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
Dec 212012
 

So, I was preparing some sparse notes, when…

Patch 5.2′s on the PTR! Changes! Discussion! Yay!

(Below is my quick parse and analysis of the changes, with the standard disclaimer that dataminers gonna datamine; don’t make it real.)

Talents

  • Displacer Beast no longer activates Prowl; instead increases the Druid’s movement speed for 4 seconds. (Well, THAT’s a little more useful. It’s now basically a monk roll, and the movement speed makes it useful as a PvP getaway tool for the caster druids.)
  • Cenarion Ward’s healing increased by 100%. (That just got tossed back into the discussion as a viable talent. Could be interesting if combined with DoC.)
  • Soul of the Forest‘s effect increased for Balance (post-Eclipse energy increased to 40 from 20), Guardian (3 rage from Mangle, instead of 2) and Restoration (haste buff after Swiftmend increased to 75%). (Now, I’m not as up on theorycraft for the non-feral specs, but the balance one seems pretty strong at first glance, especially because Incarnation is losing a bit of value due to the NV change. The rage buff for Guardians is still pretty crap, since most rage comes from autoattacks/crits. Resto…meh, depending on how much it boosts WG throughput.)
  • Mass Entanglement cooldown reduced from 2 minutes to 30 seconds. (RBG options just got a bit more interesting.)
  • Typhoon cooldown increased from 20 seconds to 30 seconds. (See above.)
  • Nature’s Vigil now increases damage/healing by 10% (was 20%) but has a 90s CD (was 180s). 25% off-healing/off-damage buff is unchanged.(This is interesting. DPS/PvP druids will dislike this because the value of the Incarnation+NV combo is diminished. From a off-healing (or off-damage) POV, though, you now get 33% uptime on the 25% buff, instead of 16.66%. That has a few potential applications.)

Bears (Ask @riftmaker, not me)

  • Thrash removed from Balance/Restoration Druids in Bear Form. (Shrug.)
  • Initial mastery bonus (+armor) increased from 10% to 12%. (No clue if they’re increasing scaling as well. If not, it’s just a small armor buff. If they are, mastery probably jumps to the front of the pack for hard-mode bears.)
  • The heal from Frenzied Regeneration increased by 20%. (I’ll let Arielle handle this one, since I know nothing about how well bears are scaling right now.)

Last but not least: MOTW and Revive got their mana costs slashed. Hurray for rebuffing in combat (and being able to rez two people back-to-back for non-resto!) Anything I missed?

(Oh, and one of these days I’m going to go update the Feral guide on the site/WoW forums. May proceed faster if cookies are submitted, just an FYI.)

UPDATE: Official (draft) notes posted. Things the datamine missed/got wrong:

  • Cyclone now has a 30 second cooldown and shares DR with a lot of stuff. (Have to think about this one; more later.)
  • Symbiosis Shattering Blow now has a cast time.
  • Mastery does now scale better, which does make mastery the god stat for bears.
  • Rejuv gets a 9% mana cost reduction, which should help Resto out.
  • Faerie Swarm now can be placed on multiple targets.
  • Force of Nature treants buffed (to an unknown degree, will have to look at this more closely).
Nov 282012
 

The only significant Druid change in patch 5.1 is the addition of Empowered Maul for Guardians, which Arielle over at TIB has already covered extensively, and Symbiosis buffs coming back for tanks. (All the ability “changes” are just tooltip fixes.)

So, instead of blathering, check this out (h/t Sunfyre for finding this). Treant Form + Fire = TOASTY! (someone needs to check if this works, that’d take this past awesome to hell yeah)

 Posted by at 1:44 am
Oct 142012
 

My column discussing the Heart of the Wild and Symbiosis hotfixes is live over at WoW Insider. Personally, I was hoping for more discussion about HoTW, but everyone still wants to complain about Symbiosis. :) If you haven’t had a chance to try super-saiyan-Wrath-spam (or the inverse, for your normal spell-flingers) you’ve got until maintenance on Tuesday to try it. After that, you can still do it, but it won’t be a DPS increase over your standard rotation (assuming the numbers work out). There’s a huge discussion about it going in the forums too.

Speaking of Symbiosis, I’d like to compile a list of good uses for Symbiosis per encounter (thinking a list for Challenge Modes and raids). Also, some generalized recommendations for PvP would be helpful. I’ve started up a thread in the forums to discuss it, so post your thoughts here or there.

 Posted by at 11:53 pm
Sep 282012
 

(xposted on TFD and WoM)

So, the good news is I got two weeks off of work. The bad news is that it wasn’t to play WoW, it was because my wife is in the hospital again. :( Thankfully, since I have no plans to raid at the moment, I’m not under any social pressure, but man. Talk about your funsuckers.

Some quick-hit thoughts from the limited time I did have to play (RAF’d the monk to 80, working through Cataclysm content now):

  • I made a last-minute decision to play my Monk as my “questing” toon, and my Druid as my “dungeon” toon. So, Alamonk (creative, no?) will knock down all the story segments, and Alaron will relearn how to play all the non-feral specs in a group setting again. :)
  • So far, the monk’s been as fun as I expected from the beta, though windwalker remains kinda eh. It works, don’t get me wrong, but it’s still missing something. I’ll have to think on it a bit more. In contrast, Brewmaster is crazy good. I did a couple of Stonecore runs just for kicks, and the whole “manuever to pick up Gift of the Ox” orbs thing is pretty entertaining, especially when you’re AoEing so you get 10-12 lying everywhere. I wish picking them up would be a little more responsive, though.
  • Feral’s pretty fun, but I still don’t like having to SR “before” every questing pull. I’m still going Ravage/Rake/dammitSR.

Once I get to 90, I’ll likely be working on some Ovale scripts for monks, and tweaking all my guides. Anyway, what are your impressions so far?

 Posted by at 4:28 pm
Aug 312012
 
AKA 5.0.5. It may go to live realms or they may go a few more builds/weeks before updating the live client, not sure which.
MMO-C changes:
  • Hurricane base damage increased by 27% and SP scaling increased by 7%.
  • Swipe now does 400% weapon damage, up from 375%.
  • Thrash damage increased by 7%.

Talents

These are the same changes GC said he was making in his blue post (which I didn’t cover on here), so go read that for a bit more analysis. They’re trying to differentiate Solar and Lunar a bit more, and Feral just needed a straight up AoE buff. DoC was too strong for balance at 65% compared to the alternatives; 50% should be about right.

 Posted by at 5:43 am
Aug 272012
 

Patch 5.0 is coming! Of course, you’ve got my 5.0 survival guide if you’re just looking for the highlights, but several other druid bloggers have posted more detailed spec-specific stuff, which I’d like to highlight today.

  • Balance: The indomitable Lissanna has her 5.0 guide at Restokin. Team Waffle also had a Balance roundtable podcast; haven’t listened yet, but I’m pretty sure they covered everything you’d need to know.
  • Guardian: Arielle wrote a book (aka 7 forum posts) on prepping for 5.0 over at TIB.
  • Feral: *crickets* (Go read my forums or the official forums…if any other feral discussion is going on anywhere, I’d love to know.)
  • Resto: Beru’s got a 5.0 Resto FAQ at Falling Leaves and Wings.
 Posted by at 10:51 am
Aug 072012
 

I’m continuing work on my druid guide for Mists of Pandaria. I’ve completed the introduction; here’s an excerpt. (The full page is here.) I’d love to hear any feedback you have!


If you’re here, you’re thinking about starting up a druid in World of Warcraft. That’s an excellent choice! (Admittedly, I’m biased.) On this page, I’ve got a brief introduction into, well, playing a druid. If you’re looking for more detail on a certain druid specialization, I’ve got separate guides for those, which will follow shortly.

What’s a Druid, anyway?

Well, in real life, druids were a religious group that existed in Britain over 2000 years ago. In WoW, though, druids are those who seek to preserve and protect natural life; from their studies, they learn how to draw on nature’s power to perform many great feats. Druids are most iconic for their shapeshifting abilities, which are unmatched. (See this excellent wowpedia  article for more about druid lore and story; the rest of this page will focus on gameplay elements.)

So, what’s this shapeshifting thing?

Druids have several animal forms they can assume at will in order to accomplish their goals. There are six forms that are open to all specializations: BearCatStag/CheetahSeal/OrcaBird, and Treant. (Two of those have options via glyphs, hence the slash.) Two more are open to certain specializations (Tree of LifeMoonkin/Astral), which gives us over 10 different options for “Poof! Now I’m a …”

Whoa, wait. Specializations?

At level 10, each character class must pick a specialization, or subclass. This choice determines what role your character will play in group combat (healing, tanking, ranged damage or melee damage) as well as what abilities are available to you. Druids have four specialization options:

  • Balance: Uses a mix of Arcane and Nature magic to destroy foes from a distance. Also known as “moonkin,” which is their iconic form. Ranged damage spellcaster.
  • Feral: Becomes a panther or lion (depending on race) to destroy foes at close range. Often called simply “cat spec.” Melee damage dealer.
  • Guardian: Becomes a large bear to absorb enemy attacks and protect others. New in Mists of Pandaria (previously, both roles were integrated into Feral). Melee tank.
  • Restoration: Uses Nature spells to heal friends. Focuses primarily on heal-over-time spells. Can temporarily assume the form of an ancient (large tree-like being) for increased healing potential. Prior to Cataclysm, healed permanently from a treant form.

Druids are the only class in the game to have four specialization options, and are thus the only class that can perform any of the game’s four roles. (All other classes have three specializations, and vary in which roles they can perform.)

Reminder, this is an excerpt. See the full page on my blog here!

 

 Posted by at 9:00 am
Jul 012012
 

My latest column is up over at WoWI on the latest changes for balance druids: Fae Empowerment and more Starsurge  procs. TLDR version: FE is decent, but it’s complicating the rotation for little benefit. (Kinda like FB for ferals back in early Wrath…you stood to gain a little or lose a lot, depending on how you timed it, and this is the same.) I like the extra Starsurge procs though, and I think both changes help smooth out the “turret” feel moonkin have.

I’ve also gone back and updated the Symbiosis page, which is now complete (yay!) though it may not be 100% accurate (boo!). If you see any mistakes, please let me know and I’ll correct them.

 Posted by at 9:06 pm
Jun 122012
 

(There ain’t much.)

So…yeah. You can now fail to reset a PvP encounter 2 minutes instead of every 3…and HOTW just became pretty mandatory for Guardians. (Think! Think! Say something else to make it long enough that you couldn’t have just covered it on Twitter!) Umm…I’m being lazy busy and waiting for level 90 premades, so I haven’t been on beta overmuch, but I have heard from a reliable source that Savage Roar is no longer dispellable as an enrage effect. If true, that + the glyph clears up one of the principle objections to the beta changes I had.

 Posted by at 11:54 pm