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New expansion: Druid class halls & form reskins

The new World of Warcraft expansion (Warcraft: Legion) brings with it a flurry of new features. A few of the changes are particularly interesting to the druid class. The new expansion overall looks amazing – with tons of different lore progression on a bunch of different story threads. This story is for all the WOW lore fans who want to see the main story’s progression back at home in Azeroth.

Artifact weapons – Clarification for kitties

First, the new Artifact Weapon system will allow for customizing legendary weapons, with awesome new skins and lore. However, feral and guardian druids can’t see their weapons. So, instead, your cat and bear skins will change based on the weapon customization.

Updated cat druid models

Note that they did not say ANYTHING about restoration or moonkin druids. I’m seeking clarification on what is happening with moonkin/resto (mostly by spamming everyone on twitter). For cat and bear druids, we know that the choices you make about your artifact weapon change your skins. However, moonkin and resto druids can already see their weapons – so we need more specific clarification on whether moonkin keep their 1.0 models while cats get to be fangs of the first nightsaber.

The other thing they didn’t talk about was whether or not you could have more than one artifact weapon. We don’t yet know how artifact weapons interact with Dual Specs. If you run two different specs and actually use them – are you locked to only one spec due to the weapon system, or can you progress more than one weapon? Overall, the idea of artifact weapons sound neat, but we’ll have to see how the practical implications work.

UPDATE: The press kit came with pictures of what we believe to be the Fang’s weapon graphic you would see outside of your feral form:

WoW7.0_Artifact_Fang_TF_03_PNGWoW7.0_Artifact_Fang_TF_00_PNGWoW7.0_Artifact_Fang_TF_04_PNG

Druid Class Halls – Druids are for fun times with friends

In the announcement, they talked about a class-specific hall where members of your class will come together. This builds off the concept of garrisons, but are seemingly more social hubs for activity. This means for druids that we will be able to host frequent dance parties. I expect to organize druid parties periodically for hanging out in our druid class halls. This has a chance to be a really fun feature, if done correctly. If anything, however, the druid hall will be the best hall. Druids are for fun times with friends!

Emerald Dream raid and druid lore

Not to be outdone by features, this expansion will have a significant amount of druid lore (including the site where Malfurion first learned about druidism). This includes a long awaited raid where we will venture into the Emerald Dream. Thus, for people who thought Warlords of Draenor fell short in terms of lore, there will be tons of lore for everyone to look forward to!

WoW_7.0Zones_ValSharah_EM_017

Talents specific for PVP

They are making a change to the PVP system that will include talents designed only for PVP. This will change how your druid plays in PVP compared to PVE. This expanded PVP system includes a lot of different features that will be relevant to everyone. However, a different set of talents for PVP may ultimately give more flexibility in balancing the class.

I will definitely be here blogging all of the new expansion news, views, and changes – particularly those relevant to druids. At this point, given the heavy class-focus, I may even consider going back to my druid  for my primary character. I look forward to what the future brings!

Posted in Druid - General, Feral DPS Cat, Legion, Player Versus Player, Written By Lissanna

3.3.3 Druid changes – for moonkin pvp (or not)

First, the changes:

  • Typhoon mana cost has been reduced from 32% of base mana to 25% of base mana.
  • Starfall damage has been increased. Now causes 563 to 653 Arcane damage (Up from 433 to 503) and 101 Arcane damage (Up from 78) to all other enemies within 5 yards. Spell Power coefficients also increased.
  • Nature’s Grasp: Now has 3 charges, up from 1.

Typhoon:

First, the typhoon mana change is designed to help make typhoon not cause moonkin in PvP to go OOM. Typhoon needs to be something that moonkin can use often, so making it slightly less of a drain on their mana pools is a helpful change.

Starfall:

Designed to help starfall feel more useful. Gives probably a small-ish DPS increase for PvE (depending on how much you use starfall already). Unlikely to do anything significant for moonkin PvP. If each tick does a couple hundred more damage (at most), and you only get off 2 or 3 ticks in a PvP situation (at most), then it’s not really going to do what the developers had hoped it would do. Starfall is always going to be interrupted by Crowd Control, and no amount of crying is going to convince the developers otherwise, so the best hope for making starfall more useful for PvP is being able to capitalize on getting off the first couple ticks when you can.

UPDATE: It looks like starfall should be doing somewhere around 3x’s more on the PTR compared to what it is on Live. Should be a nice PvE boost. Not sure for PvP yet how it’s going to work out.

Nature’s Grasp:

Now has 3 charges? I’m really confused on how this could actually work for moonkin in terms of being something useful. It’s much more likely to help resto druids escape, since resto has the mobility to keep HOTs going while root-kiting. Feral  already has instant-cast cylones & roots with their cat form talent, which doesn’t require them to get hit in the first place. Moonkin can’t rely on nature’s grasp as an actual escape mechanism. Moonkin PvP’ers are worried that more procs that go to waste is not going to be helpful because it will just contribute to the diminishing returns (or just snag pets that you don’t want snagged). Unless it could root all 3 targets at once, then the charges won’t help moonkin (and it’s unlikely that they would give feral & resto an AOE root).

The nature’s grasp change, combined with all the other changes, really need to be tested on the PTR, and people need to post constructive feedback about why they are (or aren’t) working. However, anything that makes this a viable escape mechanism for moonkin would likely be overpowering for resto druids. In fact, resto probably benefits the most from this in PvP because they have improved barkskin and other mechanics (like instant-cast spells) that help them escape while also being able to cast something worthwhile on the run. We really need to see this in action to get a better idea of how it’s effecting the 3 specs.

UPDATE: GC says that the roots from Nature’s Grasp can apply to other people without breaking the previous roots (so you could potentially have 4 people rooted at once if you were super lucky).

Conclusions:

All 3 of these are buffs. The typhoon one buffs PvP moonkin’s mana. The second one buffs moonkin PvE. The third is likely to benefit resto druids the most. None of these are the actual moonkin PvP fixes that they were looking for, which is why there has been a string of rather non-productive posts on the damage dealing forums. The lack of focus in all the moonkin threads, however, makes it particularly hard to see if the buffs are actually going to help moonkin PvP or not. I’m hoping that people will start talking about their actual PTR PvP results once things settle down. I gave up on moonkin PvP so long ago that I don’t even think I could do any worthwhile PTR PvP testing at this point. The good, productive, posts are also being lost in the low signal-to-noise ratio on the forums.

UPDATE – More info on Starfall:

Hey Hamlet, sorry for any confusion. We probably should have just waited until you guys could test it on the PTR.

I think I figured out how you all are calculating the coefficient, so maybe this will make more sense. Again, I’m not 100% sure we’re speaking the same language here. If I have time, maybe I will just log in with a moonkin and compare the before and after and post numbers.

Main star
Old coefficient: 4.8%
New coefficient: 37%

Splash damage
Old coefficient: 1.2%
New coefficient: 13%

As I said, these numbers are very generous. If Balance druids melt the world we may have to back off of them.

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 3.3 WotLK, Patches, Player Versus Player

PTR patch notes for 3.2.2 – Moonkin/Feral PvP buffs

From the PTR patch notes:

# Balance
* Moonkin Form: This form now also reduces the damage the druid takes while stunned by 15%.

* Typhoon: The knockback distance from this spell has been increased to match Thunderstorm.

These moonkin changes are entirely designed around PvP, as they are fixes designed to increase moonkin’s overall survivability. I’m interested to see how this works out overall. It’s not going to fix all the problems, but it’s going to help prevent the moonkin from totally getting stunlocked & burst down so fast, and will give them at least some fighting chance to better contribute with the larger knockback distance. At the very least, druids with moonkin PvP gear should try to get out on the PTR and give things a try. They are also planning to fix the balance of power tooltip (thanks!).

# Feral Combat
* Predatory Strikes: This talent now also causes the druid’s finishing moves to provide a 7/13/20% chance per combo point to make the next Nature spell with a cast time below 10 seconds instant cast.

This also has to be a PvP change, designed to make it easier for feral druids to shift out of form and heal. At 5 combo points, this provides a 100% chance, but it makes it so that resto druids & moonkin aren’t going to necessarily want to dip into feral for it just for instant heals, and feral druids won’t be able to just do 1 or 2 combo points for a reliable free heal, either. I think it’s a neat mechanic, and very similar to something that enhancement shaman have.

It would also be nice if they provided a little more defense for feral and balance druids shifting out to humanoid form to heal, as they do for resto druids who shift out of tree form. However, maximizing moonkin’s ability to stay in moonkin form, and shortening the time needed for feral to spend out of cat/bear form are neat changes overall.

Posted in Druid - General, Feral DPS Cat, Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 3.2 WotLK, Player Versus Player

We’ve lost that shifting feeling?

So, there has been an interesting conversation going on in the healing forums lately about how often we shift from one form to another, about the design of tree form, and about moonkin lack of shifting, too.

Back a long time ago, we used to shift more often just because all of our forms were weak on it’s own. What do I mean by that?

This was my original leveling solo “rotation” to kill a single mob: Pull with starfire, root, moonfire, wrath a couple times until roots breaks. Melee in caster form until omen of clarity proc’d (yes, I’m serious). Cast rejuv on myself. Shift to bear form. Melee in bear form for a while. Eventually shift back out. Start back from the beginning and repeat a few times until mob was dead.

My current moonkin “rotation” to kill a single mob: Cast starfire twice, or wrath three times.

You should go back and read all the blue posts in this thread, especially if the Q&A left you a little queezy about possible changes to shapeshifting.

Okay, so this is part of something I posted in that thread:

Moonkin actually have a reason to want to spend more time in caster or feral forms, but mechanics of the class just prevent shifting out of moonkin in PvP to really be viable. Giving moonkin the ability to spend time outside of moonkin form would solve a lot of moonkin’s PvP problems.

Ghostcrawler’s reply to that quote:

Yeah, we agree. That is what I was getting at with the druid as a shifter. The idea is that a Balance druid would sometimes leave Moonkin form, but we haven’t made it easy enough to do so. We also don’t want to just adopt a model where say you shift to caster form to decurse and shift back – that just means your decurses take 3 button clicks (or a macro). It should be more tactical than that – do I want to be in Moonkin form for a little while, or would I rather be in caster form (or possibly even bear or cat)?

From a PvP design perspective, being stuck in moonkin form without access to resto healing or feral crowd control abilities is pretty problematic. We’ve got a good PvE spec that does decent DPS, but Eclipse (something tied heavily to our rotation) doesn’t allow for any mobility at all, and so that combined with just not having enough tools available to moonkin in PvP really makes it such that moonkin are the perfect candidates for wanting the ability to be able to shift around in and out of forms to gain access to the tools that would help us be successful. The other option is just giving moonkin more tools, but that has to be balanced around the other specs. Just giving moonkin easier access to feral and/or resto abilities would actually help a lot with making moonkin have more flexibility.

However, they seem to be overall paying a lot of attention to resto’s lack of shifting right now:

Druids are supposed to be shifters. We want to see more shifting. We came down hard on Resto druids in PvP shifting to bear, and now wonder if we went too far. Likewise, we think there should be some motivation not to be a tree all the time even as Resto.

Well, if the game was balanced around 1v1 PvP, I could see resto druids needing more than just thorns to do damage to their opponent. However, in group PvP situations, it’s going to be the resto druid’s job to keep the person doing damage alive. This means that there aren’t many things that resto druids need access to if they want to do the job of healing in a PvP situation.

Shifting at all in PvE seems pretty ridiculous to even think about wanting us to do, since the druid design is really meant to have us focus on ONE role, which comes with ONE talent spec. We’re now able to use dual specs to switch between two roles, so I think that really works out from a design perspective to encourage changing roles more often:

As I said with the Balance example above, it might work better if you decided “Okay I am going to be in Tree form for a little while because of the situation.” It’s a pretty different model, but imagine a druid changed forms at least once or twice a battle. That feels a little more like the shapeshifting druids from Warcraft lore.

And this model can work for PvP, but with the over-specialization that happens in PvE, we’re going to pick a role and stick with it. Being locked out of spells designed for our role (like when we couldn’t decurse in tree form) is just annoying without being fun or interesting. With the speed debuff, we’d choose to be a weaker healer for increased mobility, but losing any healing output will mean we are likely to just slip right back into tree form as soon as we can when we’re in a PvE situation where output numbers are going to matter.  As a healing tree, the thing I miss the most is that I don’t have a mana-free source of damage (like wands) to contribute while I’m trying to conserve mana (and tree form’s melee is pretty much slim to none). However, this is a problem that resto shaman & holy paladins have, too.

So, we don’t want a design for PvP (like making tree into a temporary buff) that makes PvP interesting at the cost of making PvE worse. Going back and giving resto and balance access to feral charge or those kinds of utility abilities could improve the desire to shift in PvP, without making PvE worse. Also, I’d like to argue that we do get to see our set items sometimes: When we’re riding around on ground mounts or other times out of combat where we’re not always tied to a form. Is that enough? I don’t know. However, doing something just to change the way we look more often is lame if it doesn’t also enhance our play style overall.

These issues are going to take a long time to work out, and I’m really not expecting tree form to disappear on us any time soon…

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Player Versus Player, Restoration Healing Trees

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