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MoP Beta resto changes from latest build

So, they pushed out a new build last night. The mmo-champion patch notes aren’t particularly helpful for figuring out what the changes actually were for resto druids this build.

Barkskin/Ironbark

First, I have BOTH Barkskin & Ironbark on my bar as a resto druid. So, the text change on Ironbark was intentional to not let you have both up at the same time. Right now, they don’t share a cooldown at all (you can have both up), but I believe that’s just a bug. So, we’ll have to wait and see how that mechanic shapes up in later builds. At the very least, barkskin wasn’t on my bar last build, and now it is back.

Mushroom Changes

As of the latest beta build, they changed how shrooms are placed. This change applies to both the resto & moonkin versions of the spell. The old version required us to click a button and then use the mouse to target the ground to place each shroom. This looked something like:

  • press-click-press-click-press-click + Detonate

In beta, the shrooms button now has 3 charges. While you have charges active, your targeting circle will remain active and you can keep clicking to get more shrooms placed. The targeting circle no longer disappears as soon as you drop a single shroom (unless you only had one shroom charge, and then it goes away when you hit zero charges). So, in beta, if you have 3 charges active, this looks something like:

  • Press-click-click-click + detonate

The charges respawn fairly quickly (looks like one every second when you hit 0 shrooms, since there is a new charge that comes up right after your GCD ends for your last shroom placement. It respawns every ~2 or 3 seconds when you have 1 or more charges – the respawn rate feels about right for making sure you can drop 3 but have access to more quickly if things screwed up).

Taking out the two extra button presses makes the spell placement much less awkward. As someone who runs moonkin in raids a lot these days, I definitely appreciate the change to placement.

However, for resto druids, this doesn’t negate some of the other huge problems with the spell I talked about in the last post (namely, 6 yards is half the radius of the newly increased Healing Rain’s circle which looks like it is now 12 yards in beta, the best we could test. You can’t see where the shrooms are going to heal because the targeting circle & graphic are still significantly smaller than the heal effect). At the very least, an increased radius (8 to 10 yards) along with a graphic that better matches the size of the radius (so you know where you placed it and where to stand to get healed) is still really needed to make the healing shroom spell viable.

Posted in Beta Feedback, Mists of Pandaria, Moonkin Balance DPS, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna

MoP Beta: More on moonkin & tree form shapeshifts

Hey guys, we got updates on the EU forum from Wryxian about moonkin form not being forgotten!

Well, we agree. And this is why an improved moonkin model is indeed in the schedule. But alas I have no due date to announce. In the meantime, we hope the various new cool shape-shift glyphs will provide a little distraction while the moonkin model gets the loving it needs. :)

So, it looks like while Glyph of Stars allows the moonkin haters to just not have moonkin form, there will eventually be a moonkin graphic update. Some day. This gives us a little bit of hope at least. So, peeps who don’t want moonkin at all can have glyph of stars, and people who want moonkin can just keep waiting.

Glyph of stars overall is a decent glyph. You can mount in that form, and it will be really great for PvP, I think. I personally, however, just feel empty without moonkin form, so the glyph of stars just isn’t for me.

Incarnation for moonkin right now is just making moonkin comically large, rather than putting you in a new form (though for some reason, my NE druid’s comically large moonkin is actually the Worgen coloring). I’m avoiding posting pictures of it just because I still assume this is a placeholder and not “working as intended” so to speak.

Tree form Glyph & Incarnation Clarifications

So, I keep getting questions about how the tree form glyph works & what happens with the cooldown tree. I didn’t include this in my shapeshift posts because the graphics haven’t changed. However, I figure that I’ll include it all here so you guys can see.

Here is my feral-spec druid in Perma-Tree form from the glyph. Note that any spec can use the tree form glyph (it is not spec-restricted). I also checked, and the tree form glyph is not slowing my movement speed. Treant form runs at normal run speed. You can cast spells in treant form, so you can heal in treant form as a resto druid. There is no time restriction on shifting into cosmetic tree, so you can hang out and dance in tree form all day if you want to.

Below is my resto druid with Incarnation. Note that incarnation doesn’t put a shapeshift form on my shapeshift bar. Instead, incarnation gives me a spell in my spell book that I drag onto my normal casting bar. I hit that spell to activate the cooldown. So, the tree form cooldown isn’t a shapeshift button on your shapeshift bar anymore.

Posted in Mists of Pandaria, Moonkin Balance DPS, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna

Updates to MoP Talent calculator

So, it looks like we got a nice MoP talent calculator update for druids. For this post, I’m just going to go through a handful of the bigger changes. I’ll do more focused critiques for resto & moonkin over the next few weeks. The change list isn’t inclusive of all the changes. I’m just highlighting some of the bigger changes.

Major talent changes:

  • None of the talents force-shift you into shapeshift forms anymore (except for displacer beast which is okay because it activates prowl). The talents are all useable in all forms. One additional awesome change is that all the feral utility abilities (dash, taunt, stampeding roar, etc) will shift you into an appropriate feral form if you are not already in form. So, the effect that used to be on the talents are now just on our baseline feral utility abilities (yay!). For tank swaps, if you are outside of bear form & need to taunt, you wouldn’t have to go into bear before taunting – taunting would just now shift you to bear.
  • All 3 level 15 movement abilities were changed. Wild Charge replaced dash 2.0 in the level 15 talents and they are all relatively caster-friendly now. Displacer beast sends you 20 yards forward (no longer random & dangerous), and feline swiftness increases the movement speed of all specs by an equal 15%.
  • New Talent (Soul of the Forrest) replaced the spot where wild charge used to be (does Eclipse power gains for moonkin & casting haste buff for resto).
  • Bear hug is now a baseline ability. Level 75 talent replaced with Mighty Bash. This requires you to be in melee range to stun the target for 5 seconds, but at least it is useable in all forms. I’m not totally sold on the level 75 talents for caster druids, but the talent set is better now.  They all seem really situational for PvE purposes.
  • Master shapeshifter is gone (as predicted). Replaced with Dream of Cenarius, where using healing spells give you a damage buff & using damage spells give you a healing buff. This is still situational and won’t likely be a DPS/HPS increase for your main role, but is still potentially useful for off-role utility purposes depending on how it ends up being implemented. Requires some beta testing for the mechanic to see if it ends up being useful or not. It’s better than the original horrible talent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is ready to go live as currently designed. It has more potential for being decent with some tweaks as we test the talents.

Overall talent change impressions:

Druid talents are obviously harder to get right than any of the other specs. Nothing really feels that amazing for PvE purposes in pretty much any tier. However, the are significantly better than the original talent tree versions. The problems with heart of the wild haven’t been addressed, but we are at least headed in the right direction and we can see that they are listening to at least some of the major criticisms about the original set of talents. There is still a LOT of work for us to do over the course of beta, but a lot of these talents now need to  be tested & theorycrafted instead of just being totally laughable.

Moonkin Ability Changes:

  • Eclipse gained an interesting effect, where Solar Eclipse will cause wrath to increase the duration of sunfire & Lunar Eclipse will cause starfire to increase the duration on moonfire.
  • The new insect swarm increases all spell damage by 25% rather than only increasing the damage done by our three nuke spells. I’m not sure what I think about the change or how it impacts what I wrote about earlier.

Conclusions:

All of the dispel abilities have cooldowns now for all the classes, which is the only major change to resto abilities. I didn’t see any other major resto spell changes, and I’m not looking at the cat/bear ability lists for time reasons (because I didn’t memorize the feral tooltips prior to the changes, lol). Symbiosis was clarified to say that it can’t be cast on other druids. The talents are now at a point where we need to test them in beta to really be able to see how they are going to work in the new content. Some of them may be very useful in certain encounters that we just haven’t seen yet, and some of them may turn out to be totally useless.

Posted in Cataclysm, Druid - General, Moonkin Balance DPS, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna

Insect Swarm in MoP

Edit: My timing sucked & this changed in the new calculator update. I edited this post to reflect the new changes. Edits are in itallics and outdated info has a strikethrough so you can see the changes.

So, we still have another month before we expect new Mists of Pandaria information. Today, I thought I would take a look at the new insect swarm ability as it is currently worded in the MoP talent calculators. Like all other things in MoP, this ability is subject to change.

  • The new insect swarm reads: (instant, 7% base mana, no cooldown, 40 yd range) “The target is swarmed by insects, increasing all damage taken from your wrath, starfire, and starsurge abilities by 30% for 1 minute. Limit 1 target”.
  • The new insect swarm (updated 2/15) reads: (Instant, 7% base mana, no cooldown 40 yd range): “The target is swarmed by insects, increasing all damage taken from your spells by 25% for 1 minute. Limit 1 target”.

Why change Insect swarm? So, this spell is no longer a DOT in MoP. Right now, it can account  for anywhere between 20% and 30% of our damage done in PvE. However, having both insect swarm and sunfire as DOTs that benefit from Solar Eclipse (and not having an arcane version of insect swarm) means that it contributes to the need to “solar cleave” for AOE damage. Removing one of our DOTs completely will make solar cleave much less beneficial for us. So, I believe that hampering solar cleave is the primary reason for the change.

The good: Changing insect swarm from a DOT to a debuff does several beneficial things:

  • One less DOT to track & rely on for DPS
  • Makes Lunar & Solar Eclipse more balanced. Combined with a better Arcane AOE rotation (where hurricane will comeback to be useful again), this pretty much destroys any chance for Solar Cleave to be as prominent in MoP.
  • Update: The Feb 15 change makes it effect all damage instead of just your nuke spells, so it would increase moonfire/sunfire damage and the AOE damage done to that one target. This is a slightly better version than the previous iteration.

The bad:

  • Makes PvP damage much more difficult, since DOTs account for a lot of the damage done in PvP for moonkin right now.
  • No longer available to resto druids (and resto druids don’t have sunfire).
  • The new insect swarm still has to be managed & refreshed multiple times in an encounter, since it has a short 1 minute cooldown (ie. in a 10 minute fight, you will still need to keep an eye on the debuff to make sure it doesn’t fall off).
  • It doesn’t do damage anymore, and it doesn’t provide any real utility. The tooltip suggests that it will only buff your spells (not the resto druid’s, not the other moonkin’s spells).
  • You can only have it on 1 target at a time, meaning you will have to keep re-applying it often for target-switch fights and for PvP.
  • We don’t know if it can be dispelled in PvP, and will leave moonkin largely unplayable in PvP if it can be dispelled.
  • It will be balanced such that your nukes will do 30 25% less damage when that buff isn’t up, and when your Eclipse is also down, it will make your nukes particularly weak. This will cause huge balancing issues for any PvE fight where you have to  switch targets a lot, and will really suck for PvP in particular where they’re also getting hit with the removal of being able to rely on DOT damage. Normally, I ignore PvP in my posts, but this is one place where I’m really worried about moonkin ever becoming PvP viable if the new insect swarm  makes things go from bad to worse.
  • Makes moonfire/Sunfire our only source of movement damage right now, leading us to really need to have the ability to cast our nukes while moving to remain viable for any type of content.

Options moving forward:

  • It could be possible to just leave Insect Swarm as a DOT and see if we still solar-cleave after all the other changes to the spec. I actually think that having Lunar Eclipshere effect some of our AOE abilities (ie. the new HurrArcane) will fix the solar cleave problem without changing IS.
  • It could be possible to remove insect swarm altogether. Our moonkin mechanics are already complicated enough that it is hard to master the spec, and there is a huge DPS gap between good moonkin & great moonkin, making the spec hard to balance. Having one less timer to track means that we’ll be able to have more moonkin succeed, and will prevent the changes to the spec from over-complicating our rotations further. They could also just make moonfire/sunfire increase the damage that our nukes do if they want this  spell effect without having to use a new spell to do it.
  • They could make sure that it is PvP friendly. Make insect swarm undispellable in PvP or reduce the effect from insect swarm to make it less punishing when it’s not on the target (down to say 10% or 15%). They could also increase the duration so that it was a little more “set it and forget it” for single-target PvE fights.
  • Make insect swarm a “finishing move” or a DPS cooldown. There are plenty of other tools moonkin could use more than the new MoP insect swarm effect. They could make it such that insect swarm was something we only cast when the target was below 25% health, or make it a cooldown that increased the damage from our nukes for only a short period of time. It would be a lot better if we could use it for controlled burst damage periods (say a 20 sec effect on a 2 min cooldown or whatever would be appropriate & balanced). Celestial Alignment doesn’t give us any burst damage if we are already in Eclipse (it only helps when we get caught outside of an Eclipse for an AOE or burst phase), so giving us another burst DPS cooldown (even if it only effected those 3 spells) would really help for burn phases in PvE and allow the PvP druids to get off more damage when they aren’t being focused (ie. pop displacer beast & then unload your cooldowns to nuke the target).

Conclusions:

With how many changes are being made to the moonkin toolkit overall, it will really be hard to see how this all works out until we get into Beta, or at least see the talent calculator updates. However, the current version is likely going to cause a lot of headaches as the tooltip is written. There is, however, still a lot of time between now & release, and this may be an ability that undergoes several revisions before it goes live (at least this prediction has already come true in today’s talent calculator update, lol). What do you guys think about the new insect swarm design?

Posted in Cataclysm, Moonkin Balance DPS, Written By Lissanna

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