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Legion Beta is here!

Legion Beta is in full swing now, with a large group of people being invited to help test the content. While there are a few major bugs being worked out (such as disappearing NPCs), I wanted to briefly reflect upon development thus far.

The good:

  • The druid class hall is really, really pretty. Also, the class hall concept overall works pretty well, where you are likely to see other people frequently when you visit the class hall, but have a strong reason to leave & go out into the world.
  • New druid form updates are really, really pretty. The new moonkin feels much better – it’s difficult for me to log back onto my old druid with how much better the new druids look. The cat and bear forms are looking great, especially for the artifact forms.
  • Balance druids have a good starting point, with a newly redesigned mastery, a fairly complex toolkit, and decent utility (especially picking up extra healing spells with the affinity). While there are small tweaks to balance that I expect to see before things go live, we’re at a good starting point.
  • Resto druid’s toolest is starting to come together. Resto druids have gained back innervate (utility to cast on other people), dash (you can run away again!), and cyclone (as a PVP talent). So, some of the concerns and weaknesses we were concerned about were addressed.

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To be decided:

  • Resto mastery: The biggest question mark for resto druids right now is whether or not the new mastery is good. In most situations it should overall work fine. In places where the mastery falls short, we’ll likely just see changes to how resto druids heal. In general, the new healing strategy suggests that people won’t sit at 100% all the time, so HOTs may turn out to be pretty valuable if that healing strategy actually goes live. In general, the new resto mastery seems to be growing on most people on the beta forums right now, after some tweaks to the spec seems to have made it more desirable. So, resto mastery could work out fine. If it doesn’t work out fine, I’m sure we’ll see small tweaks along the way that keeps mastery desirable for druids.
  • Healer soloing & leveling: The new specialization system and artifacts have made it somewhat more difficult for healers to level. This is likely to be more true for undergeared healers than people with lots of gear. In addition, some healer specs are better off than others (I hear that holy priest is particularly difficult).You do get some DPS abilities (druids via the affinity system could potentially be in a good place if feral or balance affinity does enough damage). However, as they balance how difficult or fast it is to kill stuff in the world, healer leveling runs the risk of being slower and more boring than DPS leveling. It will cost you up to 61 gold every time you want to change a spec to DPS. In addition, you need an artifact weapon for a spec for it to really be viable – making swapping between specs challenging for healers. So, if you pick the resto artifact first, you won’t have a DPS weapon until after you’ve unlocked the ability to get a second weapon. In my guides, I’ll put in a level 100 to 110 section for advice on leveling healers (and how to manage spec swaps), but I’m still keeping an eye on healers’ ability to solo level & solo end-game world quests. Someone suggested that healers should get a boost to their world soloing damage (that wouldn’t work against players, in dungeons, or other group content). At this point, I think that might ultimately be the best solution if testing finds that healers struggle too much at keeping up with their DPS leveling counterparts. UPDATE: Gold cost on swapping specs is being removed, which helps some with being able to swap specs for leveling & whatnot.

Conclusion: In general, the transition to beta signals that we’re getting closer to release. The class changes need to be done by the end of July, since we traditionally see a pre-patch a month before the expansion launch. At this point, I’m still pretty committed to swapping to my druid for raiding on my moonkin in Legion.

 

Posted in Beta Feedback, Druid - General, Legion, Leveling

Last week of crowdfunding for autism video game research

Hi everyone! We have now hit the last week of the crowdfunding campaign for my research lab’s autism video game intervention project (it ends on Friday, December 14th!). These last few weeks of sharing my autism intervention research with all of you has really been incredible! I have had so much support that I can’t express in words how awesome this community is. As of this morning, we have reached $3,785 towards our goal (38%). The last week of the crowdfunding campaign is always the most important, so please take some time to support my research and spread the word to your social networks!

Lissanna’s druid leveling live stream on Monday, December 10th.

  • The mighty druid Lissanna fought for nearly eight to defend Azeroth from great evils. After slaying the mighty Deathwing, she laid down her staff for the last time and went to slumber in the Emerald Dream.  What could wake this mighty druid from her slumber? On Monday, December 10th, Lissanna the druid will dawn her fighting clothes and resume the battle in Mists of Pandaria once more. This time, she fights for improving Autism Intervention Research! Come watch Lissanna and Martiean level up from 85 together!

To celebrate and promote the last week of my research lab’s crowdfuning project, I have teamed with Martiean from the WoWMartiean youtube channel.   Martiean and I will be inviting some friends to join us and live streaming our leveling party  on Monday, the 10th, from 8 to 11 PM eastern (5 to 8 Pacific). I will be bringing my druid (who is still currently level 85) out of retirement for the night to level during the live stream in support of my autism research project! What better way to support video game research than with playing video games? You can watch the stream live on Monday at the WoWMartiean Youtube Channel.

Other news: Lissanna’s Horde House podcast guest appearance

  • Earlier this week, I joined the Horde House podcast for an interview about my gaming experience, my research project, and more! You can listen to the Horde House episode recording here. The guys are a little silly, but overall I had a lot of fun doing the interview. The interview part is in the first half of the episode.

One more week to go! Thank you all for helping to make this research on autism video game interventions possible, and for showing how amazing the video game community can be! Together, we are truly showing the world the positive side of video games!

Here is the video recording of last night’s stream. You can fast forward through some of the laggy bits. Youtube isn’t the best streaming platform some days. Most of it recorded fine!

Posted in Leveling, podcast, Research on video games, Written By Lissanna

Updated guides for Mists 5.0 patch

I have updated my leveling guides for the 5.0 patch that is due to go live on Tuesday. Here are some highlights:

Resto druid healing Guide 5.0 updates

The healing guide has a brief description of the 5.0 changes. Every page has also been updated with the changes for 5.0, except for the gems & enchant section that will be updated when the leveling cap increases. The healing guide has new page featuring descriptions of the new talents, as well as some recommendations.

Druid Leveling guide 5.0 updates

Major revisions to the druid leveling guide include one page dedicated to explaining the talents for all four specializations. The leveling guide focuses more on the abilities and rotations for characters starting out at the earlier levels and how to deal with incomplete tool sets through ~level 60 for each specialization.

If you see any typos or issues in the guides, please post here. I purged most of the comments from the guides to help reduce the amount of patch-day confusion people may have. Some of the pages will still accept comments, and others have been disabled to reduce the amount of spam they get. So, posting comments here may be more reliable than trying to post on the actual guide pages. 🙂

Posted in Druid - General, Leveling, Patch 5.0, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna

MOP Druid leveling guide preview: Talents

With the new talent system being released with the 5.0 MOP pre-patch, I have started working on the newest version of my leveling guide. With the talent changes, I am doing one talent section that covers info for all four specs, since there is a lot of info that would have been redundant if I did one for each of the four specs. Since I spent all day working on the guide, I thought I’d release the talent section early. Please note that it’s subject to change if Blizzard changes talents. Also, keep in mind that the leveling guide is targeting people level 1 to 89, and when you hit 90, you should be looking at end-game guides for talent advice. I’ll have end-game talent suggestions for moonkin & resto druids closer to MOP’s patch day.

Druid Leveling Talents in Mists of Pandaria (patch 5.0):

There is a new talent system which has a set of talents that is shared across all four druid specializations. Choosing your specialization now gives you a bunch of abilities as you level up. Then, you get to choose 6 additional abilities from the talent set. Here, I will briefly explain the sets of options you have and how useful they are to each spec for leveling (your max-level choices may be different). The purpose of these talents is to allow for choice, so I will spend more time explaining what they do than telling you which one to choose.

Level 15: All specializations choose either feline swiftness or wild charge.

  • Feline Swiftness: Increases your movement speed by 15% at all times. This is pretty useful for all four specializations.
  • Displacer beast: Teleports you 20 yards away and shifts you into cat form. This talent isn’t useful for anyone because it is too easy to break you out of stealth. Bad for all specs.
  • Wild charge: Gives you a different movement teleport effect depending on your specialization. In caster form, you teleport to the location of your targeted ally.  Moonkin bound backwards 20 yards. Travel form leaps forward 20 yards. Swim form goes faster. Cats jump behind your targeted enemy. Bears charge at their enemy and imobilize them for 4 seconds. Good for everyone except resto druids for leveling.

Level 30:  Resto: choose Nature’s Swiftness or Cenarion Ward. All other specs: Choose nature’s swiftness or Renewal.

  • Nature’s Swiftness: makes your next healing spell, roots, rebirth, or cyclone instant-cast and usable in all forms. This is useful for all specializations.
  • Renewal: Instant cast that heals yourself for 30% of your health. Useful for DPS and tank druids for keeping yourself alive. Less helpful for resto druids where the other options can be used on either yourself or others.
  • Cenarion Ward: A buff you put on your target that will apply a HOT to tick down after they get hit. This could be useful for resto druids, but I’d recommend other specs to pick up one of the more burst heals. In addition, this may not heal very much at lower levels, so one of the other talents could be a better healing talent for leveling.

Level 45: Overall, I prefer typhoon. However, for leveling, your choice of crowd control here doesn’t matter much.

  • Faerie Swarm: Your faerie fire spell slows your target’s movement speed. Situationally useful.
  • Mass Entanglement: Will root multiple targets in place for a short time. Situationally useful.
  • Typhoon: Knocks back your target and dazes (slows) them for a short period of time. Situationally useful.

Level 60: Varies by spec (see below). All of these are designed to help your main role, so any choice ends up being potentially helpful for leveling. Each talent does something different for each specialization.

  • Soul of the forest: Gives balance more solar or lunar energy when you exit Eclipse (good option because it gets you back into an Eclipse faster). Gives feral more energy when you use finishing moves (not as helpful for leveling if things die fast). For Guardian, mangle generates more rage (helpful for leveling as a tank). For resto, using swiftmend makes your next cast spell faster (not as helpful for leveling as resto). The nice part of this is that your bonus is passive so you don’t have to remember to cast it.
  • Incarnation: For balance, increases your damage while Eclipse is active (probably better for grouping than solo). For feral, this gives you a couple different bonuses (probably better for grouping or max level than solo leveling). Guardian: Reduces the cooldown on abilities (good for leveling in instances). Resto: increases your healing done and gives you several nice bonuses (good for leveling in instances).
  • Force of Nature: Summons treants to fight for you. For balance, treants cast wrath & roots (helpful for leveling). For feral, treants do melee damage and can stun the target (helpful for leveling). For guardian, treants taunt (not as helpful for leveling). Resto treants cast Healing Touch (helpful for leveling).

Level 75: Another crowd control tier where it doesn’t matter what talent you choose.

  • Disorienting roar: Disorients all enemies within 10 yards (your targets won’t attack for the duration of the effect, but any damage you do will break the disorient).
  • Ursol’s Vortex: Will slow the movement speed of enemies in the vortex.
  • Mighty bash: A 5 second stun that requires being in melee range.

Level 90: See end-game guides for recommendations once they’ve been released. Heart of the wild‘s passive bonuses are useful for everyone (though the “utility” benefit is less useful), so you can start out with Heart of the Wild and choose your talent based on the end-game content you want to do. The other two talents are more situational.

Posted in Beta Feedback, Druid - General, Leveling, Mists of Pandaria, Written By Lissanna

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