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Resto and balance in patch 7.1

Blizzard has a fairly large content release happening with patch 7.1. While it feels too soon to be launching this much content, there are some changes worth noting.

First, remember that you can turn Blood of Sargeras into a trader and get fun things like more Starlight Rose for your flask/potion needs, or other crafting materials.

Second, remember that some of the functionality of raiding addons was broken (I’m pretty sure they didn’t reverse this decision they announced several months ago). The UI can’t tell positional space of where people are in the room. That makes things like “Spread out 5 yards” much more difficult to coordinate. There isn’t any way to do range frames, radars, nearby warnings, or arrows pointing you to another person. So, good luck with that. 😉

Restoration changes in 7.1

  • When you use frenzied Regen (FR) in bear form, you get a benefit from your Harmony mastery. If you sometimes use guardian affinity and pop FR in bear form, you will heal slightly more over the duration.
  • Ysera’s Gift sticks to party & raid members, so now you will be less likely to randomly heal people when you are standing in town.
  • Some of living seed’s effect was ‘nerfed’, although Living Seed didn’t contribute much to our total healing done in the first place. The artifact trait listed in the patch notes is also one of the last traits we suggest picking up, so the change to that trait doesn’t matter much. At this point in artifact progression, it will end up being less overall living seed healing done, but it did maybe 1% of anyone’s total healing in the first place.
  • Regrowth & healing touch baseline healing was buffed, but this isn’t documented in the patch notes (though it should go live). Regrowth crits less, but does more immediate healing. So, think of the package of changes as being a buff to the direct healing portion of regrowth rather than anything else. This might also impact the value of crit and other stats after all is said and done, but only slightly.
  • Swiftmend’s healing was increased slightly, likely in part due to the living seed nerf. This means that when you use swiftmend as a burst heal, it’s a tiny bit more potent. When you use swiftmend to get the Soul of the Forest (SOTF) buff, try to make sure you get a benefit from that burst heal (otherwise, the change results in even more overhealing).
  • They nerfed the prosperity talent, reducing the cooldown by 3 seconds instead of 5. This makes it more annoying to line up SOTF with wild growths, but still leaves the combo fairly potent.
  • They buffed the cultivation talent by 20%. On fights where cultivation was good, it’s now even better. This makes cultivation somewhat more helpful on raid encounters where you might have people sit at or below 60% health enough to proc cultivation. While we call the SOTF build the ‘raid’ build, there are certainly plenty of raid fights where cultivation shines.
  • Incarnation is off the GCD, but you still will likely value SOTF or Cultivation more.

TLDR for resto: Not much really changed in terms of how you heal. Cultivation’s value definitely increased. Most of the changes come out to a net neutral impact overall, depending on what talents you take. The living seed nerf offsets some of the buffs to the direct healing portion of spells. We’ll have a more solid idea of the impact of these changes once it hits the live servers and we know the final numbers.

Balance changes in 7.1

Not much changed for balance, just some minor tweaks.

  • Owlkin Frenzy now only makes Lunar Strike instant, rather than being consumed by Wrath or Lunar Flare. This is good in some ways in that you can’t accidentally ‘waste’ it now, but also gives you less flexibility in its use.
  • You now have regrowth instead of healing touch baseline & can cast regrowth in moonkin form. This has a faster cast time, but a pretty small initial heal. If you happened to be unlucky and got the legendary that impacted healing touch, it now impacts regrowth instead.
  • Incarnation no longer triggers the global cooldown and they fixed the graphical bug (big armored super moonkin Incarnation form is back!). I find myself using this some, so that’s nice.
Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 7.1, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna
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Alpha testing started for balance druids

I have been slow to post, as only the second alpha patch has dropped so far, with patches often coming rapidly with huge class changes every patch. Right now, balance is the only playable specialization for druids. In addition, there is much that is incomplete about balance druids including their artifact weapon traits. Many classes overall still have “awesome things coming soon”. However, druids so far are starting in really good shape.

First, our class hall artwork is absolutely incredible. I used to visit moonglade for fun sometimes and hang out. However, this new class hall is like “What would happen if we took moonglade and dialed it up to 11?” It definitely still has a night elf architectural feel, which makes sense given the history and lore of going to the place where malfurion learned to be a druid. This zone is not yet finished, with many orange flashing signs with “work in progress” posted around.  You spend the majority of your time outdoors in this pretty large zone, but there are already some hidden places where you can find an indoor bed to take a nap if you so desire.

Druid_class_hall

Second, the balance druid form artwork is in. The Tauren keep their horns. All other 3 races keep their antlers. In all cases, the coloring is the same as the original models. They have most of their animations in and complete, including retaining the same awesome dancing skills.

Druid_moonkin    moonkin2

In terms of the balance druid rotation and play style, the “build and spend” resource model works out really well. It still feels familiar to the old playstyle, without having to watch the Eclipse bar dictate what spells to use – potentially offering even more room for choices to make in how you play. There is still a lot of work to do for ensuring that balance is a fun and effective specialization. I’ll comment more on specific abilities after another build or two and things stabilize a tiny bit more. There are a few places that need tweaking, such as some of the artifact weapon bonuses. For example, there is a risk of generating astral power so quickly that you feel like you have to frantically mash buttons to keep up. In the current build, some of the artifact bonuses also run the risk of making talents feel redundant with the artifact (such as not needing a talent to get instant-cast nukes when you passively get instant-cast nukes from the weapon, or not needing astral power generated via talents when you get tons of it from an ability you get with the artifact weapon). However, the current weaknesses are easily addressed in terms of balancing out the values of the talents and artifact weapons to not compete with each other. The major problems now are relatively minor compared to the problems brought to us by Eclipse.

The good news is that if you hated Eclipse, the new moonkin playstyle may be fun to learn. In addition, if you did like the complexity of balance and Eclipse, there are still plenty of opportunities for complexity (and we still start out with more buttons to manage than most other classes do before talents).

When restoration is in, I’ll start hitting dungeons and see how that goes. We also don’t know at what point we can pick up secondary artifact weapons for dual-spec leveling.

Posted in Beta Feedback, Legion, Moonkin Balance DPS, Written By Lissanna
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More moonkin and sealion shapeshift pictures

MMO-champion and others have started data-mining the Legion beta. This brings us lots of new pictures. It takes them a long time to go over every inch of a new game client, so they just started posting pictures of the new shapeshift forms. Below are a few of the views of the Tauren form. The colorings are still being worked out. Click on the links to see the full MMO-champion pictures (I cut a couple views from each so they weren’t so tiny on the blog).

Horde forms (without all the correct coloring)

Adriacraft also was able to capture some animated shots! (Horde horned moonkin models)

The Nigh Elf forms are also available (without all the correct coloring):

Animated Allianace-antlered moonkin forms By Adriacraft:

Sea Lion Form Updated

Posted in Beta Feedback, Legion, Moonkin Balance DPS, Uncategorized, Written By Lissanna
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Moonkin in legion: Easy to learn, hard to master

The official class previews were posted Wednesday. For druids, balance is likely undergoing the most dramatic changes. Thus, I’ll focus on changes to the core moonkin spells today. Eclipse is gone, and if you need to remember why Eclipse needed to be removed, I suggest reading this post by Chase at Blizzardwatch.

Core abilities:

  • Damage over Time (DOTs): We are keeping moonfire  and sunfire  which will each be a separate DOT that can be placed on the target. As such, the core rotation will require keeping high up-time on both DOTs. Sunfire has the ‘spread to nearby target’ mechanic, and moonfire is single-target only.
  • Astral power generators: Lunar Strike replaces starfire, and has an AOE cleave component. Wrath is now called Solar Wrath but otherwise mostly stays the same single-target.
  • AOE astral power spender: Starfall consumes astral power instead of having charges. It now has a large targeting circle you place on the ground, as the ‘targets the druid’ mechanic was somewhat difficult in execution. While this is a 15 yard radius targeting circle, we can extend the radius of this circle via talents. Targets in the circle take more DOT damage and the talented version would also let you cast while moving from within the circle.
  • Single-target astral power spender: Starsurge is instant-cast, consumes astral power, and provides 1 charge of Solar Power (buffs solar wrath) and 1 charge of lunar power (buffs lunar strike). This empowerment will require us to spend these charges
  • Utility: We know moonkin will get innervate (give a healer or arcane mage some mana in the fight). You will also likely want to pick up an affinity talent that maximizes survivability (guardian’s passive damage reduction) or utility (resto healing abilities and passive).

Changing Resources and mastery:

  • Eclipse was removed and we no longer watch the balance ‘bar’ on our interface.
  • Astral Power: Balance druids now have a ‘build and spend’ mechanic via a new Astral power resource. Our “builder” spells will generate astral power (e.g., solar wrath and lunar strike generate astral power). Our “spender” spells can be cast and use that astral power (starsurge and starfall), providing large benefits, such as Empowerments to our abilities.
  • New Mastery: Starlight Increases the damage of Starfall and Starsurge, and the effect of the Empowerments that they grant by an additional 30% (with Mastery from typical gear). This means that starlight doesn’t impact our core rotation in the way Eclipse does. It instead buffs spells you should be using anyway.

Analysis of overall changes: 

The base rotation will be to keep up DOTs, use spells to generate astral power, and then spend astral power on your starfall/starsurge spells. The empowerment will mean you follow starsurge with one lunar strike and one solar wrath (then use the appropriate spell depending on need for cleave to keep earning power). Rinse and repeat! Keep in mind that there will be other abilities that aren’t included in this list, as well as talents that will have big impacts. It is easier to manipulate a resource like astral power than to manipulate the ‘charges’ mechanic that we used for starsurge and starfall in Draenor.

For AOE, we won’t have Hurricane anymore. Instead, the plan is for DOT spam, starfall, and lunar strike to be our AOE toolkit. It’s possible we could get other AOE from talents, but we haven’t seen the talents yet.

Overall, this new starting point is going to be beneficial for balance druids. This will provide an opportunity for the true “easy to learn, hard to master” spec. For a long time, balance has been the opposite: Eclipse was hard to learn (unless you had good addons), and easy to master once you got the core concept. Getting rid of the clunky Eclipse mechanic is good for balance druids. It frees balance druids from a system that never truly worked – there was never really a reason to swap between two sets of spells that were basically identical in all but name. While the initial rotation sounds super simple, there is plenty of room for skill to be rewarded by the time everything else has been revealed for druids. The talents will provide flexibility in terms of being able to choose talents that increase the complexity of the spec. You can choose all passive talents as a new druid OR choose more active talents for more complexity in advanced high-end raiding.

I will be highly active during beta testing and plan on raiding moonkin in Legion if all goes well. At this point, I think our rotation holds onto the core mechanics of being about weaving DOTs and direct damage.

Posted in Blizzcon, Legion, Moonkin Balance DPS, Written By Lissanna
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