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State of the moonkin PvE MOP edition

Now that we have been in beta a couple of weeks, it is time for me to start doing my moonkin beta posts, which I write a couple times each beta. I’m going to try and keep this reasonably short to just highlight some major areas where things are going well and where we still need attention. The beta forum version can be found here.

Overall rotation:

  • At this point, our single target “training dummy” rotation works okay. Solar and Lunar feel relatively balanced. Removing insect swarm works out fine. There is still a lot of skill involved in maximizing moonfire & sunfire “double-DOT” up-time. I’m fine with insect swarm being gone, though I wouldn’t mind if it came back as an instant-cast execute ability to help give moonkin a finisher and more instant-cast damage outside of shooting stars procs and moonfire spam.
  • For AOE purposes, the changes to hurricane (astral storm) makes our AOE rotations more balanced between the two specs. So, it’s likely that our AOE rotation in Mists will feel a lot better. The targeting mechanic for shrooms is also a lot better. Hurricane still costs too much mana, but that will likely be a balancing issue for level 90.
  • Our movement DPS options are still severely lacking. Being limited to moonfire spam is not going to cut it. In terms of how to fix this issue, I’ve been suggesting adding Spiritwalker’s Grace and Aspect of the Fox to moonkin’s Symbiosis spell list (where having either a shaman or hunter in your raid would allow for casting wrath & starfire while moving during the duration). A way to cast wrath & starfire while moving could also be a good option for glyphs.

Talents:

Glyphs:

  • Right now, moonkin lack any sort of real set of major glyphs that impact the spells we use. I do love glyph of moonbeast, since it allows me to be the true “restokin” I always wanted to be (I’ve been wanting to cast heals in moonkin form since moonkin form was created in patch 1.8). However, other classes are still getting glyphs that impact their main role (even if they come at a cost).
  •  Glyph of Focus (inreased starfall’s damage but reduced it’s range) is actually something I think should be added back. It had the cost of sometimes being out of range of the boss for starfall in exchange for sometimes not hitting things you needed to keep alive.
  • Other glyph options: We could have a glyph like glyph of flame shock, that reduced moonfire/sunfire’s direct damage but increased it’s duration.  Glyph of unleashed lightning could be adapted to moonkin, where we could cast wrath & starfire while moving at the cost of an increased cast time. We could have a glyph where starsurge was always instant cast but lowered the chance for shooting stars to proc. Glyph of Mushroom where you drop three mushrooms at once but it increases the bloom cooldown by 5 or 10 seconds.

Symbiosis:

  • Moonkin have a lot of options for PvP, but most of them won’t give you any type of real benefit in PvE at all (and some of the spells just don’t do anything for you). For example, you don’t need misdirect as a moonkin for PvP at all, and if you already have a hunter in the raid, you don’t need it for PvE either. Symbiosis is a good place to add ways of doing DPS on the move. Giving us a couple options that will have minor impacts on our DPS will not be overpowered or problematic as long as we have 3 or 4 different options of things that give us similar PvE benefits. I worked out a google doc spreadsheet thinking about ideas for what moonkin could want, to have a somewhat well-rounded ability list that wasn’t likely to be overpowered for either PvP or PvE purposes.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ow2iKen7eW-HyQ3Qo0u-kypD4BdRjOWrvpt0UMaRSgU/edit?pli=1

Posted in Beta Feedback, Mists of Pandaria, Moonkin Balance DPS, Uncategorized, Written By Lissanna

MOP Feedback: Healing Shrooms Revisited

I ran my first beta instance last night, which gave me the opportunity to test the Healing Shroom spell outside of Stormwind or solo leveling.

Healing Shrooms overall have gotten really mixed reviews. Some people really like the concept, and some people (I’m looking at you, Beru) really hate it.

The current problem: Dragonsoul’s mechanics have highlighted our need for a burst AOE heal. There are some times where stacking HOTs (and then holding your breath hoping it works) becomes a really ineffective strategy for healing 5-mans or raids. However, Blizzard doesn’t really want to just give us a copy of someone else’s healing spells (because that would further homogenize us). The solution implemented was to make our moonkin’s damage shrooms into healing shrooms. This is a really controversial spell, however, and some of the resto druid community would like to see healing shrooms thrown out and replaced with something else altogether. If anyone has ideas of what that “something else” could be, I’m all for hearing it. This post, however, is going to focus on how to improve the mechanics of what we have now.

How Healing shrooms work in beta: In this early stage of the development process, they work just like damage shrooms do, except that when you detonate, they heal people.

You place the little shroom on the ground, and then when you hit the “detonate” button, your little shrooms explode heal people. This healing is a burst direct heal.

You can place down up to 3 shrooms at a time before detonating. The detonate doesn’t require you to have all 3 shrooms down, so you can detonate a single shroom if you really want. However, in most cases,  you may end up needing all 3 shrooms for maximum effectiveness.

Shrooms are on a 10 second cooldown, but they essentially require 3 GCDs to set up before you can detonate (detonate is off the GCD). NOTE: the Shroom placement GCD is 1 second, just like rejuv. This still means they cost you 3 rejuvs. This means that it really isn’t something we are going to want to use every 10 seconds in their current state because that leaves little time to do much of anything else.

Shroom Graphic Problems: Right  now, in beta, shrooms still have the tiny targeting circle that balance druids have been using to target them. This circle is smaller than the size of the AOE healing radius, mostly because as DPS, you never needed to worry about the whole radius of the effect when setting up your shrooms (you could pretty safely put them on the tank who was tanking all the things you wanted to AOE). The shroom graphic is also pretty subtle because the original intent of damage shrooms was supposed to be that they were more like traps or bombs that you stepped on and didn’t see when used in PVP.

This method, however, doesn’t work for resto healing shrooms, where people need to know where to stand. Shrooms need the targeting circle to be as big as the healing effect is, an they need a ring indicating where the DPS/tank should stand to receive their heal. Since shrooms require a lot of setup time, the worst thing that could happen is for you to waste mana because people ran away from your shrooms or weren’t inside of their radius. So, shrooms need more obvious circles like all other ground-targeted heals have for other classes. For the time being, I’d be okay with them sharing the Efflorescence ground graphic if needed (that may actually be preferable, since we have trained our raiders to stand in the efflorescence circle instead of running out of it, LOL).

Shroom Mechanic problems: So, the problem of re-purposing a pretty gimmicky damage spell for healing is that you can’t ever just copy that kind of damage spell, slap a heal on it, and call it a day. The graphic problem isn’t the only problem with the spell, though the graphics are easier to fix than mechanics. Now that Healing Shrooms and Damage Shrooms can basically be completely different spells due to the new specialization mechanics, there is absolutely no reason for their mechanics to need to be identical. They only needed to be the same if Healing Shrooms was just a talent we picked up that modified the existing spell. Since they can be different spells now, they should be different spells.

  • Shrooms need to activate the Harmony mastery. We need an AOE heal button that activates our mastery to use between Swiftmends, so that we don’t have to waste GCDs on single-target direct heals if we don’t want to. If we spend a lot of GCDs on dropping shrooms, it is likely that maintaining Harmony is going to be difficult or impossible if shrooms don’t activate harmony. Right now on beta, detonate isn’t activating my harmony buff. This should be a pretty easy fix.
  • A 6 yard radius for healing shrooms is too small, since you have a pretty high risk of someone moving out of range of the shrooms on pretty much any fight that isn’t stand-still. They should still have the same diminishing returns for AOE targets that all other ground-targeted AOE spells have. However, right now, it looks like shrooms in MoP Beta are healing for somewhere around 8 to 10 yards based on using the Efflorescence graphic & healing effect as a guide. They should have at least a 10 yard radius to be effective, since 6 is too small for a heal (10 is the radius of healing rain, so if you stuck a shroom in the middle of Healing Rain, it would hit everyone there when you bloomed). I’m okay with Wild Growth & rejuv still being the go-to buttons for when everyone is super spread out. However, a 10 yard range really should be the minimum for this kind of heal (with 15 to 20 yards probably being more ideal for reducing the risk of people moving out of them, especially if we drop down to only 1 or 2 shrooms instead of 3 – see below comments).
  • We need some sort of HOT component on application when dropping the shrooms. I think that healing shrooms should activate some sort of efflorescence effect when you set them down. That way, your mana isn’t totally wasted if people move out of the way before you could drop  all 3 shrooms and bloom them. A HOT portion would help stabilize people until you got all your shrooms down, and would fit in line with druid’s mixing of HOT & direct heals, since Detonate would still be a big burst direct heal. There’s nothing worse than trying to set up a heal that you know you’ll need, and watching people die while you are still setting up your shrooms. The HOT duration would need to be short, however, to encourage us to still want to bloom (ie. maybe the HOT lasts for 3-6 seconds or something). That would reduce the risk level of using the spell, since no one else has to both place & detonate their heals (and it would let DPS know that they are in the right place).
  • Three shrooms feels like too many. I like the idea of being able to place multiple shrooms. However, resto druids are pretty GCD-locked right now, with having a bunch of HOTs and our mastery to actively maintain. Having to drop 3 shrooms on a 10 second cooldown is too much, because it will end up encouraging shroom-spamming (which won’t be fun for resto healers). Overall, I think we should reduce the number of shrooms down to 2 total for resto druids. This would keep the unique feeling of the spell, but reduce the burden on resto druid healers that the spell seems to be creating. Having 3 lifebloom stacks AND 3 shrooms is too much, because you could honestly spend all day just keeping up LB and shrooms, and shrooms weren’t meant to dominate our entire healing rotation. It could also be possible to put in a major glyph that increased the cooldown of shrooms to 30 seconds but allowed you to place one mega-shroom that dropped all 3 shrooms at the same time (OR just make this mega-shroom the baseline ability for all resto druids). If none of those options would work, then I’d suggest increasing the cooldown on shrooms to 15 or 20 seconds baseline to make them less problematic in our rotation (even moonkin would potentially benefit from a 15 sec cooldown on shrooms in MoP so that you could fit a Hurricane and set up your shrooms before they came off CD).
  • Another option would be to somehow remove the detonate (so, shrooms count down from X and then pop on their own?), however I like the idea of being able to control when the heal happens. I’m really not sure how shrooms would work without a detonate, but having to both place things on the ground AND detonate them seems to be the major sticking point for some shroom-haters. So, finding a way to remove the detonate could be a solution, so you can “set and forget” like other class’ AOE heals.
  • Shrooms could also work by casting “spores” on people, rather than the ground (so someone would carry their shroom spores with them when they moved, and you could detonate their spores when you wanted the heal to work. The spore mechanic would be better for PvP where people move around a lot more unpredictably than they do in PvE).

Conclusions:

I think there are a lot of options for making healing shrooms viable in our rotation. However, just slapping a heal on the damage version isn’t going to integrate very well into resto druids’ current healing style, where we are already mashing buttons every second just to try and keep up. I think there are ways to change Healing Shrooms to keep the idea alive, but they have to be their own spell (not just the moonkin version) for a healing shroom to work. If healing shrooms don’t work, the developers also need to be willing to basically completely scrap that concept and give us something that does work for better filling the current hole in our arsenal that is begging for a direct AOE heal.

Posted in Beta Feedback, Mists of Pandaria, Restoration Healing Trees, Uncategorized, Written By Lissanna

Repost: Welcome Garnaph!

via Restokin by Lissanna on 7/1/11

 

So, a couple months ago, I opened my blog up to guest writers. Since then, I have had a series of about 7 people contribute posts to my blog in a “voices from the community” series. Since starting this series, I have heard a lot of great feedback from my readers about how much you enjoy reading the guest posts. However, now that the series is starting to wrap up (because most of the interested druids have already posted), I figured it was time to decide on a more permanent solution to my busy schedule.

Thus, I’m adding a more permanent writer to this blog, a druid named Garnaph! I’d like to welcome him to the blog.

He is actually the first writer from my “voices” series, who wrote the post about raiding with high latency. His original post was very well received by the readers here, and I’m sure that you will enjoy reading his future posts.

Note: Due to my crazy whirlwind schedule right now, he will likely be posting more than me for the month of July. Don’t worry, once I’m done with my Wedding at the end of July, you will start seeing a lot more posts from Lissanna again! I’m not leaving, just making sure you still get high quality posts during such a busy time for me! He’s going to be staying permanently even after that, since I really do like the blogging model of having multiple writers now that my speed of posting is unlikely to ever hit the “every other day” posting schedule I started this blog with, LOL.

Here is more information about Garnaph:

Garnaph is a level 85 Tauren Druid, on the Twilight’s Hammer (EU) server. He has been on TH for the entirety of his WoW career, due to the large South African community on the server. He is the GM of the Exodus (theexodus.co.za), a guild he founded with some friends some time ago. He runs two 10 man raiding teams, one of which he raid leads. He raids as Bear (Resto offspec), and will occasionally reforge/respec to Boomkin and Kitty. As such, he tries to stay aware of changes to all 4 specs, as he never knows when  he will be needed in a a DPS role.

He is really looking forward to sharing his knowledge with you. His upcoming posts include things like a guide to the Power Auras mod, which I’m definitely looking forward to reading!

So, I’d like everyone to welcome Garnaph to the blog, and I hope you enjoy his posts!

Posted in Uncategorized, Written By Lissanna

Druid leveling – Vanilla Style!

Today’s “voices from the community” post is a trip down memory lane, written by Nyda <Legacy of the Void> from Perenolde (US). We think this story will resonate with a lot of the people who leveled up in Vanilla, oh so many years ago!

World of Warcraft was my first MMORPG. Pulled into the rich graphical environment by work colleagues, I found myself quickly caught up in this intense world. Admittedly, I began in the starting area with very little knowledge on how to proceed through this game. All I knew was that I fully intended to see the things that I had heard being talked about in office chatter. Thus began my journey from 1-60 as a Night Elf Druid.

Quest lines were boring and interesting at the same time. The furbolg on the hill, whose necklace I needed to steal, turned out to be a mighty foe indeed, granting me a whispy run more times than I considered fair for the tender level of my baby Druid. Far from being an expert on my class, I conserved mana as much as possible and was prone to killing things by whacking at them with my staff. It was laughable that my staves skill was maxed out all the way through the leveling process.

Outside of quests, it somehow seemed natural to me to heal in dungeons, though from 1-50 all of my points were in the Balance tree. I had decided early on that I should just fill in every point in the first tree until I got to the next, not understanding that there was a specific tree for each role a Druid could fill. It wasn’t until I reached level 50 that I was gently told that I was healing with the wrong spec and directed to the forums for answers. That’s when I discovered talent trees! Amazingly enough, healing became much easier after that.

So my leveling career went. And I say career because it took me 40 days played to make it to 60. By the time I reached level 50, I had to survive the break-up of my very first guild. It was emotionally draining in a way I never expected. I was quickly recruited by an admired Druid in a very large guild on our server. He was one of the icons, one of the Druids standing on the bridge in Ironforge wearing a full set of Wildheart (swoon!). The dramatic evening of the guild break-up and recruitment into a new guild resulted in an empty bottle of wine in real life, my beloved character sitting in the bar in Ironforge for the night and an entire log of inebriated comments being posted on the realm forums the next day. The drama over, I became firmly entrenched in leveling and eventual raiding.

With the change of spec to restoration, I found leveling to be even more grueling than it was before. I had learned enough to understand at 50 that casting would result in more damage than melee, but I also had a tendency to drop into bear form when the going got tough with mobs. When I finally reached 60, it became an endless commitment to attunements, coffer runs, jailbreaks and the occasional stealth run into BRD for a Barman Shanker. It was fun to be a Druid! I learned that UBRS and LBRS should never be pronounced as ubbers or lubbers and that being the “bomb” in MC was a VERY bad thing for everyone around you. Every fight in BWL had to be fought facing a corner with my camera pointed down to avoid lag. (to this day, I still don’t really know what the inside of BWL looks like, the walls were nice though!) Decurse and innervate became my best friends and I still managed to out heal every healing class but the almighty paladin.

The job of getting from level 1 to level 60 was long, tough and filled with unexpected real life emotions but it was well worth it. There was a camaraderie in this game that I haven’t experienced since 2005. We knew who we played with on both sides and we loved every minute of it. Well, except for being used as PvP bait….I mean, really…who would love that? :)

Posted in Druid - General, Leveling, Uncategorized, Voices From The Community

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