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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

3.2 PTR update changes set bonuses & feral talents

Set bonus changes (again!):

Druid T9 Feral 2P Bonus – Decreases the cooldown on your Growl ability by 2 sec, increases the periodic damage done by your Lacerate ability by 5%, and increases the duration of your Rake ability by 3 sec.
Druid T9 Balance 4P Bonus (Starfire) – Increases the damage done by your Starfire and Wrath spells by 4%.

With how bad people said that the moonkin was, I’m not all that surprised to see it change. It’s now increasing damage, but not crit. It should, overall, increase damage enough that the stat bonuses on the T9 pieces should be enough to at least make it worth investing in the new gear (I hope!).  Who knows if these set bonuses will go live. I’m really surprised that the set bonuses for classes keep changing. Usually, we just get whatever they give to us regardless of the amount of QQ about them. Graylo now has a new post up about the new bonuses.

Feral talent & ability changes:

  • Savage Roar is now only usable in Cat Form.

Means that you can’t gain the buff from it and then switch into bear form? Kind of a bummer. The druid forums are making a pretty big deal out of it, but I don’t think they ever really meant it to work in bear form in the first place.

  • Enrage now generates 20 rage instantly and generates an additional 10 rage over 10 sec.

They front-loaded 20 energy (instead of the old version which just ticked for 20 energy over 10 seconds), and then gives us an extra 10 energy that ticks over the 10 second duration. So, it’s more rage… and more rage sooner.

  • King of the Jungle has an additional effect –  In addition, the mana cost of Bear Form, Cat Form, and Dire Bear Form is reduced by 20/40/60%.

When I first saw this, I thought “huh that’s neat, but seems redundant” but then I saw…

  • Primal Tenacity no longer reduces the mana cost of Bear Form, Cat Form, and Dire Bear Form.

So, it looks like they might have just moved the same effect to another location in the tree without changing how the mana reduction works. The best I can figure out, they probably just moved it off primal tenacity so that it could confuse everyone for no reason. Maybe they want to add something else to primal tenacity later that didn’t make it into the build, or maybe they wanted to put the mana cost reduction on something people picked up for PvE. Whatever their reasons, it looks like the change is more good than it is bad.

Posted in Druid - General, Patch 3.2 WotLK, Player Versus Player

Patch 3.2 druid changes in PTR patch notes – A first look

From the official PTR patch notes for 3.2.

#  Flight Form: Can now be learned at level 60. Flight speed increased to 150%.

# Travel Form: Can now be learned at level 16.

These we already knew about. It’s being changed to go along with mount changes.

# Innervate: Duration reduced to 10 seconds, and cooldown reduced to 3 minutes. This means each use of Innervate will give half as much mana as before, but it will be available twice as often.

This is neither a buff or a nerf. It’s kindof a nerf for PvP, and this should make all the PvP QQ’ers happy, as in innervate won’t return “A whole QQ bar at once”. In most raid situations, being able to use it more often should make up for it returning less mana at each application. This means that we’ll “use it early and often” in PvE situations, and all the PvP QQ can stop the QQ (when combined with one of the below changes).

# Lifebloom: The final heal that occurs when this spell blooms has been reduced by 20% on the base and on the spell power coefficient.

Oh, look. A PvP nerf to lifebloom. Lets make lifebloom even more useless for PvE? Then again, it’s pretty much all overheal anway. Why force us to let it bloom and then nerf the amount healed by the bloom? This is a pretty crappy move overall to a spell that most druids are starting to stop using, anyway.

# Mangle: Ranks 4 and 5 base points reduced by about 11%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
# Rake: Ranks 6 and 7 base points on initial and periodic damage reduced by about 7%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.

# Rip: Ranks 8 and 9 base points and points per combo point reduced by about 6%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
# Shred: Ranks 8 and 9 base points reduced by about 10%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
# Swipe (Cat): Percent of weapon damage done reduced from 260% to 250%.

Holy crap, this looks like it’s going to equal a lot of DPS loss, if “base points” means a reduction in the base damage of the spell. Maybe I’m reading it wrong? But I don’t think so. Without doing any math, I can pretty much feel my head exploding from too many feral DPS nerfs all in one list. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I see this change creating more problems than it solves. This feels like it is going to be way too much over-nerfing. I look forward to all the math and crying that comes from the feral community. There are too many changes & just way too much reduction of the abilities base damage. Since this is a nerf to the pre-gear amounts for the most part, it’s going to nerf entry-level druids a lot more than I think the developers really want. Way to swing the nerf-bat way too hard and not pair it with ways to compensate. Lets have a cat DPS rotation that is more complex than other classes, and now have that paired with also not having a chance of keeping up with other people in raids unless we completely out-gear and out-skill our teammates? I don’t like nerfs to the base damage done by our abilities, as it nerfs entry-level raiders a lot, who don’t have the gear to compensate for it. I don’t like it, not at all. I’m hoping that math proves my initial gut reaction to be wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is going to be bad for our poor Hello Kitties. I expect much controversy over this to explode pretty soon…  EDIT: Think Tank has a better look at it, which makes it sound a lot less dramatic…


# Talents

* Balance
o Balance of Power: Now reduces all spell damage taken by 3/6%, rather than reducing the chance to be hit by spells by 2/4%.

o Eclipse: The Starfire and Wrath buffs from this talent are now on separate 30 second. cooldowns. In addition, it is not possible to have both buffs active simultaneously.
o Owlkin Frenzy: Now also restores 2% base mana every 2 seconds for the duration (10 seconds) in addition to its current effects.

These are really interesting changes. Balance of power should actually go a long way to helping moonkin survive in PvP, in addition to Owlkin Frenzy having a HUGE buff to moonkin mana in PvP. The Eclipse change is actually really the most interesting of all, and will actually be a HUGE PvE buff, since that means we’ll almost always have Eclipse of one type or the other active. I’m expecting a lot of good feedback from the moonkin community over these changes. At least one of the druid specs gets to be happy in 3.2…

* Restoration
o Empowered Touch: Now also increases the amount of bonus healing effects for Nourish by 10/20%.
o Improved Barkskin: No longer provides dispel resistance to all effects on the druid, but now reduces the chance your Barkskin is dispelled by an additional 35/70%.

Well, here’s the nerf to Imp Barkskin so that innervate can be dispelled in PvP, thus reducing the powerfulness of druids in 2v2 arenas. I totally called this one a while ago, sorry 2v2 resto druids. The change to empowered touch is interesting, since it’s actually a buff to Nourish when you use it with or without HOTs. I wasn’t quite expecting nerfs to lifebloom & innervate to be paired with more nourish buffs.

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

New to healing? Practice in Battlegrounds!

My last post here was on being able to handle healing while still paying attention to your surroundings. A great place to get practice at doing this is battlegrounds (of just about any type). All you need is a group of people to heal, in a situation where you could be stabbed in the back at any minute.

pvp-healin

A couple of the Feral bloggers I follow (such as Big Bear Butt) have recently started trying out healing. I also have a fair number of readers of this blog that are new to the druid class. So, I wanted to highlight this tactic for getting better at raid healing without having to get locked into a raid instance to see if you’ll make the cut.

One way to start healing is just to jump right into instances at level 80. However, if you really have no idea what all those healing buttons on your screen are for, some quick PvP practice healing a random group of noob DPS in Arathi Bain or Alterac Valley battle grounds is a good way to get used to what healing feels like.

It’ll even make you start to be good at watching your own health bar and paying attention to your surroundings; while also dealing with people running out of range, and trying to keep people topped off while they’re taking a beating… all at the same time! It’s a low risk environment to practice healing, and in most battleground pugs, there aren’t many people who actually want to heal there, so you’ll be a welcome force that tags along behind people. It will also help you with things like testing to see whether or not your bars are going to have the right information on them, or if you really feel like something is wrong with your UI.

Of course, the only way to learn the boss fights is to practice those fights. However, just for getting used to the healing spells and techniques you want to use, you can practice that part of it anywhere. If you are better at making the healing part more automatic (IE. my spaceship knows the right way to go), then you’ll have more attention resources that you can allocate to other things like moving out of the fire.

Posted in Leveling, Player Versus Player, Restoration Healing Trees

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