output potential on my mage, it makes really good sense for me to be playing a class that I can enjoy and that will benefit my raid more than my druid would.

In conclusion, I really do think that Mists is going to be a great expansion and I have no intentions of leaving the community any time soon. I appreciate all of you, my readers, for sticking with me as I settle into a new expansion. I beta tested druids to the point where I feel pretty confident in my advice-giving (and I plan to keep asking Juvenate to fact-check my healing guide revisions as time goes on). In general, I’m also open to the idea of having additional druid writers on Restokin to bring more druid content.

11 Comments

  1. Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    I think you have to play what makes you happy, as many in UR have said. I have hundreds of days /played on my druid as well. Fortunately, our bear is doing an outstanding job, and I am having lots of fun on my warrior. [Note: Please no more heroic Spine-type encounters!] The guild will see many class changes between now and Tier 14 but I believe we can still have fun killing stuff as a 25-man and raiding as an epic team.

  2. Posted September 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Glad that it wasn’t just me who was sorely disappointed at how the healing shrooms turned out >.< I thought they were dismal to be honest. Come Mists, my druid will be taking a raiding break, and I will be primarily raiding on my priest. Like you, I think it has to do a little bit with burnout on her and just being tired out after Cataclysm's rollercoaster.

    The mage sounds like a lot of fun to play – and at the end, that's what matters most. Looking forward to reading about your raiding thoughts on her! :)

  3. Zy
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m fine with mushrooms staying useless until they fix the mechanics. They are still clunky and annoying to use so I don’t mind a bit that the numbers suck.

    I’m glad you are having fun on your mage!

    • Lissanna
      Posted September 16, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Well, some of the suggestions I’ve had in the past also included changing basic mechanics, such as dropping the number of shrooms to 2 instead of 3. :)

  4. Snuffey
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I have not tried frost yet been leveling as fire may give it a whirl. Yep play what’s fun it is a game after all. I will be on my druid as always throwing out the rejuvs as usual. I agree about shrooms very weak not uselessly so I will use them but not very often. I expect to see pallies tank healing and monks raid healing with 1 shaman in there for mana tide for high end guilds once the raids open up. Seems like priests are going to be joining us this time around being left out of top 100 raid guilds. But oh well I am not in a top 100 guild still would like to see a good mix of all healers in there.

  5. Dmom
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    I hope that there will be a place for mooonkins in MoP. I have watched as many moonkin bloggers have given up. I’m in a 25 M guild and won’t be benched no matter what our damage capabilities are. Nevertheless, I switched from my Mage to help my guild and would like to be a strong contributor. Thank you for your contributions, it is appreciated by me and I’m guessing so many others.

    • Lissanna
      Posted September 19, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      It depends on how hardcore (or not) your guild is, and how well you can execute the Eclipse rotation. In beta, my testing dummy DPS just wasn’t high enough compared to other moonkin or other classes to be able to justify staying a moonkin, especially if I wasn’t enjoying the spec.

  6. Boinks
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I have alot of the same views as you regarding the talents changes and frankly have felt a bit burnt out on my resto druid. I won’t even be raiding in the first tier of content for Mists. I’m looking forward to actually having time to level a few alts and rebuild my gold count which took a massive hit during the 9 months of school, work and raid scheduling. Best of luck to you in Mists. Keep up the amazing work you’re invaluable to us all. regardless of your choice of factions.

  7. Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    First, thanks for the shout-out Liss! <3
    Second, play whatever class you want. If you're enjoying the hell outta the mage, then play the mage. If you want to play a monk, play a monk. Whatever class you choose, go with the one you enjoy playing with.

  8. gorrie
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Healing shrooms seem to be more useful for mana conservation than as a thruput tool. It however is extremmly dumb at times. Id like it to have a living seed effect at some point. It also tends to crit alot per person per mushroom.
    Do heroic domo in firelands upto 15 stacks and mushrooms is pretty awesome.
    I also use mushrooms to save mana on heroic madness. Its dirt cheap and heals for a good amount with wildgrowth while on cd. 15-30k per personx10 for 2k mana is not that bad. Done wrong is alot of overhealing tho.
    You still can keep pace with shaman and pally.

    I havent really bothered with beta. But if we dont get anything better than innervate 20% every 3min. While priest and shaman double our mana gained, we may need to use shrooms to conserve mana.

  9. Jonathan
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Loving the expansion so far, but oh god the Guardian/Feral split is killing me. I like having a tank/healing spec going, but the lack of Feral Instinct is driving me nuts already. Made for much speedier leveling being able to stealth through most areas. All the tightly packed mobs and the poor stealthing in Guardian mode is slowing me down quite a bit in the early goings.