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Legion patch day resources for 7.0 druids

Happy patch day! The pre-patch for Legion brings with it major class changes as well as Druid_moonkinother important game changes to be aware of. Here are some resources and other tips to help get you started! There is also a Discord for druids, where you can ask questions and chat with hundreds of other druids.

General updates for all druids.

  • Cat form, moonkin form, bear form, sea lion swimming travel form all got skin updates to their base textures.
  • Glyph system was changed. All major glyphs are gone. Minor cosmetic glyphs still exist, in the form of either glyphs applied to spells OR tomes that let you learn new spells. The glyphs (Such as Glyph of Stars) can be made by vendors and applied to your existing spells.
  • The Tomes are available in MOONGLADE during the pre-patch month (find Lorelae Wintersong)! This includes: Nature’s Beacon  Tome of the Wilds: Treant Form   Tome of the Wilds: Stag Form    Tome of the Wilds: Track Beasts    Tome of the Wilds: Flap   Tome of the Wilds: Charm Woodland Creature
  • They got rid of dual-spec as a feature. Instead, you can freely change between all 4 specializations. Note that keeping up with 4 artifact weapons in Legion is likely to be difficult, maxcameraespecially early in the expansion.
  • They changed the max camera distance, and changed the Camera Interface option. Go into Interface -> Camera and set “Max Camera Distance” slider to “Far”.
  • The new transmog system is live. All your gear is learned to the transmog system so you can dump all your old gear instead of hoarding it. You also enable/disable your helm/cloak in the transmog system tab. Need to interact with a transmog NPC still to use the transmog system.
  • I also fully updated the 1 to 100 leveling guide here on Restokin & also on the official wow forums.

Due to the major class changes, here is a compilation of all the available guides to help you navigate the druid class changes!

Restoration Druid Guides

Balance Druid Guides

Feral Druid Guides

Guardian Druid Guides

 

Posted in Legion, Patch 7.0, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna

Resto druid Legion survival guide for 7.0

Resto druid survival guide for level 100 Legion 7.0 pre-patch! NOTE: This is currently a preview subject to change!  With the pre-patch hitting July 19th, here is a short guide covering the major changes you will have to adjust to at level 100. The full guide will be updated some time in the next few weeks for level 110 end-game. Restoration druids are largely similar in toolset & playstyle in Legion compared to Draenor. Thus, you should mostly be able to keep playing the way you are used to for the next month in Draenor content. The goal is still to use mostly HOTs around the raid as your primary healing strategy.

This survival guide covers the following topics:

  • New Mastery
  • Spell & ability changes
  • Stats
  • Talents

New Mastery: Harmony

  • The Draenor mastery ability was removed & replaced with a new mastery for Legion.
  • This new mastery instead increases your healing done by ALL spells for each HOT on your target (e.g., rejuv, lifebloom, wild growth, regrowth’s HOT portion). So, having 2 HOTs on the target will heal more than 1 HOT on the target. Then, 3 HOTs heal for more than 2 HOTs, and so forth.
  • Additional HOTs from talents can also increase this mastery healing (e.g., cultivation, spring blossoms, germination). Note that effects like living seed, efflorescence, and tranquility don’t count towards the mastery, as they are not considered HOT effects. Cenarion ward only counts as a HOT after the person takes damage (e.g., the ward is consumed) and the HOT portion is ticking down for 8 seconds.
  • How much does this impact your healing?
    • Druids are balanced around ~1 to 2 HOTs on a target for the purpose of raid healing. So, in most cases, the main goal will be to avoid casting Healing Touch or Swiftmend on people who don’t have HOTs on them.
    • While the old mastery buffed you (the healer), the new mastery is based on number of HOTs on each individual target (e.g., if you have 3 HOTs on your tank and 1 HOT on a mage, then the mastery bonus is higher on your tank than the mage).
    • All HOTs benefit from the mastery (e.g., if you cast Rejuv on someone who has no other HOTs, Rejuv still gets a mastery bonus value of 1 HOT).
    • The mastery buffs both your direct heals and HOTs, and the bonus increases for each HOT you have on a target. For example, at 8% mastery on my undergeared level 100 resto on the PTR, my rejuv ticks for: 4479 with 1 HOT (rejuv buffing itself), 4803 (2 HOTs), 5129 (3 HOTs), 5453 (4HOTs), 5778 (5 HOTS).
    • In general, your goal should be keeping multiple HOTs on the tank and not worrying too much about the mastery for raid healing (as shown above, the increase in rejuv ticks at 100 don’t make a second HOT necessary for rejuv to be beneficial for your raid). Try not to spam yourself OOM by blanketing people needlessly just because you think you have to HOT stack.
    • Note that HOTs dynamically update every time they tick. It doesn’t matter what order you cast your HOT spells in when stacking multiple HOTs on a target. Your mastery will check number of HOTs on a target every time it ticks.

Spell and Ability Changes

Removed abilities:

  • Nature’s Swiftness, mark of the wild, soothe, and genesis are gone.
  • Dramatically reduced access to baseline off-role damage/utility abilities (NOTE: see the section on level 45 affinity talents for how you can get access to damage abilities for soloing via talents!).
  • Cyclone: Now only available as a PVP talent at 110.
  • Most “major” glyphs have been removed (instead, these effects have been baked into abilities, changed into talents, or removed).

New abilities:

  • Innervate has returned. Now allows all spells cast for 10 seconds to be mana-free (usable on yourself or others).
  • Revitalize: This is now a mass resurrection spell available to healers. Returns all raid or party members out of combat (revive is 1 person out of combat, rebirth is 1 person in combat). This basically replaces Mass Res, which was taken away from non-healers.

Modified abilities:

  • Swiftmend: longer cooldown & larger effect. Swiftmend also no longer requires a HOT for you to be able to cast the spell (though due to interactions with the new mastery, HOTs on the target will make it heal for more).
  • Teleport Moonglade: Will eventually be replaced with Dreamwalking as you level in Legion (gives you access to a larger set of portals to various places).
  • Efflorescence: Wild Mushroom has been renamed Efflorescence – place a mushroom on the ground to heal targets standing nearby.
  • Note that minor glyphs (largely impacting cosmetic appearances) are still available as either glyphs or tomes. You apply minor glyphs to the spells themselves, or learn shapeshift forms such as tree form, rather than using the old glyph system.

Stat Priority

Overview. In general, it doesn’t much matter what your gear is like is for the month before legion comes out.  There are two general strategies for stats (large group vs small group) since the value of mastery goes down as the number of people in your party goes up. Spirit and multistrike have been removed from all of your gear. For the pre-patch month, just wear whatever is highest ilevel, since you’ll replace everything soon anyway, but here’s a quick set of potential priority lists. Higher ilevel things with more intellect, of course, will always help your healing the most.

  • Stats for large raids: Haste = crit > versatility = mastery. Mastery doesn’t work very well with large numbers of targets to heal (e.g., groups of 15+ such as LFR or Mythic raids). So, haste & crit seems to come out higher.
  • Stats for 5-mans & small group contentMastery > haste = crit > versatility. For smaller groups, mastery clearly comes out ahead of all other stats, due to the ability to stack HOTs on multiple people (regardless of which talent build you take).

Potential Talent Builds

In general, for the Legion pre-patch month, the talent choices don’t matter a whole lot. Below are two potential strategies. The first is the highest output healing build for Legion end-game raiding, focused on maximizing Wild Growth use (turning swiftmend into a spell that primes Wild Growth to heal more). The second is more of a fun 5-man alternative build for beginners that frees up Swiftmend to be used as an emergency tank heal it was meant to be. I’ll do a full set of talent explanations in the full end-game guide I’ll post in the upcoming weeks.

Talent build for large group content such as Heroic/Mythic raids: Prosperity/Soul of the Forrest/Spring Blossoms/Flourish (choose whatever you want for remaining talents at level 30, 45, & 60 – but note the affinity discussion at the end of the post).

  • Maximizing Wild Growth for large group content: Soul of the Forest (SOTF) is a very strong talent. However, you always time it so you can follow Swiftmend with Wild Growth (thus, Swiftmend now gets used every time it comes off cooldown to buff Wild Growth. Pair SOTF with Prosperity to allow for more Swiftmend casts. Flourish extends the duration of your HOTs (use it after Wild Growth casts once per minute). These three together make your Wild Growth healing incredibly potent for raiding.
  • Level 90 talent discussion: Spring Blossoms is the most obvious choice for level 90 talents since it allows you to get a HOT component on Efflorescence and is essentially passive bonuses that interact with your mastery. In fights where a 2 minute tranquility works well with encounter design, Inner Peace can be very potent. Germination won’t work as well in raids, due to eating too many GCDs (you’ll get more mastery bonus from Spring Blossoms).
  • This SOTF build works great for some raid encounters but falls short of a Culvination build in others. So, you may find yourself wanting to change talent builds around in raids depending on the encounter, particularly for more advanced mythic raids.
  • This healing strategy works by: Casting swiftmend ALWAYS followed by wild growth. Extend the HOT from Wild Growth when flourish if off cooldown (1 x per minute). Keep rejuv/LB on tank(s). Keep Efflorescence under the melee group. Be careful managing your mana between Wild Growth Casts, so you can cast Wild Growth as often as possible. Tranquility on cooldown.

SOTF Build level 100

Alternative talents for 5-mans or some raid encounters: Abundance (or Cenarion Ward), cultivation, germination, stonebark (or flourish). Note that you can choose whatever level 30, 45, or 60 talent you want (but see discussion on Affinity level 45 talents at the end of this post).

  • This focuses on maximizing your rejuv use (with bonus rejuv stacking from Germination & Cultivation) and maximizing your mastery bonuses. Given that tank healing matters more for 5-mans, abundance (with a ton of rejuvs spread around) will make your direct heals super fast. Healing Touch can actually drop below 1 second cast times.
  • For the level 15 talents, some people prefer Cenarion Ward over Abundance, since the speedy direct heals from Abundance are causing people to run out of mana too quickly. The HOT from Cenarion Ward (after the person takes damage) also counts towards the mastery bonus.
  • Stonebark is useful for tank healing in 5-mans, particularly for people who may be struggling to keep the tank alive (this talent increases the healing done to the person you cast ironbark on, so cast ironbark frequently on a tank). However, flourish is a good alternative to boost overall party healing (but only if make sure you use Flourish after you cast wild growth).
  • Note that some people will likely still take SOTF over Cultivation, depending on the encounter. For beginners in particular, the more passive healing will be really helpful in cases where you fall behind and people drop low. I also think keeping Swiftmend freed up for emergency tank healing is preferable for small group content over using it to buff WG.
  • The rejuv-focused strategy works by: Keep HOTs on tank & Stonebark (plus Cenarion Ward if you have it) as often as possible. Keep casting rejuvs on any party member taking damage in that fight (you can stack 2 rejuvs per person). Keep Efflorescence under as many people as possible (probably the tank/melee area). Save tranquility for when you can stand still and everyone is taking heavy damage. Use your Healing Touches and regrowths for direct healing when needed (HT is speedy when you have abundance). Use Swiftmend as an emergency burst direct healing cooldown to save a tank or other party member from death.

Rejuv build level 100

Affinity Level 45 talents: Druids have always been known as the “jack of all trades, master of none” spec.  So, resto used to have a smattering of damage & tanking abilities that almost never got used. So, they stripped out all these off-role buttons from your baseline spec (except for enough spells that you could kill something if you got stuck). Your affinity talent lets you choose an off-role spec where you pick up more abilities that make you pretty decent at one off-role thing at a time, rather than crappy at all off-role things all the time.

  • If you choose balance affinity, all your spells (including healing spells) get an added 5 yard range. You get moonkin form. This increases your damage in form & allows you to cast several additonal balance spells when you shift into moonkin. The extra range is pretty nice for times when people are super spread out.
  • If you choose feral affinity, you get a 15% movement speed buff. In addition, you get feral abilities that allow you to have relatively mana-free damage while in cat form.
  • While guardian affinity gives you 10% reduced damage taken, a raid that is asking their resto druid to off-tank something in the middle of the fight has probably already all died. So, you get little to no good utility from a resto/guardian build – you need the damage from balance or feral way more than the guardian passive.

There is also a full restoration guide up on Wowhead that is complete with Legion-relevant information. I’ll be working on my full resto guide for 110 expecting to launch in a few weeks.

Let me know if there are any other pressing questions or suggestions!

Posted in Legion, Patch 7.0, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna
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Raiding guilds in WOW need more support

My leadership background:

I first became an officer of a raiding guild in Vanilla. I was an officer on and off thru burning crusade and wrath of the lich king. I’ve been an officer of the same guild since we formed Undying Resolution at the end of the ICC raid tier. We kept together a 25-man raid team all of Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria. We still have a roster of about 25 raid members today to support our 20-man mythic encounters.

One of the reasons why our guild stayed strong and we never fell apart in Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria is how we built a reward structure to reward our raiders and keep them motivated during long periods of time during which we had new content (e.g., a year and a half in the same raid tier). We have many of the same members we started with, but we often have new recruits in our raid team. We often have to recruit people from off server because most of the rest of the raiding guilds on my server died in Cataclysm due to their inability to support 25-man raiding teams anymore (and then the 10 progression teams dwindled over MOP).

Rewarding Raiders:

Our guild incentive reward system is all about positive reinforcement. We give positive things to people for hard work. One of these incentives come in the form of having a well stocked guild bank full of raiding supplies. Another is the use of raid repairs. Higher ranks in our guild have more access to repairs and more access to raid supplies. Getting a promotion in our guild is a big deal. People look forward to being promoted to a higher rank in the guild, and losing your rank is a big deal. We even have a Crusader rank that we made so that people who had gone above and beyond for the guild could be rewarded with a permanent life-time rank even if they left the game or quit raiding that rewarded their lifetime service.

Having a functional guild bank and repairs is a costly, but important, aspect of our reward system. We primarily do loot drops in the raid with Master Looter and the EPGP point system addon. This EPGP system (combined with guild ranks) are the primary tools we have available to us to reward people for attending raids and following our rules. The BOE drops from raids is often the primary way that we run our guild bank and provide our guild with rewards.  In 2013, when we didn’t have access to BOE drops, this was really harmful to our ability to continue offering our guild bank and repairs. I documented this problem that many people were experiencing in a previous blog post on this topic:

http://www.restokin.com/2013/10/guild-leadership-corner-where-have-all-the-guild-funds-gone/

However, Blizzard solved this problem by re-introducing BOE drops in Warlords of Draenor after a full raid tier of guilds complaining about raid drops. This background is important because I feel the need to explain that my guild is full of amazing people before I talk about the problem.

The 6.2 problem:

In patch 6.2, Master Looter only works for boss drops. Trash drops are now personal loot only. The BOEs can be traded, but it is not a trival problem to have to ask your raiders to hand over loot from their inventory to put in the guild bank or hand to raid leaders. It’s not trival to have to ask your friends to hand over things that dropped for them in raids.

So, guilds like mine that fund their activities by selling BOEs that drop off trash now have to make a decision. One option is to basically punish your raid members by forcing them to hand you loot they won off trash mobs. It’s one thing to just never hand them the loot. It’s a totally different thing to ask people to hand over things from their inventory so that they can be given away to other people. We could do this, but it would basically negate all the subtle positive reinforcement we had been giving them. It sucks to have to hand over an epic item you personally won because you picked up off the ground and give YOUR loot to someone else. When it always just belonged to the master looter officer, the members never had any time in which those items belonged to them. In the short-term, we can ask the guild to donate the BOEs they win in raids. But, this is really a poor usability design problem. Our current members might be willing to donate all the BOEs they get in the raid to the guild, but this isn’t fun and it sucks to have to track who is or isn’t donating their stuff.

The other solution is to close off guild repairs entirely (because we can’t afford them without those BOE drops). We could still theoretically have the guild bank run entirely on individual donations. While individual donations can work, this means we have much less to offer our members. This puts more burden on the people who stock the bank to keep lists of things we need & post the lists to our guild. This puts more burden on the individual guild members who go out and collect the items we need.

Most guilds at this point are opting for just not having guild repairs or a guild bank because Blizzard didn’t supply guilds with good ways of keeping our guilds happy, healthy, and running. Trying to offer more “friendship” as a reward for being in our guild only goes so far in convincing new players to spend $60 to join us. The health of our functioning guild bank was a tool we could use to show potential new members the fact that we were good at organizing our group. Now we either give up the health of that guild bank or we tell new players they will have to give us all their stuff if they come join us.

Either way, guilds greatly lose out by not having a functioning income that allows us to offer perks for membership. Membership perks are part of how you convince strangers to join your team and give you a chance. In College sports, they give scholarships to new team members as a recruitment tool. In our guild, we offer guild repairs and a functioning guild bank much the same way that colleges offer scholarships to join their team.

Guilds need more support.

With the change where BOEs no longer belong to the guild officers, we either have to tell our guild members to give us all the loot they won, or we have to offer fewer rewards to our guild members directly ourselves. While many of our guild members would be happy to hand over their loot, this still reduces their fun and increases the administrative burden for officers. A guild is basically a sports team where the team leaders have a really hard job. Anything that makes guild leadership harder is bad for the game because it makes our friends get tired of being leaders and makes them want to give up.

If guilds are no longer in control of BOEs that drop in our raids, we need to find new and better ways support our raid leaders and guild officers.
The BOE drops were really a band-aid on the problem of guilds lacking a good income to support our team. If BOE drops are no longer a good way to support our team, Blizzard needs to give guild officers better recruitment tools and income sources so that people will want to come play on our teams. I love my guild, but we need a better way of supporting how hard guild offers work.

There are plenty of other ways to give more gold to the guild to support the leadership (such as offering more guild-level gold for killing more bosses in raids). We could also have guild bonuses that reduced repair costs. We could have more cauldrons and feasts to reduce the cost of raiding materials for raiding guilds. I’d be happy giving up BOEs and having other shared resource options instead.

Guilds also need better recruitment tools to support forming new guilds and helping to keep guilds happy and running. In the end, guilds need more support. Taking away what little support we’ve been given is harmful to the health of our families we spent so much time working to build.

Posted in Guild Leadership, Patch 6.2, Written By Lissanna

Happy 6.2 patch day for druids and mages

The 6.2 patch is hitting the servers this week, with a new raid, a new questing zone, and various class changes. With playing both a druid and a mage, I’ll cover a couple things for resto and balance druids, with a bonus “what should I be?” for mages.

General updates:

Resto druid updates:

  • The good news for resto druids is that you didn’t change very much this patch. So, healing should be very similar in 6.2 compared to today. Overall, resto druids are solid in terms of healing toolset and output.
  • Note, however, that hunters’ aspect of the fox went away and can’t be paired with tranquility anymore (so, no more Tranq on the move).
  • The Tier 18 set bonuses buff your Lifebloom. The 2-piece makes your lifebloom HOT have a chance to proc a big burst ‘bloom’ periodically, and the 4-piece allows you to put lifebloom on both of your tanks. This should help make you more competitive as a tank healer, though the lifebloom ‘bloom’ procs are totally random and risk overhealing.
  • The legendary healing ring comes with a group buff you have to be aware of. When one person activates the ring, it increases all healing being done and causes all raid members to share a shield blanket that absorbs damage for the amount that people heal for. So, this basically becomes a very powerful AOE heal for all raid members that needs to be timed in progression fights – BUT only one person can use it a fight (e.g., like heroism). In LFR, expect random people to pop it at the wrong time – because that’s just how LFR rolls.
  • The druid trinket from Archimonde (seed of creation) allows druid rejuv & lifebloom heals to sometimes ‘cleave’ to heal a second person.
  • Other than those minor things to be aware of, you can mostly continue on doing what you were doing. Druids are still fine for healing overall (not the best persay, but certainly good enough to bring to raids).

Balance druid updates:

  • All the major changes to balance druids shouldn’t impact your rotation. They just did fixes to make gear scaling work better, which has always been a problem for balance druids and a few other classes.
  • The balance Tier 18 set bonuses don’t change your rotation or healing style. You have a chance to gain a temporary damage-dealing pet (2-piece) and that pet increases your damage (4-piece), similar to some of the other set bonuses.
  • The damage legendary ring group bonus will be something moonkin won’t actually hit the button for, as the person who uses it should be in melee range. You do, however, get a damage bonus when one of your melee uses the legendary ring effect. If you want to use it at the start of the fight in LFR, you are welcome to run in and pop it in melee range (but I can pretty much guarantee you that if anyone else has it, they’re doing the same thing).
  • The trinket has a chance for starsurge to also cast a starfall effect. So, you should use this in guiding whether you glyph starfall (untamed stars) or not (e.g., do you want starfall to hit one thing or many things?). The glyph may be swapped out between fights as necessary.

Mage updates:

The changes to mages mean that mages have to make more substantial decisions than druids do in the patch – namely, which of the 3 specs should they be? As always, gearing and skill are going to impact how much damage you do. So, changing specs isn’t guaranteed to be a damage increase for you and will require practice time to perfect rotations (plus you have to change your gear/enchants/gems/food).

  • The ‘right’ answer of “what mage spec should I be for Mythic HFC?” is “arcane for single-target plus either frost or fire for cleave/AOE fights, depending on where you are in progression”. If you never intend to do Mythic HFC, then frost actually becomes a much more viable choice (see below).
  • They did some pretty major buffs to frost mages in 6.2, since frost was having a hard time keeping up as the other specs got more gear. Thus, while I had dropped my frost spec entirely for the end of BRF progression (in favor of fire for all the AOE fights), frost is now more viable for HFC raids; particularly if you are working on fights where you can cleave to two or more targets. Frost is going to suffer from scaling problems (and there is a risk that some future bug fixes might substantially nerf frost damage again); so frost is really only an optimal choice for normal/heroic raiders who want one good spec they can use for all the fights without having to swap between two specs. TLDR: Frost wins if you want one well-rounded spec, particularly for normal/heroic HFC.
  • Arcane is by far the best single-target fight but suffers from basically a complete lack of notable cleave/AOE damage compared to the other two options. So, if what you really care about is being the best single-target damage dealer you can be, then arcane is the best choice. Note that the stat priority changes for the Tier 18 arcane and makes haste more powerful when you have the pet that doesn’t scale with your mastery (See the altered time post). Basically, if you go arcane – mastery is better than haste until you have the 2-piece set bonus for Tier 18. After that, you want to spec for haste over mastery. TLDR: Arcane is good single-target and weak AOE.
  • Fire is by far the best at AOE compared to the other specs; this is what made fire so powerful in all the AOE fights the last raid tier. Fire is less helpful in HFC because there are fewer good AOE/cleave fights where fire was really ahead on the PTR and the changes that end up nerfing fire damage leave fire behind on single-target quite significantly (enough to make fire single-target outright bad on any of the simcraft data). If you don’t ever intend to do mythic, then you could probably get away with staying fire for normal or heroic, but even in lower gear levels, your single-target will likely leave something to be desired unless you have lucky crits that boost your damage. TLDR: Fire is weak single-target and good AOE.
  • There is a larger FAQ for mages over at the Altered Time forums covering all other important things you should know.

TLDR: Balance and resto druids are fine enough for now – you didn’t get redesigned this patch (YAY!). Mages have to drop fire for any single-target fights and go arcane (or frost) instead.

Posted in Druid - General, Mage, Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 6.2, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna

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