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Repost: Druids – A true hybrid

Druids – A true hybrid

via Restokin by Garnaph on 10/10/11

 

I’ve been pondering making this post for a while now. In fact, it was one of my post ideas alongside my original latency post. Lissanna asked me to do the latency post instead, so this one has been gathering dust until now.

The number one thing about druids in my mind is that they are the only class that can perform all 4 roles in raids : tanking, melee, ranged, healing. Paladins and Shamans are a close 2nd with 3/4, and honestly I feel Enh Shamans should have a tanking subtree like ferals, but that’s a topic for another day. I remember when I first started playing wow, I couldn’t decide what role I wanted to play, so I was advised to roll a Druid. Best. Advice. Ever.

Making the Most of Hybrid Dual-Specs

The problem is that we only have two specs that we can have ready at a time. You can also share 2 sets of gear between those 4 specs (Agi = Cat/Bear, Int = Resto/Boomkin). Paladins require 3 sets of gear, by comparison. So ideally, if you take yourself seriously as a true hybrid, at any given point you should have one feral spec, and one caster spec, as this will make it possible to be two mouse clicks away from a switch. At the same time you will have two sets of gear on your character, perfectly optimised for the two specs you currently have. This sets you up to be able to switch from one to the other with just two mouse clicks. For most of Cata so far I’ve been Bear/Resto, with occasional trips into Bear/Boomkin.

OK, so now, say you are Cat/Resto specced, and suddenly want to be Cat/Boomkin. How long does it take to change setups? Well, it requires 4 things :
1 – Change Spec + Glyphs
2 – Change Reforges
3 – Change Meta
4 – Change Bars

  • 1 : Changing Spec + Glyphs: This can be easily done from memory, talent editor bookmarks in your browser or even better, using a mod like talented. Sadly, this mod seems to have been abandoned – if anyone knows of a working mod that does something similar, let me know please. Make sure you have enough Dust of Disappearance to switch your glyphs!
  • 2 : Changing Reforges: ReforgeSaver is your friend here. One click and it’s done for the small price of 300G.
  • 3 : Changing Meta-gems: Keep a few of each cut meta close by, so you don’t have to cut or buy one when you need them.
  • 4 : Changing Spell/ability bars: This can be the tricky part. What I’d recommend is have your boomkin stance bar setup for boomkin, and your “humanoid” bar for resto (the same works for bear and cat). You might need to drop spec specific talented abilities onto the bar after a respec (swiftmend, starsurge, starfall, etc), but the majority should be in place.

You should also have your power auras setup in a way that the correct set activates. E.g. Resto = not in bear/cat/boomkin form, Boomkin Auras in Boomkin form. This is the one part that is completely seamless if setup correctly. For details on how this is done, look at my power auras post series.

A hybrid druid is a raid leader’s best friend

Once you’ve had some practice, you’ll become your raid leader’s best friend. Assume you’re in raid setup as kitty/boomkin. Did your tank or healer’s line die and they need to be replaced in a hurry? Tell your raid leader “give me 5 minutes and I can be resto/bear ready – have a warlock ready to summon” and they can go hunt down another dps to take your place. As a raid leader myself, I can’t fully express how useful hybrids are when it comes to keeping raids going through unexpected subbing.

Other druid Role-swapping  advice

One thing worth noting is that it’s much easier to switch between Resto and Boomkin, than it is between Cat and Bear. If you look at the best gems and enchants for the two feral specs, there isn’t much overlap other than Agility.

  • Blue sockets (20+ agi socket bonus) : Bear likes Stam, Cat wants Hit.
  • Yellow sockets (20+ agi socket bonus) : Bear likes Dodge, Cat wants Mastery.
  • Bear uses armor on Cloak and Gloves. Cat uses Greater Mastery on Gloves and Agi on Back.
  • Bear uses Agi+Stam on legs. Cat uses Crit+Ap.

Compare to Resto/Boomkin. Both want Int, Spirit (Hit for boomkin), and Haste. They use the same leg patch. They also perfectly overlap with best enchants. So all it takes to change between them is a Reforge, Respec/Reglyph, and changing your Meta. Much faster and cheaper than a Feral Respec.

For this reason, I suggest picking a Feral spec you want to use, and then having Resto/Boomkin as your “switchable” spec. I suggest going Bear, as you’re then two mouse clicks away from all 3 roles (Tank/Heal/DPS). If you ever need to go Cat, have a plan. Do you want to Gem + Enchant for the best Min/Max stats for both, or are you willing to have a hybrid gear setup and take a small hit to performance in Bear? If you want to go down the Feral hybrid route, the Cat enchants and gems work just fine for both (Mastery, Hit, etc).

In conclusion, having one caster spec and one tanking spec gives you the most flexibility and ease in switching between three different roles with the same character.

Posted in Druid - General, Written By Garnaph

Garnaph’s view on 4.2 raid nerfs

Garnaph’s view on 4.2 raid nerfs

via Restokin by Garnaph on 9/19/11

 

There’s a lot of talk about this at the moment, and I feel I have something to add. As a middle-of-the-road raider (my guild just took down our first HC firelands boss), I feel, perhaps a little arrogantly, that I have the most balanced viewpoint on this kind of thing.

Your extreme hardcore raiders cry that content should remain hard, especially HC bosses, but let’s be honest, any guild that takes their progression THAT seriously, should have killed Rag HC by now, certainly after the recent nerf to him. As such, they’re likely to be farming all 7 on HC anyway – do the nerfs really effect them all that much?

On the other extreme, you have the super casual raiders, that have a handful of normal kills, and that think all raids are too damn hard. They want everything nerfed, they want their 5th alts to be given legendaries on a silver platter. I feel this viewpoint is equally wrong. Content should remain hard, to a degree. There must always be a divide between the good guilds, and the bad ones. If everyone can walk in and oneshot Rag HC, it’s no more impressive than walking into Karazhan right now at lvl 85.

In the middle somewhere, sits the majority of us. We like raiding, we enjoy the challenge, but some of the content seems far out of reach. “Too easy” is as little fun as “too hard”. My guild killed 12/12 T11, eventually, took down Halfus HC, then realised we were completely out of steam. Nef totally took it out of us, and we just didn’t have the energy for the brutal T11 HC progression grind. I get why Blizz nerfed T11 normals. Now everyone can go in there and see that content – new guilds are raiding that content, as a way to get geared, but also get some practice before hitting Firelands.

So the question remains, is HC content really supposed to be accessible in the same way T12 HC will be after these nerfs? And while I’m at it, why is it that T11 HC still won’t be nerfed, even after T12 HC has been? Are we saying it’s OK for T11 HC to be harder than T12 HC? That sounds… bizarre.

ICC had a 30% buff (which you can see as a 30% nerf), which still didn’t make HC bosses a pushover, so why is it that everyone is so up in arms about a 20% nerf to HC in Firelands? It’s not like the keyboard turners are going to get anything down anyway. I know I’m biased in saying this, as these nerfs will make the content available to my guild, but why shouldn’t we get our turn to take a look, knowing that other guilds beat us to it by a mile? It’s not like they’re completely declawing the content, just making it less brutal, so guilds who are just off being able to down content, will now be able to.

I believe the real issue is that when the dust settles, no one can tell the difference between those that killed Rag HC in the first month, and those that did 6 months after release (post nerf). I must admit, I kinda liked it in WOTLK when Blizzard removed the T7 meta-achievement mounts when Ulduar came out, even though I never obtained one of those mounts myself. The same applies to the original ZA Warbear. Those with the mounts could say “hey, we did this while it was still hard”. I got an Ulduar Rusted Proto back when it was hard, and seeing every moron flying around on one, knowing they probably did it at 85, just makes me sad.

If it was up to me, I’d say sure, let the content be nerfed. People are just going to outgear it someday anyway. When we’re all lvl 100 we’re just going to solo the stuff anyway… BUT… let there be a clear way to see who did it while it was still hard. Remove the mounts, titles, etc. as the nerfs hit. That’s all I ask. You should be able to see someone’s mount and title, and know what content they’re showing off about killing. Seeing a player with a Bane title, sitting on an Ironbound Proto, should be something you should look at in awe.

Posted in Written By Garnaph

Repost: Intro to Power Auras (part 3 of 3)

Intro to Power Auras (part 3 of 3)

via Restokin by Garnaph on 8/14/11

 

To wrap up my Power Auras series, I’m going to outline the setups I use, and while I expect this to spark heated debate about what’s necessary and what’s not, and how terribly ugly my setup looks, I still feel it’s important to lay it out, so I can explain why I use Power Auras, and what they do for me.

I’ve setup power auras for all 4 druid specs, and in all cases except for Resto, I’ve got them linked to a condition based on form (Bear/Cat/Boomkin), so they don’t display unless I want them. The Resto auras are mostly talents and mastery, so they generally don’t display outside of that spec anyway, and my innervate aura won’t display in my feral forms due to my mana threshold. I use tranquility in all 4 specs, so having it active for all is fine by me.

Exports for all of the sets are available by clicking on the headers. Please download and import them, and mess around with the settings to understand how they all work. Note that they are all setup according to my UI and screen resolution, so if the layout is a mess, it may not entirely be my fault ;)

It’s also worth noting that my Resto setup is the simplest, since it’s a few simple cooldown checks, and a harmony aura. DPS and tanking setups (tanking is kinda like DPS with cooldowns) tend to be a lot more complicated, due to the rotations involved in performing optimally.

First things first, I use square symbols that mirror the abilities on my bars. If possible, I get them to even be ordered the same as abilities on my bars, to make following them as intuitive as possible.

I’ll order these from simplest to most complicated…

If I say something is a “DoT timer”, assume I mean it shows with a timer from 10s and below, and shows as red if the dot is not on the target. Same goes for if I say “buff timer” or “debuff timer”.

Shared (click here for exports):

  • Tranquility CD (This is useful regardless of what spec you are in)
  • Red Fairie fire 3 stack check (if no one else is applying this debuff, you should do your part for the raid, even if you’re Boomkin/Resto)
  • Clearcasting buff warning

Resto (click here for exports):

  • Innervate (off CD, and mana under 80%)
  • Harmony buff timer
  • Nature’s swiftness CD
  • Swiftmend CD
  • Wild Growth CD

Boomkin (click here for exports):

  • Starsurge CD
  • Force of Nature CD
  • Starfall CD
  • Moonfire DoT timer [only shows when NOT in solar eclipse]
  • Sunfire DoT timer [only shows in solar eclipse]
  • Insect Swarm DoT timer
  • Wrath/Starfire auras, that display when in solar/lunar eclipse (so if I have to do something in a panic, I can remember where I was)

 

Basically if you follow these ok, you’ll use all CDs as they come up, keep up sun/moonfire + IS and switch from wrath to starfire and back as required. An addon like Balance Power Tracker is very strongly suggested for knowing EXACTLY when you’re going to go into eclipse.

Cat (click here for exports):

  • Mangle debuff check
  • Rip DoT timer
  • Rake DoT timer
  • Savage Roar buff timer
  • Combo points auras for 1/2/3/4/5, showing as small white circles (this idea was shamelessly stolen from Maus, a Resto/Kitty Druid in my guild)
  • Shred icon which shows above 80 energy
  • 2 Tiger’s fury auras : one to show when it’s off CD, and one to show when it’s both off CD, and energy is under 30.
  • Catform icon when on 5 CP as an additional warning.
  • Ferocious bite warning if current target is less than 25% health.

 

As bad as kitty used to be, with this setup it’s easy. Just follow the auras as they pop up, and you’ll maintain mangle+rake+5CP rip, shred only when over 80 energy (or if rip is on a low duration, and you know your shred glyph is going to kick in). When the first tiger’s fury aura comes up, spam shred to kill your energy, then when the second aura pops up, hit tiger’s fury for the free energy. If the Savage roar warning comes up, use SR with as few CP as possible.

Bear (click here for exports):

  • Demo roar debuff timer, which also checks for similar effects (e.g. from other tanks)
  • FFF CD (which appears right next to the 3 stack FF aura)
  • Mangle CD
  • Thrash CD (only activates over 70 rage)
  • Maul CD (only activates over 70 rage)
  • Lacerate icon, that morphs into a Pulverize icon at 3 stacks (with 3 white circles above it showing lacerate stacks, similar to the combo points setup for cat outlined above).
  • Pulverize buff timer
  • Enrage CD
  • Berzerk CD
  • Tanking CDs (this covers, barkskin, SI, FR) : Cooldown aura, plus an additional BLUE timer when the effect is on me (so I can see when it’s going to expire)

 

As it’s my main spec, you’ll notice the complexity of my bear setup is quite far beyond the rest. I’m really picky about what I see, so I want it all to be in place, so I can focus on doing my job, and not having to worry about if a CD is ready, or if a CD I popped a short while ago is still running or not.

Posted in Druid - General, Written By Garnaph

Repost: Addon Spotlight : ReforgeSaver

Addon Spotlight : ReforgeSaver

via Restokin by Garnaph on 8/9/11

 

Reforge saver is a mod that saves preset reforging setups, and can quickly reset your gear to the saved state. Since Bear/Cat and Boomkin/Resto often share gear, this makes managing your offspecs a lot easier.

It’s not a complicated mod, but there are some tricks and small nuisances, so I’ll go over them quickly…

To setup a preset, just open a reforge vendor window, select “new profile” from the dropdown, click save, and type in a description (e.g. Resto, Boomkin).

To use a preset, select it from the dropdown, and click “reforge” at the top.

If you do not have the exact same gear on as when you did the preset, depending on your version of the mod, one of two things will happen. Either it will simply equip the items, or it will complain that some items are missing. The current version equips items, which is great, because the old version would get very confused if you even switched your trinkets around.

After that, it will ask you to confirm, telling you how much it will cost you, and then reforge what it can, one item at a time, with a brief output of what it’s doing. It’ll also give you a warning of how much the total reforge is going to cost you before it starts. Generally reforging an entire set of gear costs around 300G.

That’s pretty much it.

Unfortunately, If you change a piece of gear, change your reforging setup, or in any way change how your gear looks, there is no way to update a preset. You have to delete it, and create it again. Hopefully they’ll add functionality to update presets in later versions.

Posted in Druid - General, Written By Garnaph

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