Blizzcon 7.2 recap: New druid flight form

The 7.2 panel focused on the next big raid tier story-driven release. This means we get changes to advance our class hall and artifact weapon progression.

Of most importance, 7.2 is when flying will return.

Flying is coming to wow in patch 7.2

That’s right.

They are introducing epic class mounts.

But wait, druids don’t use mounts to fly, silly. We use flight form. We already got our class mount in Burning Crusade, epic quest and all! So what will druids get? We get an updated flight form owl!

New druid flight form owl

My husband also uploaded a video of the druid class flight form for people who don’t have access to the livestream to see it fly in all its glory.

So, this is obviously more balance druid themed. It’s a giant owl, with a moon on its head and purple sparkly feathers. We know that mages and priests will at least have color variants for the mounts to make sure the mount fits their specialization’s fantasy. We don’t know what will happen with the druid shapeshift forms. It’s one thing to recolor mounts. It’s a whole other issue to make whole new character models. However, we see their willingness to make new feral & guardian model skins in the other big announcement.

New artifact weapon improvements

Updates to artifact traits and relics

Since 7.2 will come out after we’ve all mostly finished leveling up our artifact weapon, to keep these rewards relevant, we will have new traits, more ranks of existing traits, and upgraded relics.

To go along with continued trait and relic progression, we also get new artifact skins. We will have to work to unlock these skins in 7.2, but they’ll all be worth working for, since we can solo content to unlock them that doesn’t rely on having to do group content. This also means a new cat & bear form skin. The new bear form has a whole new unique model, which is pretty amazing. Resto and balance get weapon skins and not shapeshift character models, as usual. The resto staff is pretty awesome. The balance one makes me feel kindof underwhelmed in comparison to the 3 other specs, but I’m pretty sure balance druids will mostly be too busy flying around in our new owl flight form to care. Are you sure we can’t just fight in our owl form? Or maybe get the snowy moonkin form color variation that showed up in the beta datamining? Oh wait, this is supposed to be a happy “YAY DRUIDS!” post. I just can’t help myself. It’s possible that the animations that go along with the balance weapon will be the spectacular part of the weapon that we just can’t see from a still image. It looks like there are lots of sparkles that I’ll love watching fly around in the air.  Either way, the new cat & bear forms are pretty spectacular.

Artifact weapon skin updates

New bear form skin

For world of warcraft, the future is looking really great, and druids will be flying and running around Azeroth in style.

Besides, once we can fly, we’ll be blasting off into Spaaaace in future content after 7.2 where we get to go visit Argus in future content.

Posted in Blizzcon, Written By Lissanna


Blizzcon Recap for 7.1.5 for WOW druids

I spent yesterday watching Blizzcon stream from home. We also put a new video card in my desktop computer so that I could play WOW again after almost a week of having to play WOW from a laptop. While this is an “off-year” for WOW in terms of not being an expansion announcement year, there was still some exciting new things Ion  presented in the warcraft panel. I’ve split this into 2 posts: one for 7.1.5 and one for 7.2 to cover all the info in more depth.

Most importantly, they appear to have moved to an Agile development cycle, based on the new terminology Ion is using to talk about their patch development. While not directly calling it such, he talked about how they are being more flexible in their release schedules, so that we get content faster even if it means removing 1 feature from the patch release and not holding up release cycles. What does this mean? We can get more content faster, even if it’s small filler content that gives us fun things to do but isn’t tied to the big narrative storylines or raid tiers.  This gives me hope that we can avoid some of the content droughts we’ve suffered from in the pre-expansion release cycles. We’ll see what the future holds, though, since we’ve been burned before with lots of fast content that slowed down to a snail’s pace across the expansion.

The panel was light on specifics related to class changes, but here are some of the things I’m most excited about that is coming in the 7.1.5 patch, along with a discussion of my thoughts on what balance and restoration druid issues are still outstanding that I believe should be looked at by the dev team in 7.1.5. Once the PTR is up, I’ll do more indepth posts about class design changes I would like to see.

Patch 7.1.5 Highlights

The 7.1.5 patch is a small filler patch that brings a ton of new content which isn’t tied to progressing the narrative storyline. This ends up being things like brawlers guild, holidays, timewalking, and other small feature releases that together give us a ton of new content to play. For example, on AQ rememberance day, I can spend the whole day watching Oxhorn’s Red Snappah video on loop and relive the memories of how hard we all worked delivering linen cloth to the NPCs.

Ion presents on new micro-holidays

Class changes in 7.1.5

Of course no WOW panel would be complete without discussing WOW class design philosophy and changes. The 7.1.5 patch will include:

  • changes to talents to change talents that never get chosen to be more interesting and appealing.
  • Continuing to improve the balance of secondary stats, as their ongoing goal has always been that we should care more about the ilevel of an item than the stats on the item.
  • They are working on adding back abilities and utility to classes that need more utility. In this respect, I think druids are overall in a pretty good place, but we’ll see what the future holds.

Working to Improve gameplay feel: Changes to rotations and other abilities.

Now that we’ve had some time playing with the various specs, they will be working to improve the gameplay “Feel”. While they didn’t specifically mention balance or resto, both of these specs I believe could benefit from improved tuning to the play feel. I’ll write another blog post on this issue later, but here are my thoughts on play feel for resto & balance.

  • The biggest problem I see for balance is that I have very underwhelming and clunky AOE damage that hurts in many raid or Mythic+ situations. I’ll be working to help address balance AOE damage.
  • While restoration feels great healing 5-mans, in larger raid sizes (e.g., 20 to 30 people), I often “feel thin… stretched. Like butter scraped over too much bread.” That is, rejuv blanketing and the poor scaling of our mastery in large raid sizes (compared to 5-mans) starts to feel like blanketing HOTs on raid members at low health resembles putting a bandaids on a broken arms.
  • We don’t know what class changes will go in for druids in 7.1.5. The PTR should come up in a few days. I will definitely be working hard to address these two problems (balance AOE and resto raid ‘feel’), as well as other issues that the druid community brings to my attention.

Changes to classes in 7.1.5

The next post will cover 7.2 changes.

Posted in Blizzcon


Resto and balance in patch 7.1

Blizzard has a fairly large content release happening with patch 7.1. While it feels too soon to be launching this much content, there are some changes worth noting.

First, remember that you can turn Blood of Sargeras into a trader and get fun things like more Starlight Rose for your flask/potion needs, or other crafting materials.

Second, remember that some of the functionality of raiding addons was broken (I’m pretty sure they didn’t reverse this decision they announced several months ago). The UI can’t tell positional space of where people are in the room. That makes things like “Spread out 5 yards” much more difficult to coordinate. There isn’t any way to do range frames, radars, nearby warnings, or arrows pointing you to another person. So, good luck with that. 😉

Restoration changes in 7.1

  • When you use frenzied Regen (FR) in bear form, you get a benefit from your Harmony mastery. If you sometimes use guardian affinity and pop FR in bear form, you will heal slightly more over the duration.
  • Ysera’s Gift sticks to party & raid members, so now you will be less likely to randomly heal people when you are standing in town.
  • Some of living seed’s effect was ‘nerfed’, although Living Seed didn’t contribute much to our total healing done in the first place. The artifact trait listed in the patch notes is also one of the last traits we suggest picking up, so the change to that trait doesn’t matter much. At this point in artifact progression, it will end up being less overall living seed healing done, but it did maybe 1% of anyone’s total healing in the first place.
  • Regrowth & healing touch baseline healing was buffed, but this isn’t documented in the patch notes (though it should go live). Regrowth crits less, but does more immediate healing. So, think of the package of changes as being a buff to the direct healing portion of regrowth rather than anything else. This might also impact the value of crit and other stats after all is said and done, but only slightly.
  • Swiftmend’s healing was increased slightly, likely in part due to the living seed nerf. This means that when you use swiftmend as a burst heal, it’s a tiny bit more potent. When you use swiftmend to get the Soul of the Forest (SOTF) buff, try to make sure you get a benefit from that burst heal (otherwise, the change results in even more overhealing).
  • They nerfed the prosperity talent, reducing the cooldown by 3 seconds instead of 5. This makes it more annoying to line up SOTF with wild growths, but still leaves the combo fairly potent.
  • They buffed the cultivation talent by 20%. On fights where cultivation was good, it’s now even better. This makes cultivation somewhat more helpful on raid encounters where you might have people sit at or below 60% health enough to proc cultivation. While we call the SOTF build the ‘raid’ build, there are certainly plenty of raid fights where cultivation shines.
  • Incarnation is off the GCD, but you still will likely value SOTF or Cultivation more.

TLDR for resto: Not much really changed in terms of how you heal. Cultivation’s value definitely increased. Most of the changes come out to a net neutral impact overall, depending on what talents you take. The living seed nerf offsets some of the buffs to the direct healing portion of spells. We’ll have a more solid idea of the impact of these changes once it hits the live servers and we know the final numbers.

Balance changes in 7.1

Not much changed for balance, just some minor tweaks.

  • Owlkin Frenzy now only makes Lunar Strike instant, rather than being consumed by Wrath or Lunar Flare. This is good in some ways in that you can’t accidentally ‘waste’ it now, but also gives you less flexibility in its use.
  • You now have regrowth instead of healing touch baseline & can cast regrowth in moonkin form. This has a faster cast time, but a pretty small initial heal. If you happened to be unlucky and got the legendary that impacted healing touch, it now impacts regrowth instead.
  • Incarnation no longer triggers the global cooldown and they fixed the graphical bug (big armored super moonkin Incarnation form is back!). I find myself using this some, so that’s nice.
Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 7.1, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna
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Leveling advice for Resto druids 100 to 110

For leveling 100 to 110 in Legion, the artifact weapons have a large impact on your leveling choices. If you want to see what traits to pick up for your resto weapon, see my Resto end-game guide. You get your first artifact weapon at level 100 and then you can pick up all of the other 3 druid artifact weapons at level 102. For leveling, you basically have 3 options:

  1. Resto artifact weapon at 100 -> Pick up other artifact (balance, feral, or guardian specs) at 102.
  2. Alternative artifact (balance, feral or guardian) at 100  -> Pick up Resto artifact at 102.
  3. Stick with resto from 100 to 110 & ignore off-spec artifacts entirely (rely on grouping or affinity talents).

Any of the three above approaches are viable for early leveling, depending on your particular situation. Keep in mind that if you go with a DPS or guardian artifact first, you won’t be able to heal dungeons for the first two levels. It’s almost always worth doing the quests to unlock all 3 of your off-spec weapons just because you get experience and really awesome looking weapons out of the quests, with no side-effects simply for owning an off-spec weapon. Ultimately, there are several questions that you will want to think about as you are leveling.

Can you solo quest level as resto?

Yes, restoration with one of the affinity talents is perfectly fine for leveling in Legion. In fact, resto druids get talents that allow for the fastest leveling speed for healers. You get a pretty good DPS toolset for your off-spec. There is no reason you should HAVE to level as a DPS spec if you want to level resto, given how strong the Affinity talents are. The rotations are also simplified in your Affinity spec, so you won’t have to learn overly complicated rotations for leveling as resto with an affinity spec. Any of the three affinities should overall get the job done.

Also, with the new shared mob system tapping, you can always tag things other people are attacking and follow people around some to speed up questing.

Is DPS leveling faster?

DPS leveling with artifact > Healer leveling with artifact > DPS leveling with NO artifact (See relevant testing from Healiocentric). This means that you need the DPS artifact weapon to be able to DPS level. If you pick up the DPS weapon first, then you can’t heal for the first 2 levels. So, if people are relying on you for dungeons on Day 1, then you are far better off starting resto & picking up DPS specs later on. You can always pick up a DPS weapon or go guardian for leveling at 102, even if if you start as resto. There isn’t much of a punishment if you want to change your mind and level as DPS after 102.

Overall, if you want to be able to heal dungeons at level 100, or if you are leveling with a group you are still far better off starting as resto & simply focusing on your resto artifact as you level.

What about leveling guardian?

Guardian has good survivability and does decent damage, so if you pick up a guardian artifact, then you are welcome to try guardian leveling. Some people seem to enjoy guardian more than resto or a DPS spec, particularly since you can survive having multiple things beating on you while you AOE them down in bear form as guardian spec. The increased survivability while pulling groups of mobs at a time can be effective (but likely less effective if you only pull 1 thing at a time). Basically, you can be a fluffy bear all you want if it works for you. The nice thing about having access to all 4 weapons at level 102 is that you can try any spec you want.

What about relics for my artifacts?

You want to equip whatever the highest ilevel relics you can to a weapon, even at max level. In the words of Spoonzilla, “Traits only matter if it’s within 5ilvl… maybe 10 if it’s a really good trait versus a really bad one. But weapon ilvl is uber important.”

For quest rewards, you can change your loot setting to get relics for the appropriate spec you want relics for (e.g., if you want resto relics while leveling balance, set your loot spec to resto). If you start leveling as DPS, it’s fine to put your first few relics into your DPS weapon to make leveling faster. You get at least one relic per zone when you clear the main story questline. There are also relics from dungeons and some can be crafted via professions, so you can buy relics from the Auction House if you get desperate. It’s only around level 107+ that you need to worry about prioritizing relics for your main weapon for getting end-game relics. When you add a new relic to a weapon, it will delete the previous relic and replace what trait is equipped to the new equipped weapon trait. Keep in mind that you will unlock the third relic slot towards the end of your artifact campaign at max level. When you get towards the end of the campaign, try to hold onto a spare Life relic to slot in your 3rd relic slot.

What about traits for my artifacts?

As a resto druid, you should be prioritizing artifact traits for your “main” resto weapon. However, artifact power (AP) is applied to whatever your equipped weapon is. Most artifact power comes from items that you have to click on to apply power to your equipped weapon. If you level balance, you can save up the AP items and apply them to your main resto weapon any time you want.

You can put 13 points into the traits of an off-spec weapon without hurting your main-spec artifact  much at all. So, early on, it won’t hurt you to invest some traits in an off-spec weapon. Beyond the 13 point, there are big trade-offs as to how far you might choose to go for multi-spec for artifacts if you want to dual-spec in raids at max level. After 13 traits, you want to finish your main weapon & then come back. Be careful though, because whatever weapon you have equipped is the one that the AP applies to. On beta, I accidentally used AP items on the wrong weapon from time to time – which slowed down my artifact leveling.

What about trinkets as I level?

Keep in mind that crafted trinkets or dungeon trinket drops will typically be fairly strong for starting out with 110 raiding. So, if you end up with a few DPS quest trinkets as you level, it won’t hurt you all that much. Dungeon trinkets will also end up being better than leveling trinkets for your raid prep. So, taking a few off-spec DPS trinkets from questing early on won’t matter all that much. You can also set your loot spec to resto at higher levels if you level/solo as a DPS spec and don’t want to grab DPS trinkets or other DPS gear.

What about legendary item drops when soloing at 110?

You can always set your loot spec to resto if you are soloing as a DPS spec, even for wold quests at max level. You will want to equip whatever world drop legendary items you get first, since you won’t get a lot of choice early on. I haven’t yet seen a single legendary item in beta. The wowhead resto guide has artifact advice if you end up being lucky enough to make choices.

Conclusion

If you want to pick up Resto and stick with it for all your soloing needs, then your Affinity talent will be perfectly sufficient. Your resto artifact increases your Affinity DPS enough that your artifact (with relics slotted to increase your weapon ilevel) is uber important. Do your leveling & solo questing as whatever spec you want. Enjoy Legion!

Posted in Leveling, Patch 7.0, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna


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