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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

Resto gearing: And the winner is haste!

I have received a lot of questions about the ‘haste versus mastery’ debate for restoration druids. The winner of this debate all along was haste, but a bug to wild growth let people open up this debate. I believe Hamlet’s recent haste vs mastery post speaks for itself, but I wanted to put my support behind the “haste wins” conclusions.

While there was previously some room for debate, two recent major changes (in favor of haste) help boost the value of haste relative to mastery. Here are the changes:

  1. Bug fix for Wild Growth. Wild Growth launched with a bug that wasn’t giving the final partial tick, allowing it to still technically have a haste breakpoint. This drove some people to try and gear around the bugged breakpoint. This spell was fixed recently such that it now properly scales linearly with haste.
  2. They buffed haste for all classes. They lowered the amount of haste rating required to achieve 1% haste. This means haste is now more potent for all classes. While this buff also came with a nerf to the amount healed by rejuv, haste remains more potent overall in general.

With these two changes combined, haste comes out as a clear winner in the math versus mastery for resto druid. That said, a substantially higher ilevel piece with mastery is still a good item for resto druids. Even better are pieces with both haste and mastery, since all gear comes with two secondary stats.

If you happen to be in a position where you have two otherwise identical items and have to choose between the haste piece and the mastery piece, then the haste piece is going to come out ahead for resto druids. In general, as Hamlet illustrated in his haste post, unless you are trying to gear specifically to boost your tranquility spell, maintain 100% up-time on your harmony mastery (which, lets be honest, a lot of people fail at), and meet several other important criteria, then haste is going to give you the most consistent bang for your buck.

Now, this still means that both haste and mastery come out ahead of crit and versatility. With more raid dungeons and LFR opening up soon, we’re finally hitting the point where you get to make decisions other than about equipping a higher ilevel piece. This is also complicated by things like the tertiary stats that get rolled randomly when an item drops. Thus, gearing has been greatly over-complicated this expansion, during a time where Blizzard claimed to be simplifying. For resto druids, however, I think the community has finally settled on a general stat priority – for what that’s worth. Go forth and be hasty!

Posted in Patch 6.0, Restoration Healing Trees, Warlords of Draenor, Written By Lissanna

Happy 6.0 Warlords of Draenor patch day!

The 6.0 pre-patch with all the class and systems changes goes live today! Here are some resources for surviving patch day! Returning to the game after a break, or haven’t been following all the dozens of changes? No problem! Below are some helpful links for druids (with a couple bonus mage guides!). I’ll add more resources as they become available – many people are working on finishing & publishing their guides today. For example, wowhead is still working on finishing up their class guides today.

General Druid Changes:

Restoration druids:

Balance Druids:

 Guardian Druids:

Feral Druids:

Frost Mages:

Blizzard’s Beginner Balance Druid video:

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 6.0, Restoration Healing Trees, Uncategorized, Warlords of Draenor, Written By Lissanna

Resto druid WOD level 90 survival guide 6.0

Below is a summary of relevant Warlords of Draenor changes for restoration druids. This information is relevant to level 90 after the 6.0 patch. The patch is still at least a week away, but I wanted to get this posted for people to start preparing early! The below information is (to the best of my knowledge) accurate at the time of posting. Future updates will be done as needed. I will be updating the full healing guide at a later date to be relevant for level 100 closer to the expansion launch. Keep in mind that my advice for level 100 will vary greatly from what is posted below, as many level 100 decisions are not relevant for the month we are 90 or the time we spend leveling from 90 to 99. As usual, everything is still subject to change between now and when the patch goes live. Hamlet already has a level 100 druid guide up on WOWhead. In addition, my level 100 druid guide is now updated!

Major Stat Changes

Stat Squish: All the stats have been squished! All player and NPC health, damage, heals, stats, and other values have been reduced. This means that the time to kill something remains relatively constant, but the numbers shown on the screen are smaller.
• There is no reforging – what stats you have on your gear is what you get (and all previous reforging was reversed).
Spirit is now only found on accessories and not your primary gear (hit for DPS casters was removed entirely). Thus, healers and DPS casters now largely share all gear, with the exception of a few accessories with spirit. This means all your gear, gems, and such were changed to remove spirit.
• They made major HOT mechanic changes. Thus, there are no Haste HOT Breakpoints anymore (so, don’t ask for one). In addition, you can recast HOTs any time in the last 30% of the duration and not suffer any loss of ticks, so you get a little more wiggle room for refreshing HOTs without penalty. Instead of snapshotting stats, most HOTs and DOTs now update dynamically each tick.
Major stats at level 90. Most of your gear will have crit, mastery, and haste on it. Resto druids generally prefer mastery and haste over crit, but most of your gear resto tier gear will have crit on it. For the month we are all level 90, these stats aren’t terribly important for most of what you want to do, so most gear will be fine.
The other new stats (versatility, multistrike, etc) will be introduced to gear in the expansion once we start leveling and replacing gear in Draenor, and will be talked about in the level 100 guide coming “soon”.

Gearing at 90 (Summary): Accessories (e.g., neck, ring) with spirit will be better than accessories without. On your main gear (e.g., chest, pants, boots, etc), mastery and haste are prioritized higher than crit. You can’t reforge, however, so gearing optimally isn’t important for the month we wait for the next expansion. Wowhead has a gearing up guide if you need more gearing up advice (or more advice about the stat changes). Note that tiny differences in things like “optimal” enchants and consumables won’t have any real measurable effect on your performance for the month you are 90 (and are subject to change over the course of that month).

Major Changes to Abilities

Lifebloom is now limited to a single stack, instead of having 3 total stacks. The base healing was increased to compensate. This frees up more time in the fight, and means that sometimes you might want to let lifeboom actually bloom for the direct heal.
Wild Mushroom no longer has a bloom direct heal effect. Instead, it just provides a short Efflorescence ground-targeted HOT and then goes away after the 30 second duration ends. While it has no cooldown, only one can be on the ground at a time. So, as this is mana-expensive to move around, only move it if you have to.
• Swiftmend can no longer have efflo attached to it, so it only provides the instant single-target direct heal.
• Wild Growth has a cast time, but resto druids still maintain a fair amount of movement ability while healing overall.

Minor Changes to Abilities

• Omen of Clarity only benefits regrowth, and no longer gains additional procs from the Tree of Life form cooldown.
• Tranquility’s mechanic has been simplified, but it otherwise works the same in practice. It’s a powerful channeled spell that heals all nearby party/raid members over 8 seconds, with a 3 minute cooldown (no more additional HOT component or strange scaling).
Level 90 talents no longer provide a strong main-role bonus, but Nature’s Vigil seems to be the best one for resto druids.
• They changed the combat res mechanic for raids. In a raid, your combat res ability will show the number of the shared pool of charges remaining for the boss encounter across all raid/party members. In a 20-person raid, we get 1 charge every (90/20 =) 4.5 minutes, or one charge every (90/10 =) 9 minutes in a 10-person raid.

Removed Abilities

The following abilities were removed from resto druids’ toolset:

• Nourish
• Symbiosis
• Innervate
• Hybernate
• Nature’s Grasp
• Some hybrid bear/cat abilities were removed from resto druids, including: Faerie Fire, lacerate, maim, (mangle is now bear only – with shred no longer having a positional requirement for cat), maul, might of ursoc, rake, survival instincts, etc.

What are the primary healing tools?

Single target direct: Healing Touch (long cast time), Regrowth (high mana cost), Swiftmend (instant-cast, but has a cooldown and requires a HOT on the target), nature’s swiftness (paired with healing touch).
• Single target HOTS: Lifebloom (1 stack, still limited to 1 target), Rejuvenation (mana cost similar to healing touch)
AOE HOTs: Wild Growth (1.5 sec cast time, 8 sec cooldown, 7 sec duration), Wild Mushroom (instant-cast, 30 sec duration, ground-targeted), Tranquility (channeled for 8 sec, 3 min cooldown), Genesis (high mana cost, emergency heal, consumes all your rejuvs and applies that HOT healing faster).
• Important Passive Procs: Living seed (procs from Healing touch, regrowth, or swiftmend crits – got slightly better), omen of clarity (only impacts regrowth).
• Other: level 15 talents and level 60 talents provide new healing spells or augments.

What are the primary utility tools?

Crowd control: roots, cyclone, choice of level 45 talents, and choice of level 75 talents.
Movement: Dash, travel form, level 15 talents, stampeding roar
Survivability: Ironbark (yourself or others) and barkskin (yourself only)
• Other spells: rebirth, revive, nature’s cure, Mark of the Wild, Teleport: Moonglade

How am I supposed to heal raids (summary)?

The healing strategy stays largely the same. Keep Lifebloom on a single tank. Use rejuv on as many targets as possible. Use Wild Growth on cooldown. Cast Wild Mushroom once every 30 seconds, or when everyone has moved out of it. Use Swiftmend as an instant single-target heal. Use regrowth when omen of clarity procs. Use Healing Touch if you need a big direct heal. Use tranquility as needed for big burst damage phases. Use other utility (e.g., ironbark, nature’s cure, rebirth) as needed.

What talents changed? What talents should I take?

  • For level 90 (and leveling to 100), take the talents you are most comfortable with. I generally prefer passive talents over active talents for leveling.
  • The only major functionality changes are to Soul of the Forest (now provides HOTs and regrowth with a healing bonus instead of haste – still makes HT cast faster), Heart of the Wild (no longer provides strong intellect bonus), and Incarnation (they changed what spells are augmented, and so now you spam rejuv instead of lifebloom/regrowth).
  • Everything else is largely number tuning and reducing the main-role bonus from the other level 90 talents (DOC & NV) to be slightly weaker relative to the health pool changes.
  • So, a build for a player new to resto druids leveling in dungeons could be: Feline Swiftness, Ysera’s Gift, Typhoon, Soul of the Forest, Ursol’s Vortex, and Nature’s Vigil.
  • More experienced druids might take incarnation  instead of force of nature to have a cooldown that can be timed with end-game boss encounters.
  • Note that end-game raiding builds will end up with different talents that better suit the needs of the raid encounters or play-styles, especially given how the level 100 talents interact with the rest of the builds.

What’s up with my travel form button?

Travel form has merged the ground travel, water travel, and flight form all into one single button that is supposed to morph when you change environments. The Glyph of Stag will split Flight Form from this merged travel form (in addition to letting party members ride on your back). However, the “travel form” will still go into the swim/water form even when someone is on your back. So, if you are carrying someone on your back in stag form, don’t go in water or you will drop them!

“My new face is ugly!”

You can now have plastic surgery done to your character’s face by visiting the barber shop.

What race should I be?

The new racial trait info can be found here.

What glyphs should I use?

Note that the Efflorescence and innervate glyphs were removed. If this is still in your talent page, remove it – it does nothing. You can take any of the glyphs designed for resto druids that are helpful at 90 and leveling to 100. Generally keep the ones you were using before, and update any removed glyphs with new options that augment spells you are using. For more glyph advice, see the level 100 healing guides.

Posted in Patch 6.0, Restoration Healing Trees, Warlords of Draenor, Written By Lissanna



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