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Repost: Profession bonuses unbalanced in 4.3

First up, thanks to Juvenate (@wtsheals) for giving me the idea for this one.

Basically, here’s how profession bonuses worked pre-4.3. Your bonus is what you get from your profession, that you wouldn’t have before. The idea is that they are all equal, so the bonus int you get from Alchemy on your flask, equals the total of the two int enchants you can do on rings, or the extra int you’d get on wrists over the non-LW wrist enchant.

However, 4.3 broke that, and here’s how.

With the addition of epic gems, Blacksmithing now has a lead over the other professions. BS gives you two bonus sockets, which you can obviously put epic gems into. Since epic int gems give 50 int, vs 40 on your old rare gems, that’s a 20 int bonus over what they used to get (80 int from 2 bonus gems becomes 100 int with the new 50 int gems). Most other professions still get the 80 int bonus, but JC really gets screwed. The JC bonus is the 67 intBrilliant Chimera’s Eye. At 27 int bonus each (over a 40 int Brilliant Inferno Ruby), 3 of these gave an 81 int bonus, basically equal to other professions. The problem is that with epic gems, we’re now talking about 17 int bonus per gem (over a 50 int Brilliant Queen’s Garnet), giving 51 bonus int. Compare that to the 100 int BS is getting.

In 3.2 when WOTLK epic gems were added, blizzard buffed all professions so they would be equal. It baffles me that they didn’t do it this time around. Also, being a JC, this annoys me personally. I don’t want to take BS on a druid. It doesn’t make sense.

Right now, we won’t have everyone running around in epic gems just yet, so this isn’t going to affect raiding performance too much, but soon enough everyone WILL, and then the QQ will really start.

Here’s hoping someone from blizzard reads this and fixes it. Soon. 

Posted in Patches, Written By Garnaph

Repost: Dragon Soul raid impressions

So, some of you have been wondering where I (Garnaph) vanished off to. Well, I found out recently that my wife is pregnant, which has radically changed my life. When my daughter is due in April, I plan to vanish from raiding for a few months (I foresee many “emergencies” mid raid, and I’d prefer not to let my team down), so I’m finding it very hard to get excited about the upcoming MoP content, since I’m likely to only see most of it in LFR. I’m not sad about it, since I knew this day was coming, and I know I’ll be back. RL always takes priority, and this is no exception.

I’ll still be around, logging in when I can, keeping an eye on my guild, and I’ll post on Restokin when I can. So never fear, the bear will still be here 😉 />

I also started a new job a few weeks ago, so I went from sitting around bored all day (which makes writing blog posts very easy), to actually doing something constructive with my time.

Finally, I’ve been uninspired. I like writing, but if I don’t have an idea, I stay quiet. I prefer to post things that I think people will actually want to read. If I’m going to repeat something someone else said, or post something terrifyingly boring, I’d rather silence myself 😛

That said, 4.3 is here, and I’m loving it. There are a couple of reasons for this :

(1) It has a real storyline. Think about any raid you’ve ever done. Yes, there’s a story, so to speak, but it’s normally around endbosses only. This one has a story going through the whole thing. [SPOILER ALERT]

  • You start out running up to Wyrmrest temple, beating off Mor’chok, who is beating on the foundations
  • Zon’ozz and Yor’Sahj don’t make as much sense from a story point of view, so I’ll quietly step over them.
  • Off to the eye of eternity, as Thrall can’t control the power of the Dragon Soul, and he needs the Focusing Iris in order to weild it’s power.
  • Back to Wyrmrest temple, and it’s under seige by Ultraxion.
  • Onto a gunship to chase down Deathwing, and Warmaster Blackhorn jumps onto the gunship to try stop you.
  • Parachute onto Deathwing’s back, and tear off armor so Thrall can get a better shot with the Dragon soul.
  • Finally, Thrall scores a K.O., and you land to finish Deathwing off.

Seriously, that story is EPIC.

(2) It’s outdoors, and in multiple locations. Almost every raid consists of walking into a building, and staying there. You go somewhere to attack it. Instead of being at a lot of locations in Dragonblight, you’re on the ground in dragonblight, underground, in the eye of eternity, atop wyrmrest temple, on a gunship (I’m on a boat!), on deathwing’s back, and at the maelstrom. A truly epic series of settings.

(3) It has 5 mans leading up to the raid story. OK, yes, ICC had them too, but this one’s story seems much better integrated into the raid. While only Halls of Reflection truly led into ICC in my opinion, all 3 5 mans lead up to the Dragon Soul raid.

My raid team has only taken down Mor’chok at the moment, as we’ve only had one raid night so far, and half of that was quickly clearing firelands (we’re still finishing up our first legendary). We barely got a few attempts in on Zon’ozz before we ran out of time (although I raided the night as Resto, which is always fun). I’m really looking forward to my 4 hour raiding session tonight.

Posted in Cataclysm, Written By Garnaph

Repost: How symbiosis (MoP level 87 ability) likely works

Since it’s always my job to take what Blizzard writes and translate it into things that you guys can understand, I’m writing a quick post to talk about Symbiosis (the new MoP level 87 ability).

The new ability says:

Creates a symbiotic link which grants the druid one ability belonging to the target’s class, varying by the druid’s specialization. In exchange, grants the target  one druid ability based on their class and combat role. Lasts 1 hour and persists through death”

My interpretation of how this will work: You get something cool from them, and they get something cool from you. You both keep your ability and they just get a copy of your spell. So, it’s not actually stealing their ability. It’s borrowing a copy of their ability, it’s just funnier to say “stealin” in the above picture for comedic value.

TOTALLY FAKE/MADE-UP examples:

  • Example 1: Moonkin casts symbiosis on mage. Moonkin gets mirror image and keeps starfall. Mage gets starfall & keeps mirror image.
  • Example 2: Resto druid casts symbiosis on disc priest. Rdruid gets Prayer of Mending & keeps innervate. Disc priest gets innervate & keeps PoM.

Further notes & explanations:

Symbiosis can’t give random abilities from ability lists, as that would make the talent too unpredictable and you would have to “fish” for a useful ability by casting it over & over dozens of times until you got what you wanted. Instead, it has to be fixed (so, in the above examples, a moonkin would always get mirror image from the mage). It also has to give you something you would actually want in your spell list, otherwise there is no point in having it at all (so, it can’t give you remove curse from mages as a moonkin, since moonkin can already remove curses).

No cooldown is listed, so it looks like in a raid, you could keep up Symbiosis on the same person through the whole raid if you wanted, or you could symbiosis with a different raid member on each boss to pick up the best boss-specific abilities.

That should clear up some of the questions I’ve seen about Symbiosis. I’ll get to other spells/abilities from the list as I have time, but I thought this was too important to wait, and I wanted to get this out early to help with the amount of confusion I’ve seen.

Posted in Blizzcon, Druid - General, Written By Lissanna

Repost: Lets talk about Healing Shrooms (5.0 speculation)

So, Blizzard has started talking about what new toys druids will get in 5.0 with mists of pandaria.

While I have to sometimes post about the bad things (like trying to explain why melee damage isn’t appropriate utility for moonkin druids), I also get to talk about the good things!

One good thing coming for resto druids in Mists of Pandaria is a Healing version of Wild Mushrooms. I’ve seen a lot of speculation and in some cases confusion about how they’d work or why we need them. So, I feel that it is my duty to help show why a healing Shroom spell is good, what it may look like, and realistically how it would fit into our healing arsenal.

How the DPS version of Wild Mushrooms works right now:

 Wild Mushroom is a balance druid spell that uses a targeting recticule to drop one mushroom at a time on the ground (up to 3 mushrooms), and then there is a separate detonate spell that you use to trigger the mushrooms to do AOE damage to anything standing near the mushrooms. An original version of the spell was supposed to be more “trap” triggered, but that was scrapped in favor of the detonate that allows you to choose when to force them to go off. The Wild Mushrooms themselves don’t have a cooldown (so you can place all three of them one after the other). However, there is a 10 second cooldown on the detonate.

How I think Healing Shrooms might work in MoP:

The Healing version of Wild Mushrooms will be a specialization ability for restoration druids in Mists of Pandaria. We have not yet seen a preview of how they will work, but I can make some guesses about their mechanics, based on what I know about how the moonkin version currently works.

  • Wild Mushrooms will have a direct healing component when you detonate them. They may also have some sort of HOT component attached, but would be particularly useless if all they provided was a HOT without any burst healing, since setting them up is a significant time-commitment.
  • With healing shrooms, you will be able to place one shroom on the ground & detonate it if you want a quick but small burst heal.  Moonkin don’t usually just detonate one shroom, since we require all 3 for DPS purposes, but it should be perfectly viable for healers to be able to choose whether to use 1, 2, or 3 depending on the situation. If you are worried about 3 doing too much overhealing, you can choose to just drop & explode a single shroom. This allows our one tool to have a lot of versatility in how we use it.
  • You will be able to place 3 shrooms in different parts of the room, or on the same “stackup point” of the room to prepare for a giant burst damage attack. This allows you to choose between blanketing the room more (ie. one on melee group, and one on each of 2 ranged groups), or getting a large concentrated amount of healing in one place.
  • If wild mushrooms are a direct healing spell, they should activate our mastery bonus when we detonate them (so that we don’t have to rely as much on single-target direct heals to activate mastery in AOE healing situations).
  • Wild mushrooms will be a “sometimes food”. I highly doubt that any restoration druid will have 3 GCDs to drop shrooms every 10 seconds, since we do have so many other spells to manage (and the mechanic is clunky enough that it would get frustrating if all you ever did was set up & detonate shrooms). I’m thinking that it may be something that gets heavy use on some fights and likely little to no use on others. It also may end up being better to have a 20 second cooldown on our healing shroom detonate so we don’t feel pressured into using it all the time (since they will be a different spell than the moonkin one, they can have different cooldowns). The use of wild mushrooms should also be  situational, and it’s possible that for some fights, you’ll set the shrooms on the stack up point before the fight starts and only explode them once on the stack up phase (they will sit there for up to 3 minutes waiting to be detonated). In other fights, you may be dropping and popping them more often than others.

Why do we need another healing spell?

As healing in 4.3 will show you, we really have huge weaknesses in our toolset. Getting a targetable barkskin will help with one of the problems (lack of a mitigation cooldown useable on others), but we still have a problem of not having a good tool to provide burst AOE healing.

  • First, While having an overpowered Wild Growth spell (and a cooldown reduction on tranquility) covered up that problem most of this expansion, getting a huge nerf to Wild Growth’s effectiveness exposes the weakness of resto druids. First, resto druids are only good for AOE fights where the AOE damage is frequent small ticks on a large number of people (and don’t have tools really designed to handle burst AOE damage). While an overpowered Wild Growth and really druid-friendly mechanics in Firelands disguised this weakness, it has still been there, festering all this time.
  • Second, Resto druids are very much dependent on having an overpowered Wild Growth that we just mindlessly mash when it comes off cooldown and makes it hard to tell the difference between good & bad resto druids. There is really only one way for restoration druids to AOE heal right now and it’s pretty hard to get wrong. Having to feel like you have to win at meters to be viable is also a really ridiculous place to be for our class right now, and just further exposes our toolset weaknesses. I’m pretty sure that by the end of 4.3, you will be eagerly awaiting having more buttons to be able to hit, based on how healing has felt on the 4.3 PTR thus far.

Does Healing Shrooms fill that gap in our toolset?

Yes and no. We needed more than just Healing Shrooms to keep up with all the new things healers in 5.0 are likely getting, which is why we also get targetable barkskin and other utility tools through our talents.

The criticisms and concern I’ve heard about Healing Shrooms at this point is that people are largely concerned about them being more difficult to use. However, I believe that this is both a feature and a drawback to the spell. You won’t really want to spend 3 GCDs every 10 seconds setting up and detonating shrooms. I really believe that would be a huge problem if the shrooms became so OP that we had to waste all our time deploying them. You also won’t use shrooms as much when you are tank healing, since they require a lot of set-up time that would take you away from your tank (in which case, WG & SM/efflorescence may be what you rely more upon in that role).

However, healing shrooms should give us something we didn’t have before: a bursty AOE healing spell we can use to mix in with the other tools that we have. In some situations, you may rely more upon rejuv for movement-heavy fights that favor HOT blanketing. In more static fights with heavy burst damage, you may pop more shrooms.

Having to choose what spell to use & when to use it will add some much needed decision making into our healing design. Most of the other healer specs already have ground-targeting AOE heals, and while they gnashed their teeth at the idea of having to do ground-targeting heals, it doesn’t seem like they had too hard of a time adjusting to the new mechanic. I’m looking forward to having to plan out how to use wild mushrooms on each encounter, and I’ll probably write up a number of ‘how to shroom’ guides along the way to help druids figure out how to integrate shrooms into their healing.

I believe that Wild Mushrooms are a good choice for filling the Direct AOE healing role for resto druids because it’s a spell the class already has that can easily be re-purposed to healing, and it’s also different from what other healers have in important ways. I’m happy Blizzard isn’t just giving us prayer of healing – it’s giving us something unique to the druid class that mechanically functions different than other ground-targeted AOE tools other healers have.

Conclusions

I hope in this post that I have been able to explain why Wild Mushrooms are a healing tool that resto druids should be looking forward to in Mists of Pandaria. There may be some mechanics issues to work out with fitting it into how resto druids heal now, but I believe that they’ll become an important part of our toolset that will grow on you after a while. 😉

Posted in Blizzcon, Druid - General, Written By Lissanna

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