Alaron

Jun 062013
 

frustrated catFirst off, my apologies to anyone who attempted to get to the website last Saturday. My hosting provider decided that my site was using too many resources, so they blocked my site and sent me an email…at 6 AM on Saturday morning. Right, I’m going to be on that one immediately. :) Thanks to Twitter friends, I found out what was going on,  made a few tweaks and got them to unblock it Sunday morning. That said,  this is the third time it’s happened, and it’s really annoying that they don’t give me a prior warning so I can figure out what’s causing the resource usage spike. (Remember, Saturday at 6AM…not likely to be user activity, so must be something misconfigured somewhere, but I can’t fix it unless I see the problem happening.) Anyway, I will be looking into new hosting providers to hopefully prevent this from happening again; hope nobody needed an emergency Catus reforge on Saturday.

I’ve got about a month to get things sorted, as I’ll be transitioning in mid-July into pre-deployment leave/pre-deployment prep/deployment. Unlike last time, I won’t say my goodbyes; I have a much better idea of what I’m getting into, and I know I’ll have time to blog once all the dust settles from the move. (Hopefully not famous last words.) Either way, though, I won’t have much to say from mid-July through mid-September, or therabouts.

In cheerier news, I’ve finally secured a 502+ helm, so I’m seeing the benefits of the metagem for the first time, and it’s quite nice. Other than that, though, I’m already bored with 5.3. The stuff in the Barrens is fun once, but there’s not enough depth there to encourage replayability; now that I’ve completed it twice, there’s not even a meaningful reward to earn save transmog gear and Valor Points.  I loved the few heroic scenarios I did, but interest in those has dropped off; I can’t find people in Trade anymore who want to run one, and my guild of working professionals is hit-or-miss on when they’re around. So…yeah. Still need to do the new Brawlers bosses, though, so at least that’s something. Keeping a feral rotation going on Hexos is frustratingly fun. :)

Oh, and before I forget, the Team Waffle podcast is hosting a Feral Roundtable this Saturday at 11 AM PST; there’s an active thread on the forums here for question submission, so feel free to ask whatever suits your fancy. Our own Tinderhoof (yes I still claim him) will be participating, along with several other heroic PvE/high-rated PvP players. I’ll link to it again when the recording goes up, but if you don’t get your question into the thread, feel free to pop into their twitch stream during the broadcast and ask then!

(I also forgot to link Edgy’s interview a few weeks ago; check it out for some more perspective on Catus and the hard-knock feral life.)

 Posted by at 12:08 am
May 212013
 

Made a to-do list for myself for whenever I finally get into patch 5.3, and figured I’d share.

  1. Go get your 3 MoguCoins (because you’ll forget if you jump right into all the shiny new stuff)
  2. Spend your VP on upgrading whatever you want to upgrade. Priority should go to the items with the most stats, aka weapons, trinkets, chest/pants, etc. Upgrading is fairly cheap, so I wouldn’t worry too much about upgrading something only to replace it later.
  3. Queue for Pinnacle LFR (because I still need runestones and a helm for my legendary meta). If you’ve finished through Chapter III of the legendary questline, go talk to Wrathion. Datamined info says that next step is a solo scenario where you visit one of the Celestials, with each Celestial offering a different challenge based on role (melee/ranged/tank/heal). Reward is an ilvl 600 cloak.
  4. Go talk to Loremaster Cho to start the new Battlefield Barrens questchain, and do the two required scenarios.
  5. Port to Barrens and complete quests there. Once complete through Battlefield: Barrens, you can come back to Pandaria and do a quick finishing quest to get some 502 boots.
  6. Find 2 other people and queue for a heroic scenario. The first one you complete has a guaranteed random ilvl 516 item; after that, the first one each day has a chance at a 516, so might start trying to round people up on a nightly basis until I’m in full 522′s/upgraded 502′s.
  7. At some point, go clear out Kara/SSC/TK for the new battle pets, and give the new Brawler’s Guild a try. Got Rank 8 before, interested in seeing the Rank 9-10 guys.
  8. Oh, and check out the new version of Force of Nature.
 Posted by at 3:26 pm
May 202013
 

It’s PATCH DAY TOMORROW! I’ll run down what ferals need to know real quick.

Savage Roar now increases physical damage done by 40%, instead of 30%.

Feel the love! This won’t be quite a 10% damage increase, but it’ll be close to that. Don’t expect to shoot right to the top of the meters, though, as pretty much all the melee classes (excepting warriors, rogues, and DK’s) got some buffs too. No nerfs, as far as I can tell, so raid DPS should go up across the board.

Tranquility now targets 12 raid members (up from 5) each time it heals when used in a 25-player instance. This change also applies to players using the Symbiosis version of Tranquility.

This change equalizes the power of Tranquility in both 10′s and 25′s, and is a large change to the better for those ferals in the larger raids. Tranquility is now a definite option as a raid cooldown.

Force of Nature is no longer on global cooldown and summons a single Treant. The Treant no longer has a control bar, immediately uses its special abilities on the Druid’s current target, and accumulates 1 charge every 20 seconds up to a maximum of 3 charges.

I’ll have to play around with this and see what I think. It won’t outstrip SOTF for overall damage, but should be interesting for dailies/scenarios where stuff dies fast. Does it still have a targeting circle? If not, it can be macroed. I think this will probably get used for the stuns more than everything else.

Mark of the Wild had its mana cost reduced to 5%, down from 10%.

Yay for rebuff on spec switch.

Guardian Mastery: Nature’s Guardian is now 33% stronger (2% per point instead of 1.5%).

While mastery is still pretty bad for guardians, this does help the offspec tanks like me who can’t be bothered to reenchant all our feral gear.

Lots of other goodies out there too, of which the big one is the return of item upgrading, at a much cheaper price. Which item to upgrade should be pretty self-explanatory; stick with anything you won’t replace anytime soon, and prioritize items that are more important, such as weapons and trinkets. I’ll take a more detailed look at that soon. If you’re looking for a rundown of patch changes for the other specs, here you go: Sunfyre’s got moonkinBeru’s got restoration, and Arielle’s got guardian. The full PTR patch notes are here.

Personally, I’m just waiting for Jin’rokh to drop that helm so I can use my legendary metagem. :(

 

 Posted by at 3:02 pm
May 092013
 

So, in case you haven’t been keeping up, Lei Shen drops a fantastic trinket for ferals, the Rune of Re-Origination. By far, it’s our BiS trinket, even in the Raid Finder flavor. However, you’ll need to do some reforging to maximize it’s potential, since you’ll want to get your stats as close to even as possible (with mastery on top) so you get the greatest benefit from the doubling effect. Unfortunately, most reforging calculators out there don’t support this option. If you want, you can try to do it by hand, or force a calculator to help you (aggixx, one of our invaluable contributors, has a Youtube video on this). There’s an easier way, however.

Enter Catus.

Created by Edgy(aka raffy), another of our invaluable contributors, this helpful simulator tool can take care of the math for you. The program’s still in alpha and isn’t documented very well yet, so I’ve made a quick guide to show you how to set it up. You’ll need Java installed on your computer, if it isn’t already.

1. Download the latest version of Catus from this thread in the forums. Once downloaded, extract and run it (Catus.jar). It takes a while to start up the first time because it downloads item information from the Internet; just let it go. Eventually, it’ll open up to the main screen.

2. Import your character by typing in the name and realm, and clicking “Import.”

3. Check the gear listed to make sure it’s what you want (for this scenario, I gave myself a Rune, because I don’t have one yet /cry). Once happy, click “snapshot current profile in the Gear Differences pane.

4. Once you do that, go down to the reforging box: here’s my pre-reforge stats:

As you can see, this is a typical mastery-heavy setup, with about 7.5k worth of non-mastery, resulting in a 15k mastery setup. We can do better. Click Reforge, and watch the magic happen.

Went from 15k to 19k procs..I’ll take it! Feel free to play with the options; if it gives you a Hit/Exp error, you may need to go into the Constraints tab and lower the “lower bound,’ as it’s effectively saying it can’t hit/exp cap you with current gear. Once you’re done, click the Export button to get a list you can import to Reforgerade, or a similar addon. Have fun! Oh, and in case you’re curious, here’s the DPS difference as reported by Catus:

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 4:48 pm
May 052013
 
firecat

Hey, ferals! Want to ignite, but never had the opportunity to obtain Fandral’s Flamescythe, and don’t have a pocket raid to obtain one? Never fear, the CM’s are here! A few days ago, Crithto let slip on the forums that Burning Seed, previously thought to be unavailable, was actually in-game, like, for reals (whether it’s been in-game since 5.2 or just hotfixed in recently is unclear). After a search, several players located them in the Firelands. After grabbing some myself last night, I figured I’d whip up a quick guide.

Prerequisites

A druid (duh). Any spec will work, though Guardian or Restoration will be the easiest. That’s it; you don’t need any other players to pull this off.

Getting There

Take the portal from your home city to Mount Hyjal, and fly to the area marked Sulfuron Spire. The portal to Firelands is at the bottom; make sure you’ve set it to 10-man before entering. Once inside, follow this route, using stealth as appropriate to bypass the trash:

firecat map

Taking out the Trash

The hardest part of this (and really, it’s not that hard, though you might die a couple times figuring it out) is getting through the initial trash event. See map:

alysrazor trash

The key here is the Blazing Monstrosities: these BigBirds(tm) will start spewing what appears to be explosive shells about 10 seconds into pulling anything in here. These hurt. However, they 1) track you, but very slowly, meaning it’s kitable and 2) the explosions damage enemies. As such, you just need to keep yourself alive and let the Monstrosities kill everything. The caster NPC’s need to die first, since they can stun you; you’ll want to use your cooldowns right off the pull to help stay alive. Once those are dead, move back to the Egg Piles and run circles around them until they die from the fire. All this time, the Egg Piles will be spawning little trash mobs; these aren’t much of a threat at 90. Once the Egg Piles are gone, finish off any little adds and then go circle around the Monstrosities until they blow themselves up.

The next part’s easy. Smack Staghelm (or grab a feather, on subsequent pulls) to activate Alysrazor; she’ll rush out, drop a bunch of feathers, and head into the air. Grab three feathers to get flight, and take off, following this route:

firecat map 2Once you get there, hopefully the boss resets, or you’re a Night Elf and can Shadowmeld to reset. If not, you’re not going to have a ton of time before the nest Alysrazor phase starts and kills you. You’re looking for little seeds, which are floating in the lava flow next to the portal. They’re extremely small, so you may need to zoom in. Here’s a few pics so you can see what you’re looking for:

WoWScrnShot_050413_230013

WoWScrnShot_050413_230003


That’s it! There’s typically 3-5 seeds scattered around; they are Unique(5), which means you can only carry 5 at any point.  However, they are also Bind to Account, so feel free to mail some to alts if you want to stockpile. (There’s also no level requirement, so feel free to use it on a low-level druid, too; however, you have to be a druid to loot them in the first place.) As for the Seed itself, when used, it grants the buff Burning Essence for 60 minutes. This persists through death, shapeshifting, basically anything, unlike the buff from the original weapon. Have fun igniting!

firecat in pandaria

Exlipse on wowhead

 Posted by at 10:07 am
Apr 262013
 
A few people have asked me on an update on my wife’s situation, so I figured I’d share what’s been keeping my attention lately.
WARNING: Personal-type stuff ahead. Your WoW-related content will resume presently.
As long-term readers know, my wife has multiple sclerosis (yes, this is separate from the other medical issues she had last year). We’ve been lucky that the MS has been in remission, but earlier this year that ceased. This time, it’s effectively paralyzed one of her legs. Well, because she’s stubborn, she still tried to get things done around the house, and ended up falling, hitting her head, and getting a concussion. Yay.
So, now instead of going to the middle of nowhere for three weeks on a military exercise, I’ve been working at home to make things more wheelchair-accessible. Thankfully, there’s been no insurance issues, so we’re receiving lots of equipment support (wheelchair, lift for our van, etc). The sheer stress of all the changes, though, has been weary for both of us, as I’ve had to take on all the household responsibilities…oh, and yes, we have a very active 4-year-old.  At least I won’t be out in the field worrying, so that’s one minor benefit.
Once things get settled, I intend to get back to writing more frequently; I’m just stuck at a spot where I don’t have the mental energy to sit down and write the usual overly-researched strategies that are my forte. There’s still a lot I’d like to write about soloing and pet battles, as well as the usual feral things; happily, though, all the really good ferals are holding things down on the forums, so I feel some reassurance in that area. Things will get better…even if I have to do all the laundry myself now. :)
 Posted by at 2:57 pm
Apr 172013
 

In general, I hate blogs with updates that say “Sorry for the lack of updates…” but, well…yeah. Between serious and ongoing family issues and an upcoming exercise, I won’t have much to say or time to say it until, well, sometime after Memorial Day. (The end of May.) Thankfully, there’s plenty of good forum discussion to keep you sustained. Enjoy.

 Posted by at 3:33 am
Mar 312013
 

Honey, I’m home! Excuse me while I shake the sand out of, well, everything.

As I alluded to previously, I’ve been quiet for a while because I’ve been in Kuwait for the past two weeks, planning for my unit’s next deployment. As a mechanism to get myself started up again, I’ll be flipping through the last few pages of news posts on MMO-Champion and commenting whenever appropriate (or when not…wherever I feel, really! Hell, it’s good to be home.) I’ll also have a catch-up post for feral topics once I can wade through two weeks of forum posts, and I’ll start updating the various guides  for 5.2.

New Hearthstone CCG. I started out with Magic:TG as a kid, though my finely tuned economic sense kicked in after the first couple booster packs I bought. I’ve played a lot of Magic and other CCG-type games online though; it’s definitely one of my favorite genres. Very happy to see Hearthstone, though I’m sure the people at Cryptozoic (WoW TCG) aren’t. Yes, they can talk until they’re blue in the face about it being different…but let’s be real, the market for “hey, I want to play a WoW-themed card game” isn’t very big. I would’ve thought they would have diversified it among all the Blizzard properties, but maybe that’s a future expansion. “My Kerrigan deck can beat your Thrall…wait, you switched to Tyrael? Crap.”

I’m pleasantly surprised in the initial details for deck construction. If they stick to the “max 2 of same card per deck, only 1 legendary” model, that means building a competitive deck should be reasonably fast; most of the progression will be horizontal (enabling new deck builds) than vertical (optimizing for a specific build). Of course, since the only source of cards is RNG, that means a LOT of grinding (or cash money) to fully optimize a build, but I suspect the difference between non-optimized and optimized builds (aka no/wrong rares/epics/legendaries) will be pretty slight. I’m assuming the disenchant/craft feature will not yield epics/legendaries, but we’ll see. I may also be misunderstanding the rarity system somewhat, as I’m also seeing references to “golden” cards, which I don’t quite get yet.

Crap. I just realized I’m probably going to have to start a Hearthstone blog. Can a man get some free time, please? Eighth day of the week, solely for recreational purposes, call it Funday? That Steam queue isn’t getting any shorter.

PvP gear changes in 5.3. I freely admit I’ve detested WoW PvP for a long time. My first experience with it was grinding AV for an S2 staff for my lock to raid Karazhan; my second experience was futilely trying to land Shreds while playing from an Oceanic realm with high pings.I kept meaning to give it another go, never did, but this might push me over the top. I think these changes finally nail the “how to we let people in PvE gear have a fun PvP experience while still providing PvP progression for those who play often” problem, but as I’m a definite neophyte in this area, I’ll just leave it at that (Neophyte: The nice way to say noob.)

Item Upgrades returning in 5.3, much cheaper than before. From a statistical perspective, this and Thunderforged items make things quite a bit more difficult, as the definition of “BiS” keeps stretching. From a game perspective, though, this is great in that it drastically pushes out the cap at where you can no longer keep increasing your character’s power, which keeps people playing. Of course, the alternative view (I can’t stand VP grinding, if I’m Heroic raiding or bought all my VP pieces anyway, this just addis extra busywork) is also reasonable. Personally, I take a middle ground. I do the content I enjoy (scenarios, dailies 1-2 times a week, a few 5-mans, current-tier LFR) and if I don’t cap VP…*shrug*. There’s always next week. Note, though, that it took me a long time to get to that point and past the “I have to cap VP every week or I’m letting my raid down” mindset (which is a topic for another post).

Bonus roll time increased to 3 minutes. About freaking time. I know, I know, I should have AtlasLoot or something up ahead of time so I can predetermine whether to spend a MoguCoin(TM), but..yeah. “Hmm, boss killed, use a coin? Let’s check the Dungeon Journal…ugh UI taint bug that won’t let me click on individual bosses..uhhh….tickticktick…mightaswell. C’mon, Daddy needs a new….3rd Arrow-Breaking Windcloak. Yeah, that’s great. Just what I always wanted.”

LFR drop rates increase quantified. (This is based on the MMO-C data that shows Satchel drop rate for 5.0 raids as 68% and 5.2 as 81%, hence gear drop rates of 32% (up from 16%) for 5.0 and 19% for 5.2.) Of course, less time fighting the RNG boss is a good thing all around. However, this doesn’t help the problem I’ve mentioned before; if you’re going for a specific item, then your rate for each boss gets divided by the number of items dropped for that boss. This was a big problem for those looking to get Gao-Rei back in 5.0 (16% drop chance * 33% item chance = ~5% droprate), and Rune of Reorigination will be the same for 5.2.

 Posted by at 5:15 am
Mar 132013
 

I have been crazy busy with things both in-game and out, so much so that I haven’t taken the time to stop and write as much as I should have. To the written word, Batman!

Raiding again

First, I want to thank Millya, Vosskah, Rhidach, and all the wonderful others in the guild Business Time on US-Moonrunner. who’ve given me the chance to raid again. No disrespect to my previous guild, which was wonderful, but my schedule meant that a 3-night raid guild wasn’t in my plans anymore; being able to show up for just four hours a week (2 nights x 2 hours) and work with a combined group is awesome.

We stepped into Throne of Thunder for the first time last Thursday and downed Jin’rokh with just a couple pulls. Not a challenging fight mechanically at all; you will likely be 2-healing it to meet the DPS check, so dropping a HotW + Tranquility during one of the Lightning Storms can be a huge help. Once we finished that, we battled the bridge (protip: if you don’t want to deal with the small safe zones on the bridge, a single puller can kite a spirit all the way to one end) and ended up wiping on Horridon several times. I struggled a good bit with DPS on Horridon; part of that was gear, part of that was feral’s generally poor target swapping, and part of that was me just not playing well. On our final pull of the night, we got to the third set of adds, but wiped there. The 15% hotfix will probably fix things, I’m sure. That said, I did walk out with a ilvl 522 Renataki’s Soul Charm; very happy to upgrade from a LFR Terror of the Mists, not so happy that I CANNOT get below expertise cap now. ;)

On Monday, we went back and cleared out normal ToES and most of HoF with only a single wipe, which was cool. Now that you can get a big chunk of VP’s from previous-tier content, I expect sites like OpenRaid to grow dramatically in popularity; a quick look shows 50 cross-realm MSV raids already posted and looking for more signups.

Rip unbuffed and RPPM changes

So, the second-to-last-minute change that buffed Rip by 15% was undone in a last-minute change. Sad? Somewhat, but honestly, it wasn’t all that necessary to begin with, and the RPPM fixes made it even less necessary.  Previously, we were one of the melee classes that had no self-haste buff, which meant that the new legendary metagem procs (and the new trinkets, to a lesser extent) were going to be much less strong for us. However, the RPPM fix which removed self-haste buffs from the RPPM proc chance has evened that considerably, to the point where we no longer need the Rip damage buff. The early numbers from Raidbots bear this out; all the classes look pretty well balanced, save assassination rogues which are likely to see a nerf (unless they scale terribly with gear or something)

Cenarion Ward

You should use it. /comment. Seriously, I still need to make a WeakAura reminding me to use it when it’s up, but it’s much more powerful now, and feral has so many free GCD’s there’s really no excuse not to use it on cooldown.

Pet Battles

Okay, I sort-of lied; this is what I’ve been doing. Most people heard about this, but the XP rewarded by pet battles was massively OP for the first few days after 5.2 launched. I didn’t have much time to exploit it, but I leveled my DK from 85 to 87ish by doing nothing but killing lvl 1 squirrels in Stormwind fo a couple hours. Instantly respawning squirrels + 100k+ exp per battle meant 12 million XP per hour…and seeing as it’s about 95 million XP to go from 85-90, the dedicated got a lot of character leveled VERY fast. (A few enterprising monks stacked heirloom gear, the 50% XP buff from the monk daily quest, and the 300% one-time XP buff from the rare potion. Result:  leveled 1-90 in an evening. :)) Anyway, even after they fixed it, I’ve been hooked on Pet Battles, and am now slowly wending around Azeroth, capturing pets and leveling as I go. I’ve completed most of EK (can’t beat the final trainer yet) and am working through Kalimdor. (Feral pride: my highest-leveled pet is the Panther Cub.)

Real life stuff

As long-time readers know, my day job is working IT for the U.S. Army, which features lots of beach vacations. Welp, I’m getting ready to take off on another one. Unlike my last deployment, where I walked in the door of a unit who was heading out in a few weeks, this time I’ve been tagged as one of the principal planners. Therefore, this weekend, I’m taking off for two weeks of fun in the sun, to be followed up by a full nine months starting sometime this fall. I will still be around, but Internet infrastructure is always questionable with these things, so I’ll just have to see.

Best of luck to everyone exploring the new content; I wish you agility leather drops and oodles of Lei Shen keys!

 Posted by at 2:20 pm
Mar 042013
 

(I can’t help it, I just like writing it that way. Very metal.)

Greetings fellow Druids! I’ve compiled a brief review of the important changes dropping tomorrow, along with links with more detailed information for each spec.

General

  • To get to the new island with the dailies/raid instance, you take a quest from the Shado-Pan Offensive camp in Townlong Steppes. Subsequent trips are via a portal in the same location. You must have completed the 5.1 intro questline, Landfall, to receive the Thunder Calls quests.
  • Two new factions are being added with VP gear; the Shado-Pan Assault (rep gained by raiding) and the Kirin Tor/Sunreavers (rep gained by dailies).
    • SP Assault gear is all ilvl 522, and costs from 1250-2250 VP. Neckpieces are available at neutral; trinkets, wrists and rings  at friendly; cloaks, legs and hands at honored; chest and waist at revered; and shoulders at exalted. As of right now, it is not known how much rep is granted per boss (or from trash), but a blue post has stated that “a single boss kill should get you mostly to Friendly.” Bosses can only be killed once a week for rep, in any difficulty.
    • Kirin Tor/Sunreavers provide ilvl 476 belts at Honored, ilvl 496 cloaks at Revered, and ilvl 496 rings at Exalted. The 476 gear costs a small amount of gold; the 496 gear will cost VP, presumably at the same price as 5.1 VP gear. Icy Veins has an awesome guide to all the new dailies and stuff to do on the Isle of Thunder, so I won’t recap that here.
  • Apart from the new raid, there’s two new world bosses that drop ilvl 522 gear. Nalak is roughly equivalent to the Sha of Anger; however, he will not be unlocked “until Lei Shen is defeated.” (It’s unknown whether that means progression in the server-wide daily events, or raid progression.) Oondasta is found on the Isle of Giants, and is reportedly very difficult; that said, the new Tap-to-Faction system means you can grab a ton of people (multiple raids) and just zerg him down, presumably.
  • Throne of Thunder gear that goes unused can be DE’d and will reward one Haunting Spirit per item. New crafted ilvl 522 boots and helms are available that require 6 and 8 Haunting Spirits, respectively.
  • The 5.2 legendary questline will require 40 Trillium Bars (buy them now if you can), 20 Secrets of the Empire (aka Sigils of Power), exalted with Wrathion (kill stuff on the Isle of Thunder), and 12 Titan Runestones (aka Sigils of Wisdom). It will reward a very strong metagem that will replace your current meta. The Eye of the Black Prince from the 5.1 legendary questline can be repurchased and used on 5.2 weapons to add an additional socket.
  • All the old VP gear was reduced in price (5.0 by 50%, 5.1 by 25%), which will help considerably in getting alts geared for Throne LFR (ilvl 480 requirement).
  • Item upgrading is going away, so today’s the last chance. (That said, it’s likely best to hold on to your VP at this point to buy new gear.) Ask Mr Robot’s Item Optimizer is now updated for 5.2, so go check them out if you’re unsure. (Actually, go check them out anyway, they rock.)

For all the other stuff (pet battles, profession changes, etc) go check out MMO-Champion.

Class Changes

All Specs

  • Talent Changes:
    • Displacer Beast no longer Prowls and now adds a speed boost Still not much of a use case for PvE compared to Wild Charge, but I’m happy to be proven wrong.
    • Cenarion Ward was doubled in effectiveness. It’s now the highest throughput healing ability, but least bursty. Try it and see what you think; overall, I think Feral will like it, but that’s about all (Guardians prefer burst healing CD’s for oops moments; Restos already have a strong HoT; Balance loses a lot of DPS from healing every 30s).
    • Faerie Swarm can snare multiple targets, and Mass Entanglement/Typhoon were both set to 30s CD’s. Not much PvE impact.
    • Force of Nature and Soul of the Forest were both buffed; more on those in the spec-specific sections.
    • Nature’s Vigil’s damage boost was reduced to 10% and the CD reduced to 90s from 3 minutes. Mostly a PvP nerf to prevent lining NV up with Incarnation, but a slight PvE nerf as well. One interesting caveat; since NV lasts 30s and has a 90s CD, you have a 33% uptime on the single-target healing effect. If we assume 100k DPS, that averages out to 0.25*0.33 = 8.3k HPS sustained, which is something like 20-25% of a full-time healer.
  • Symbiosis nerfs: Dispersion CD was increased to 3 minutes, and Shattering Blow received a 1.5 second cast time. Both abilities are still useful in the appropriate spots, but SB should definitely only be used for 25′s now.
  • Revive and Mark of the Wild was reduced in cost significantly, which is nice. No more having to drink after rezzing one person as Feral, or drinking after changing specs so you can rebuff.

Feral

Yeah, you knew this spec was going first, right? :) Really, very little has changed for 5.2 mechanically.

  • The biggest changes are obviously gear and stat weight-related. I’ve written up a whole ‘nother page for 5.2 gear questions, so go there. Stat weights, PvP gear, set bonuses, trinkets – gear page. I’ve also updated the general Feral guide for 5.2. As always, ask specific questions on the forums, or go here for boss-specific discussion.
  • Rip was buffed by 15%. Rotationally, this won’t change anything significant, you’re still prioritizing SR uptime.
  • Cyclone now has a 20 second cooldown (yes, this is only for Feral). PvP change.
  • The NV change means NV+Incarnation+Berserk is no longer super-awesome-good burst DPS every 3 minutes (just super-good burst DPS). Most ferals weren’t taking NV anyway, so not much of a loss there.
  • Wrath damage was buffed by 9%, which in turn increases the damage of Heart of the Wild Wrath-spam; I’ll have to take a look at it to see if it’s worth incorporating in a standard rotation or not.

Balance

  • Wrath, Starfire, and Starsurge were all buffed by 9%. Enjoy.
  • Force of Nature was buffed, so it’s now on par with Incarnation for DPS. SOTF was also buffed a bit, but is inferior to the other two talents.
  • Make sure to check out Hamlet’s Balance thread on EJ for more specific info and discussion of trinket effects, etc.

Restoration

  • 10% healing increase across the board AND Rejuvenation’s mana cost was reduced by 9%. Yay buffs!
  • Wild Mushrooms now store 25% of the overhealing done by Rejuv (up to 33% of the casting Druid’s health), and release it as a smartheal when popped. This makes them much more useful, but placement will be critical. Teach your raiders to get friendly with some fungi.
  • The SOTF and FoN buffs are nice, but I’d still recommend Incarnation. With the NV nerf, it’s probably best to go with HOTW.
  • Jasyla has a much better breakdown of the 5.2 changes on her blog Cannot be Tamed, and also has a 5.2 resto gear list. Dayani’s also got some good Throne healing tips at Healiocentric.

Guardian

  • Frenzied Regeneration and Tooth and Claw got a 10% buff. Yay buffs! (again!)
  • Mastery was buffed; still not as good a choice as Crit (for RPS) or Dodge (for damage reduction).
  • FoN isn’t terrible now, but they can’t taunt bosses, which limits their effectiveness. Stick with Incarnation and Nature’s Vigil (the cooldown reduction is HUGE for Guardians).
  • Some of the feral PvP set bonuses now have Guardian bonuses too, for you crazy types who do BG’s as Guardian.
  • Arielle has a roundup post going up later today on The Inconspicuous Bear; until then, check out his guardian guide, which has been updated for 5.2.

If you find anything else that’s interesting, drop it in the comments!