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Updates at restokin: preparation, guides, & podcasts

So, there are a couple things that I have going on that I wanted to post updates about:

  1. Preparing for the 4.0.1 patch  (for both moonkin & resto druids)! This weekend, I hope to post about things like glyphs & gems that you should be acquiring before patch day hits. Not all of the glyphs will be available on patch day, but you will be able to set up with a temporary glyph set to get you started.
  2. Both my healing and leveling guides will need a facelift the day that 4.0.1 hits the shelves. I will have something in place on release day, but neither will be a full guide, and the guides will stop at level 80 content. So, I will have a guide tailored to level 80 healing with the new talents (mostly with an explanation of what changed and how to deal with the new changes at 80 before mana becomes a problem). I will also have something resembling a 1 to 80 leveling guide ready to go at that point which will receive frequent updates as I have time and we get closer to Cata’s release.
  3. Prior to cata’s release, I will get leveling guide updated for all 3 specs from 80 to 85 ready to go (along with probably getting the resto/bear instance healing/tanking leveling stuff ready to go, which won’t make it in for my 4.0 leveling guide).  I will release a complete version for 85 resto healing after Cataclysm hits the shelves and we see how people are actually healing, and what the raid mechanics actually look like.
  4. I believe that WoW is going to be migrating to new a new forum format, where we will have to start from scratch by re-posting all of our guides and such. Blizzard has done a WoW forum migration once before in previous patches, and has put Starcraft on the new forum format already. They haven’t announced anything about this lately, but I’m still anticipating the move. My leveling guide will likely move to the new forums first, and then the healing guide will follow after I get the leveling guide set up. All guides will also be cross-posted on the blog, and the blog will contain more updates as we work our way through the transition.
  5. Oh, and this month is also Blizzcon, which I’ll be watching from home (since I didn’t get tickets). I’ll report on any big druid announcements over that weekend.

Now that you know my plan for the next ~3 months… I have a fun announcement! I’m planning on joining a bunch of my fellow druids in recording a Druid Roundtable podcast with the Raid Warning Podcast this NEXT weekend. (Date postponed another week...) There will be resto, feral, and moonkin druids. The lineup of people they sent the contact e-mails out to was a rather large list of big druid names from the community. We’ll be recording segments over this weekend, and they plan to release the podcast to everyone on Tuesday, the 5th in mid-October. I’ll let you guys know when it is posted, and will give you links and more info at that point. It won’t be recorded live due to how complicated it will be for the Raid Warning crew to coordinate so many different schedules.

Prior to the podcast, we’re supposed to ask for questions that people want answered. So, if you have a burning question you want discussed by the druid roundtable, you are welcome to put it in a comment to this post. You can also follow @RaidWarning on Twitter, and send your questions directly to them. In addition, if you are on twitter and are not following me (@restokin), you are also missing out on all my fun beta testing rants!

That’s all I have for now. Oh, and ontop of all of this, I’m supposed to be sending my advisor a draft of my dissertation proposal by the end of the weekend. Oh joy!

Posted in Cataclysm, Druid - General, Feral DPS Cat, Leveling, Moonkin Balance DPS, Restoration Healing Trees

Cata druid leveling: 1 to 20 is more fun

So, I wanted to take a break from my regularly scheduled crying about how frustrating high level healing is on Beta (especially with the 84 & 85 quests not itemized) to talk about something much more exciting – druid leveling from 1 to 20!

So, now we have 4 different races to choose from when leveling a new druid, which gives us 4 starter zones: Night Elf & Worgen for the Alliance, and Tauren & Troll for the Horde. Trolls even have a new level 1 to 5 starter experience that I tried out a couple times and have had a lot of fun with.

The new talent trees are actually better for people who are new to the game and starting out leveling, since it will be harder to make the wrong decision (like going and putting 10 points in each talent tree at the start), as there should be fewer bad talent traps for people to fall in.

The biggest improvement for druids, however, is the level at which we get early abilities in the 1 to 20 level range.

Leveling 1 to 20 as feral in Cataclysm:

  • You still have to caster level from 1 to 8, which shouldn’t be that bad, given the staring area questing improvements and having pretty much unlimited mana.
  • At level 8, you get: Cat form, claw, Rake, & Ferocious Bite.
  • At level 10, you get mangle
  • At level 15, you get: bear form, maul, growl, & demo roar (engough tanking abilities to start tanking).

Leveling 1 t0 20 as balance:

  • From 1 to 8, you pick up: wrath, moonfire, thorns, roots & starfire.
  • At level 10, you get Starsurge from the talent tree.
  • At level 20, you get insect swarm.

So, both feral & balance druids have enough spells & abilities to level fairly quickly up to 20 and beyond!

For feral, getting cat form at level 8 is a HUGE quality of life improvement, and you still get bear form at the level where the random dungeon system opens up and you can start tanking. I have had a lot of fun leveling a lowbie troll kitty druid up to the mid/late 30’s just because cat form has been so much fun for leveling through all the new & improved quest zones.

Balance druid leveling hasn’t been changed that much, with the biggest improvement for leveling coming from having starsurge as our level 10 balance spell. The knockdown effect helps with survivability, since it reduces the damage you take. As a cooldown ability, starsurge has higher burst damage and will help to break up rotations so that they feel less spammy. They also gave us starfire earlier. In addition, insect swarm is trainable now, rather than a talent, which means you actually get Insect Swarm earlier now than you used to, as well.

They seem to be front-loading a lot of our damage abilities so that we have access to more buttons sooner for feral & balance. An earlier cat form means that feral druids can now actually be feral druids sooner, and overall the changes to leveling design will make druids actually fun to level from 1 to 20, rather than the first 20 levels being what you wanted to get past so that the fun could start.

So, at the very least, I’m excited to start my new worgen druid when Cataclysm comes out in a few months. I’ve even avoided doing alliance leveling quests from level 15 to 60, so that I could have some fun surprises in store for me when I started on my leveling adventure. This is the one thing I am really excited about.

Posted in Cataclysm, Druid - General, Feral Bear tanking, Feral DPS Cat, Leveling, Moonkin Balance DPS

Update on my guides – not forgotten!

So, I’ve been somewhat neglectful of my leveling & healing guides lately – mostly because there haven’t been many changes worth noting. However, I did finally cross-post the leveling tank & healing guide pages onto the forum sticky version. They have been on the blog version of my leveling guide for a while, but due to the popularity of the newer dungeon leveling system, I thought it was time to move them over. As of now, they are still only level 40 thru 80. I figure before level 40, the talents don’t actually matter that much, so it isn’t worth my time as of now to go back and fill in the rest of the talents before then.

In addition, there is a really great new guide by Wildpaw on the forums covering more info about leveling through the dungeon system for tanks & healers. That guide is a great little gem on the forums that hasn’t been stickied yet, so I wanted to bring attention to it for people who are currently leveling druid alts.

Also, for my healing guide – I haven’t updated it much lately, either. At this point, it probably won’t get attention until the new Cataclysm version that I’ll write for when the new Cata talents come out. Until then, there’s not much of a point in making major changes to it. However, if you find obvious problems or things that are out of date, please let me know.

When Cataclysm is closer to release, I plan to re-write my guides (again) from scratch (likely a very time consuming process). However, that process won’t start until much closer to the expansion’s release. So, until then, I plan to relax a little bit and not spend a lot of time on going back over my guides for content that is soon going to be outdated. However, I’m really looking forward to getting to revamp my guides again, and I already know some things I plan to do differently next time (ie. remove the low level pvp advice from my leveling guide, since I don’t do low level pvp to maintain good advice), and things I’d like to add (more about the abilities & rotations at low levels). I know there are always things I can do to make them better, and I have big plans for the future (including planning on leveling a third druid – a worgen- when Cataclysm is on the live servers, so I can have the experience of leveling a druid again to improve the quality of my leveling guide).

Posted in Druid - General, Feral Bear tanking, Leveling, Restoration Healing Trees

Leveling is more fun with friends

So, a couple days ago, 2 of the people from my guild & I picked up some heirloom items and started up new characters. After we did that, one more person that I knew joined us. So, we started out as four low level characters: 2 paladins, and 2 shaman.

Since I already had a shaman, I started out as a paladin. The two paladins ran from our human starting zone to the Draenei starting area, where the 2 shaman were starting. We got through a lot of quests together, and got 10 levels in about 4 hours /played (including the travel time). It was probably the most fun I’ve had leveling in a long time, since leveling is more fun with friends. It’s also funny because there are always multiples of everything as we do the quests together, with really funny results:

So, here we have: The quest that turned us all into shadow-kitties. One where we disguised as a forest on the beach (and the NPCs still couldn’t figure out that this group of huge trees didn’t spring up over night?). We also had some fun with the quest that gives you the temporary elephant mount.

We’re still below level 15 now. If we continue on together, I may post progress reports. We’ll see how it goes.

Also, this adventure has shown me how boring paladin level is at those lower levels. My heirloom axe is really makes a huge difference, along with having other people around to make the process more fun.

Posted in Leveling, Paladin

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