Blog Archives

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


Moonkin in legion: Easy to learn, hard to master

The official class previews were posted Wednesday. For druids, balance is likely undergoing the most dramatic changes. Thus, I’ll focus on changes to the core moonkin spells today. Eclipse is gone, and if you need to remember why Eclipse needed to be removed, I suggest reading this post by Chase at Blizzardwatch.

Core abilities:

  • Damage over Time (DOTs): We are keeping moonfire  and sunfire  which will each be a separate DOT that can be placed on the target. As such, the core rotation will require keeping high up-time on both DOTs. Sunfire has the ‘spread to nearby target’ mechanic, and moonfire is single-target only.
  • Astral power generatorsLunar Strike replaces starfire, and has an AOE cleave component. Wrath is now called Solar Wrath but otherwise mostly stays the same single-target.
  • AOE astral power spenderStarfall consumes astral power instead of having charges. It now has a large targeting circle you place on the ground, as the ‘targets the druid’ mechanic was somewhat difficult in execution. While this is a 15 yard radius targeting circle, we can extend the radius of this circle via talents. Targets in the circle take more DOT damage and the talented version would also let you cast while moving from within the circle.
  • Single-target astral power spender: Starsurge is instant-cast, consumes astral power, and provides 1 charge of Solar Power (buffs solar wrath) and 1 charge of lunar power (buffs lunar strike). This empowerment will require us to spend these charges
  • Utility: We know moonkin will get innervate (give a healer or arcane mage some mana in the fight). You will also likely want to pick up an affinity talent that maximizes survivability (guardian’s passive damage reduction) or utility (resto healing abilities and passive).

Changing Resources and mastery:

  • Eclipse was removed and we no longer watch the balance ‘bar’ on our interface.
  • Astral Power: Balance druids now have a ‘build and spend’ mechanic via a new Astral power resource. Our “builder” spells will generate astral power (e.g., solar wrath and lunar strike generate astral power). Our “spender” spells can be cast and use that astral power (starsurge and starfall), providing large benefits, such as Empowerments to our abilities.
  • New Mastery: Starlight Increases the damage of Starfall and Starsurge, and the effect of the Empowerments that they grant by an additional 30% (with Mastery from typical gear). This means that starlight doesn’t impact our core rotation in the way Eclipse does. It instead buffs spells you should be using anyway.

Analysis of overall changes: 

The base rotation will be to keep up DOTs, use spells to generate astral power, and then spend astral power on your starfall/starsurge spells. The empowerment will mean you follow starsurge with one lunar strike and one solar wrath (then use the appropriate spell depending on need for cleave to keep earning power). Rinse and repeat! Keep in mind that there will be other abilities that aren’t included in this list, as well as talents that will have big impacts. It is easier to manipulate a resource like astral power than to manipulate the ‘charges’ mechanic that we used for starsurge and starfall in Draenor.

For AOE, we won’t have Hurricane anymore. Instead, the plan is for DOT spam, starfall, and lunar strike to be our AOE toolkit. It’s possible we could get other AOE from talents, but we haven’t seen the talents yet.

Overall, this new starting point is going to be beneficial for balance druids. This will provide an opportunity for the true “easy to learn, hard to master” spec. For a long time, balance has been the opposite: Eclipse was hard to learn (unless you had good addons), and easy to master once you got the core concept. Getting rid of the clunky Eclipse mechanic is good for balance druids. It frees balance druids from a system that never truly worked – there was never really a reason to swap between two sets of spells that were basically identical in all but name. While the initial rotation sounds super simple, there is plenty of room for skill to be rewarded by the time everything else has been revealed for druids. The talents will provide flexibility in terms of being able to choose talents that increase the complexity of the spec. You can choose all passive talents as a new druid OR choose more active talents for more complexity in advanced high-end raiding.

I will be highly active during beta testing and plan on raiding moonkin in Legion if all goes well. At this point, I think our rotation holds onto the core mechanics of being about weaving DOTs and direct damage.

Posted in Blizzcon, Legion, Moonkin Balance DPS, Written By Lissanna
Tags: , , , , , ,

Druid class changes in Legion from class Q&A

Today was “class info release day” at Blizzcon. I will need to spend more time over the next few days writing about the Blizzcon announcement, but here are some major highlights from the class-specific Q&A that happened in the DMF area (that wasn’t available on the livestream):

All specs

  • Baseline, you will get fewer abilities for specs outside of your main specialization. So, balance won’t have a bunch of mostly useless bear, cat, and resto healing abilities. Instead, balance will pick a talent where you choose to have a secondary specialization in resto, feral, OR guardian. That secondary spec would be slightly weaker than the first. This allows Guardian druids to shift into moonkin form or cat form (depending on the talent choice they made) and do useful amounts of damage when their tanking partner taunts the boss off them. This same choice applies to cat and resto, as well.

Moonkin

  • Eclipse is gone. Playing the UI by watching the bar go back and forth just wasn’t a good playstyle. Never really worked well.
  • Balance has a focus on DOTs. Also gains and spends resources in a new way than Eclipse. This means balance gets a different mastery. Will keep existing DOT spells (moonfire, sunfire, starfall).
  • Balance will get Innervate as a specialization exclusive ability. Can cast innervate on other people: increase mana regen of your healer (or arcane mage!). No one else gets the ability to give mana to other players. This replaces Stampeding Roar which wasn’t thematically appropriate for balance.
  • The planned class blog will go live some time between Sunday and Tuesday, where you can learn a lot more details about these changes and more! I will work really hard beta testing balance along with the other balance theorycrafters. Once the info is live, I will work at collecting feedback and organizing it.

Restoration

  • They will reduce the rejuv spam feel of the spec, but overall the spec is in decent shape in terms of the overall toolset.
  • Resto will get a single-target “mark of the wild style” buff they can put on another player to boost them. No specific details on this. (this is in place of stampeding roar, which is guardian/feral exclusive. Turns out trees can’t actually roar.)
  • Changes to the talent system will impact how you specialize your heals for a fight. The talent changes will impact rotational play.

Guardian

  • Bears no longer dodge as their core tanking mechanic. It didn’t make sense that bear was all about dodge. That was really a mechanical thing that came from using Agility as the primary stat due to how gear worked. Magical dancing circus bears that dodged attacks is thematically inappropriate and won’t be around in Legion.
  • Bears will focus on armor and health instead – big beefy bears can take a hit and keep on going.
  • Vengence is gone. They will make the abilities and core mechanics of tanking classes work better without vengeance.
  • Tanking-related things in general will undergo some changes that are better discussed elsewhere by people who understand tank mechanics better than I do.

Feral

  • They didn’t announce much in the way of specific changes on the Q&A. There will be tweaks that fix some core problems, but no major overhaul like guardian and balance. They mentioned a couple little things like not casting rejuv in cat form. Details coming soonish.
Posted in Blizzcon, Druid - General, Legion, Moonkin Balance DPS, Written By Lissanna
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories

Featured Blogs