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.