Apr 102012
 

I need to take the time to flesh this into a full post, but here’s a quick outline as to what I’m seeing so far.

Like:
-Wild Charge and Ursol’s Vortex are both great and fun to use, though probably OP.
-Healing/Ranged spells are much more effective, though mana-limited. Tossing a few Wraths or Healing Touches as feral is cool.
-The glyph redesign nails the design intent (fun, not mandatory) very well (though the Glyph of Cat Form with its +20% healing received is too strong as-is).

Maybe:
-Now that there’s an ability that can remove bleeds (Monk Detox), Rip needs some form of dispel protection; ideally, an ability that scales in effectiveness based on the number of CP’s Rip was applied with. I’m not a PvP’er at all, so I have no idea if this would work or not, but I like the idea of 1-2 ticks of damage being instantly applied if it’s dispelled. For that matter, Savage Roar needs something similar, I’ve made this point before, but having an expensive effect removed by a less expensive effect sucks. Now, if dispels end up being very expensive, that’s a different story.
-With Disentanglement and Wild Charge, our uptime (PvP) will be significantly increased, which means our burst damage will go down quite a bit. Depending on how strong/expensive healing is in Mists, that could either be good or bad.

Dislike:
-Reversion of SR from 70% white damage to 30% all damage, making it much more important + significantly decreased crit chance + no free Ravages = more difficult rotation. FB mostly eliminated from rotation except during Berserk. It won’t be as bad as it was in WOTLK (no Mangle debuff to keep up, Rake 15sec baseline) but it subverts Cataclysm’s design intent of “make the feral rotation less punishing.”
-The above + generally increased white damage overall means a much greater DPS penalty from pausing your rotation as damage profiles will shift away from DoTs.So, why brez/clone/do all that other fun hybrid stuff we’re encouraging druids to do? Let’s not even talk about how fun target changes are going to be (though Symbiosis-ing with a rogue/lock might counteract that to a degree).

Apr 072012
 

FAQ:

  • Melee hit/exp cap for level 90 Mists of Pandaria characters is 2550 (7.5%) for raid/level 93 bosses, 2040 (6%) for 5-man heroic/level 92 bosses. The PvP hit/exp cap is 3%, or 1020.
  • Dual wield hit cap for level 90 Mists of Pandaria characters is 9180(27%) for raid/level 93 bosses, 8500. (25%) for 5-man heroic/level 92 bosses.
  • Spell hit cap for level 90 Mists of Pandaria characters is 5100 (15%) for raid/level 93 bosses, 4080 (12%) for 5-man heroic/level 92 bosses.
  • Racials: Draenei get a free 1% hit for all weapons. Certain races get a free 1% expertise for certain weapons.
  • The whole odd Expertise/Expertise Rating thing is gone, it works just like Hit now.
  • Pets fully inherit your hit/exp ratings and combine them to get their ratings. This means if you have 15% hit and 0% exp (warlocks), a melee pet will still be hit/exp capped.

EDIT: Since this is apparently a popular search result page, I’ve gone back and updated this table with the correct numbers for Level 90; in early beta, all the combat ratings were higher, but were reduced by about 15% across the board.

Remember, these stats are before diminishing returns: See Theck if you want more DR math than your head can handle. The general TLDR idea fir tanks is stack avoidance stats for best overall survivability but more RNG; stack offensive stats for more control over your active mitigation but slightly more total damage taken.

85 (1% Gain) 90 (1% Gain) Stat
265.08 885 Dodge
265.08 885 Parry
88.36 295 Block
102.45 340 Hit/Spell Hit
102.45 340 Expertise
128.06 425 Haste
179.28 600 Crit
179.28 600 Mastery (but varies for some specs)
322.58 1259.52 Agility needed for 1% crit
648.91 2533.66 Intellect needed for 1% crit
243.58 951.15 Agility needed for 1% dodge (druids/monks), Strength needed for 1% parry (paladin/warrior/DK)
95.22 310 PvP Resilience
N/A 265 PvP Power (note: PvPP is half as effective for heals, so 530 for +1% healing done)
  • Boss armor at 93: 24835

If I’m incorrect/missing something, let me know.

 Posted by at 4:32 pm
Mar 242012
 

Even though leveling isn’t really in the beta yet, several people have combed through the datamined info and created a rough idea of what Symbiosis currently looks like. Thanks to Mihir, Ristaccia, and Starfyre for the original work. I’ve got some more detailed analysis coming in this Sunday’s column on WoW Insider, but suffice it to say that you’re going to have to pick between what’s best for you vs. what’s best for your raid.

Granted Abilities

Death Knight
Blood - Survival Instincts
Frost / Unholy - Wild Mushroom: Plague

Hunter
Dash

Mage
Healing Touch

Monk
Brewmaster - Growl
Windwalker - Berserk
Mistwalker - Entangling Roots

Paladin
Holy - Rebirth
Retribution - Tiger’s Fury
Protection - Might of Ursoc

Priest
Discipline / Holy - Tranquility
Shadow - Cyclone

Rogue
Barkskin

Shaman
Elemental / Enhancement - Solar Beam
Resto - Prowl

Warlock
Rejuvenation

Warrior
Arms / Fury - Enrage
Protection - Frenzied Regeneration

Gained Abilities

Balance
Death Knight - Chains of Ice
Hunter - Misdirection
Mage - Mirror Image
Monk - to be announced
Paladin - Hammer of Justice
Priest - Mass Dispel
Rogue - Smoke Bomb
Shaman - Purge
Warlock - Soulshatter
Warrior - Recklessness

Feral
Death Knight - Unholy Frenzy
Hunter - Play Dead
Mage - Frost Nova
Monk - to be announced
Paladin - Divine Shield
Priest - Dispersion
Rogue - Redirect
Shaman - Feral Spirit
Warlock - Soul Swap
Warrior - Shattering Blow

Guardian
Death Knight - Icebound Fortitude
Hunter - Ice Trap
Mage - Mage Ward
Monk - to be announced
Paladin - Consecration
Priest - Fear Ward
Rogue - Evasion
Shaman - Lightning Shield
Warlock - Twilight Ward
Warrior - Spell Reflection

Resto
Death Knight - Anti-Magic Shell
Hunter - Deterrence
Mage - Ice Block
Monk - to be announced
Paladin - Hand of Sacrifice
Priest - Leap of Faith
Rogue - Cloak of Shadows
Shaman - Spiritwalker’s Grace
Warlock - Demonic Circle: Teleport
Warrior - Intimidating Roar

 

 

Mar 222012
 

So, I was totally wrong about the timing of the beta…it’s out now. No access for me, sadly (though I do have the client DL’ed) but MMOC has put up a database, which I’ll be mining in the next few days for infos.

(Remember, totally datamined from an early beta and I’m half asleep, so recommend saving rage; go look things up on MMOC yourself. I’ll be looking at tooltips for abilities and things later.)

New Glyphs:

Glyph of Amberskin Protection
Reduces the chance you’ll be critically hit by 25% while Barkskin is active.

Glyph of Cat Form
Increases healing done to you by 20% while in Cat Form.

Glyph of Claw
Your Claw and Mangle (Cat) attacks reduce the movement speed of the target by 50% for 12 sec.

Glyph of Cyclone
Increases the range of your Cyclone spell by 4 yards.

Glyph of Fae Silence
Faerie Fire used in Bear Form also silences the target for 3 sec, but triggers a 15 sec cooldown.

Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration
While Frenzied Regeneration is active healing effects on you are 40% more powerful, but causes your Frenzied Regeneration to cost 60 Rage initially and no longer convert rage into health.

Glyph of Healing Touch
When you cast Healing Touch, the cooldown on your Swiftmend is reduced by 1 sec.

Glyph of Lifebloom
While not in Tree of Life Form, casting Lifebloom on a new target grants that target as many applications as the old target had. (Ed: WOOT!)

Glyph of Master Shapeshifter
Reduces the mana cost of all shapeshifts by 90%

Glyph of Might of Ursoc
Increases the health gain from Might of Ursoc by 20% (from 30% to 50%), but increases the cooldown by 2 min (from 3 min to 5 min).

Glyph of Prowl
Reduces the movement penalty of Prowl by 100%.

Glyph of Rejuvenation
While Rejuvenation is active on three or more targets, the cast time of your Nourish is reduced.

Glyph of Shred (old): baked into Rip

Glyph of Shred (new)
While Berserk or Tiger’s Fury is active, Shred and Ravage have no positional requirement.

Glyph of Stampeding Roar
Increases the radius of Stampeding Roar by 30 yards.

Glyph of Survival Instincts
Reduces the cooldown of Survival Instincts by 60 sec, but reduces its duration by 50%.

Blood in the Water: baked into Ferocious Bite

Mar 192012
 

One addendum to my thoughts on the info from the press event. Saw this blog post today, “A Night in Mists of Pandaria,” which is  flying under the radar at the moment. Bashiok describes all the stuff there will be to do in Mists, but also drops this tasty tidbit that I don’t think anyone’s covered yet:

Proving Myself

I have all of the dungeons and raids at my disposal, and now that all of the raids are supported by the Raid Finder I don’t need to wait for my guild’s raid night to get a shot at some upgrades; plus with some Charms I have a lower probability of experiencing “loot rage” with the option of a second roll. Speaking of loot rage, the change in Raid Finder to per-player loot has made running random raids so much nicer without people fighting over rolls. I really wouldn’t mind running another one tonight.

With the new Valor system, I can work toward upgrading my current gear by increasing its item level and adding on a few stats at a time. Raid Finder is an option for a little Valor from boss kills, or I could get some more from dungeons, challenges, or scenarios. Regardless of what else I have to do I could be earning Valor and improving my items, which makes scenarios, challenge modes, and dungeons a very appealing option for tonight. If I do make some gear improvements, I’ll probably want to hit the new Proving Grounds. They’re like lored-up solo instances that make trying out my rotations a lot more fun since I can chase achievements.

A slip of the word processor? Or a new feature that wasn’t supposed to be mentioned yet? Maybe in relation to this? YOU BE THE JUDGE!

 Posted by at 9:28 pm
Mar 192012
 

Lots of infos for everyone. Of course, if you want the full lowdown, go here, but here’s some tidbits that I found interesting.

Glyphs

Lots of fun new glyphs! From wowhead:

  • Glyph of Stars: Moonkin Form ability is replaced with Astral Form, conferring all the same benefits, but now appearing as an astrally enchanted version of your normal humanoid form.
  • Glyph of the Chameleon: Each time you shapeshift into Cat Form or Bear Form, your shapeshifted form will have a random hair color.
  • Glyph of the Orca: Your Aquatic Form now appears as an Orca.
  • Glyph of the Stag: Your Travel Form now appears as a Stag and can be used as a mount by party members.
  • Glyph of the Treant: Allows you to shapeshift into Treant Form. The act of shapeshifting frees the caster of movement slowing effects.
  • The Moonbeast: You can now cast Healing Touch, Rejuvenation, and Tranquility without canceling Moonkin Form.

Yes, resto druids get tree form back, maybe everybody will be happy now! As someone who’s not overly concerned with how the game looks, I’m not really for or against these, but the idea of getting mounted is cool, I guess? Obviously, Moonbeast has some utility. Note that all the Prime glyphs are going away, so take that into account when you’re thinking about how the game will play out in Mists; some of the commonly-used glyphs will get baked into the abilities, but some will not.

Challenge Modes/Scenarios
I’m very surprised WoW hasn’t integrated any of the functionality of WoW-Progress/GuildOx to this point, but this is a shot across that bow. There’s a huge audience for competitive PvE (hence the proliferation of third-party guides/etc), much much larger than exists for PvP. Also, it keeps 5-man content in-play long after it’s been made obsolete by the patch cycle. Genius move. In contrast, I’m somewhat disappointed in the scenarios. I understand the rationale for them (hard to get groups for group quests) but there was always that fun feeling of coming back after you’d leveled a bit and smashing it yourself, which this probably eliminates.

 

Pet Battles
Not much to say here, but over/under on the amount of time before the optimal pet setup is theorycrafted? Also, “stats can be random when you catch the pets.” Does that mean you can release and recatch?

 

Monks
I’m fascinated by the Monk class and how the mechanics will turn out. Windwalkers look a lot like cats, but one of the big differences (so far) is that chi is not target-specific. That’s huge for target switching.  Also, it’s odd that several of the abilities do more damage at range then at melee. Energizing Wine is a mostly-carbon-copy of Tiger’s Fury (cough). Muscle Memory is going to make balancing (and stat weights) hell. Tigereye Brandy feels like cheating. For Mistweavers, Revival IS cheating. as is Surging Mists. Stagger looks horribly OP for Brewmasters; if it stays like that, I don’t see how you’d want any other tanks in a burst situation. I wouldn’t get too excited over all of these; consider these abilities a wish-list of what the class designer wants pre-balancing.

 

Raids
I know this is a horrendous oversimplification, but what raiding tiers are generally considered successes in WoW’s “modern era,” AKA Wrath? I’d say Ulduar, ICC,  the BWD/BoT duo, and maybe Naxx (too easy for many, but an excellent raiding introduction). Number of bosses in these raids? 14, 12, 11, and 15. Number of bosses in the less successful raiding tiers, such as TotC, FL, and DS? 5, 7, and 8. Quantity has a quality all its own, I reckon, and thus I’m very excited to see 14 bosses planned for the first tier of Mists.

 

From Tom Chilton, paraphrased: “Spine of Deathwing is the most epic concept we’ve ever gone after for an encounter, but I wouldn’t say it was the most interesting…” Heh.

 

The individualized rolls is great, though I predict lots of ‘rigged!’ I hope they consider this for normal-mode raiding as well, especially for 10-mans who can frequently be imbalanced in terms of gear demand.

 

VP’s being using as an augment instead of as a gear source? Hmm. I like it. Raiders can supplement gearing holes by boosting heroic pieces; those who stick to 5-mans have longer until they can’t improve anymore. Sounds good, as long as VP’s remain relatively scarce (ie they better keep a good weekly cap on it, like they do now, else you’ll get more burnouts).

 

Bonus raid rolls for doing dailies? Yes, please, but can we make the dailies less…daily? Weekly would be good.

 

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for now. Definitely browse around and read some of the interviews; I really feel that they “get it” a lot more for this expansion pack then they did for Cataclysm.

 

Oh, and I’m going to be pessimistic and say that open beta will not start until late June/July. Less a matter of “is the beta ready?” and more a matter of “will the beta draw players and attention away from Diablo 3?”
 Posted by at 8:47 pm
Mar 182012
 

Briefly, here’s what I’m predicting we’ll see come out of the press event. (Note: Yeah, I contribute for WoW Insider, who had two people there, but they haven’t told me anything. Despite attempted bribery via baked goods.)

  • A big focus on the Pandaren starting zone and the new 85-90 zones. Lots of videos showing off updated animations, high-res screenshots to really sell the Asian theme, etc. A bunch of stuff about the new dungeons and the dungeon revamps as well. The male pandaren model already got lots of attention during Blizzcon, so you’ll see it, but more emphasis will be placed on the new female model.
  • Lots of info about new grouping features. Challenge modes will be highly talked up as the “new heroics.” Lots of attention as to what you can get here. (Quietly,  the previous normal/heroic difficulties now have nothing to do with difficulty. Normal mode is what you do on-level; heroic mode is what you do at 85, but they’re both 4.3 5-man difficulty.) Also, much more about scenarios, which are designed to be even easier and shorter versions of group content. (Dear reader, if you think things are already too easy…well, I agree, but you and I are not the target audience here.)
  • More on pet battles. My first reaction to hearing about pet battles was, of course, “PokeWoW yay” but I could see it being mildly interesting. I’m probably overly down on the ides; I’m sure there’s some good strategy to be had in Pokemon, somewhere, I’ve just never been able to stick with one of the games long enough to see it. (Now, a Pokemon/MTG hybrid, where you get a “deck” of pets from which X number is randomly drawn for the battle,  would be something.)  I’m assuming there will be some form of quickmatch/queue type system.
  • New battlegrounds and raids. Goes without saying.
  • No major mechanics news. Nothing about raid size changes, dailies, very little about class changes (unless it can be spun in an unabashedly positive light). Basically, if it’s controversial at all, you won’t see it here. This is a hype event and they don’t want anything detracting from that.

We’ll see; remember, all the goodies will go live at 12AM PDT. If you want the straight data dump, I’m pretty sure Wowhead will cover you; WoWI will probably have more bite-size pieces along with analysis. I’m not really paying attention; still messing around with the SWTOR free weekend. I’ll throw up my thoughts on that after all the press news settles.

 

 

 Posted by at 4:34 pm  Tagged with:
Mar 072012
 

While this isn’t specifically Druid-related, I’d like to highlight the two Cataclysm postmortems that just came out from senior Blizzard developers that are incredibly illustrative.

The first, Daelo’s, is absolutely TERRIBLE. It was very short and read like Cataclysm promo material. “My greatest weakness? I care about work just a bit too much. *snif*” It reads like he just blew off the email from the CM’s asking him to fill this out, and some junior intern got stuck with it. “Mr. Mercer, how does this look? Fine. Go away.”

In contrast, Ghostcrawler’s is absolutely excellent, and reminds me of why I keep coming back to this now seven-year-old game. It’s chock-full of honest discussion about what worked and didn’t work. So go read it. I agree with 90% of what’s there; the only thing I disagree on is legendaries, and even that remains TBD. Personally, I think legendaries should go away entirely, but if they must be kept, I’d like to see the legendary crafting materials/progress be guild-bound and the proc be one that buffs raid DPS/DTPS/HPS, not personal. That way, when the next content tier comes out, you take a small personal hit if you keep using it but it still buffs your raid more than the amount you lose.

(Back to ME3. /poof)

 Posted by at 10:16 pm  Tagged with:
Mar 042012
 

Some quick notes about the stat changes announced in the latest Dev Watercooler. (This “work” thing that adults do sucks. I’m in a ‘write, play, sleep; pick two’ situation right now.)

Spell Resistance

  • Spell resistance is gone. There are no buffs that improve it and there shouldn’t be much, if any, spell resist gear left. We always thought the system was hard to understand and we weren’t getting much gameplay out of it. Now taking a step back, we can imagine how to develop a game where you’d want various forms of resist gear for certain situations and opponents. Resist gear could potentially be interesting, but it isn’t currently in World of Warcraft — the game has just been moving away from that sort of thing for years.
  • In the absence of spell resistance, there is no need for spell penetration on gear, so we’ll remove it as well.

I’m mostly in favor of this, but I think it makes the game less interesting for tanks. There’s been several bosses where it was necessary to juggle magical mitigation with physical mitigation, which led to some hard choices (Heroic Sindragosa springs immediately to mind). I’m usually in favor of simplifying uninteresting mechanics, but I’m not sure this one was uninteresting. If anything, I’d have liked to see all the schools collapsed into a single “Magic Resistance” stat that didn’t function in PvP (because, yes, Spell Penetration was dumb.)

Hit and Expertise

  • We still think having stats that can be capped is a good game design. Rather than focusing solely on stacking your best stat, you have to decide how valuable it is to hit your target before you go back to stacking your best stat. However, we are making some changes.
  • Hit and spell hit will no longer be separate stats. The hit stat negates melee miss and spell miss.
  • Expertise will negate dodge and spell miss, then parry.
  • Expertise will be listed as a percentage, just like hit, instead of having an intermediary stat.
  • We are normalizing hit with expertise, so that 1% of each stat will require the same amount of rating.
  • We are normalizing melee and spell hit, so that spell miss is equal to melee miss plus dodge.
    • Against an equal level creature: 6% spell miss, 3% melee miss, 3% dodge, 3% parry (from the front only), 3% block (from the front only).
    • Against a +1 level creature: 9% spell miss, 4.5% melee miss, 4.5% dodge, 4.5% parry (from the front only), 4.5% Block (from the front only).
    • Against a +2 level creature: 12% spell miss, 6% melee miss, 6% dodge, 6% parry (from the front only), 6% Block (from the front only).
    • Against a +3/boss level creature: 15% spell miss, 7.5% melee miss, 7.5% dodge, 7.5% parry (from the front only), 7.5% block (from the front only).
    • Ranged attacks will be able to be dodged. Hunters will benefit from expertise and will have it on their gear, which will also allow hunters and Enhancement shaman to share gear more easily.

I like these changes. Essentially, they listened to my rant a little while ago about how it wasn’t fair that bosses could dodge melee attacks but not spells. :) Actually, I think that’d make even more sense from an intuitive perspective; make spell and melee miss the same, but make dodge apply to spells as well. Of course, that probably breaks other stuff I’m not thinking about right now.

Block

  •  The chance to block will be handled by a separate combat roll for each attack that is not avoided. In other words, we first determine if an attack misses, or is dodged or parried. If it is not, then the attack has a chance to be blocked.
  • This gives block a consistent value, regardless of avoidance. Currently block becomes more valuable the more you have.
  • Block will also have diminishing returns, much like dodge and parry. This doesn’t mean that the value of block will go down as you get more block. It means that it won’t go up by as much when you get more block.
  • We don’t expect Protection warriors or paladins to get “block capped” other than during temporary effects, such as mastery procs on trinkets. Block tanks will be balanced around this change. Our intent is to make playing block tanks more fun, not to nerf them.
  • Also notice how Shield Block and Shield of the Righteous have changed in Mists.

While I don’t think this change accomplishes what it says it’s going to (Theck has extensively discussed how changing to a two-roll system couples block to avoidance, and I won’t rehash that here), I’m not actively opposed to it. I do want to see how this affects masteries, however. If bullet 2 above read “This enables us to better balance tank mitigation for block and non-block tanks,” I’d have no problem with it. Really, the block problem wasn’t the implementation, it was the overly generous mastery scaling that allowed for capping. I’m not really seeing a change here; if wars/pals can get block capped with a trinket proc, then that better mean “in the last tier of heroic gear,” or they’ll just be capping again.

Criticals

  • All spells and abilities will crit for double damage, baseline. There are a few exceptions where crits can get larger, but the default is x 2.0 for everyone.
  • This means that Enhancement shaman spells and rogue poisons will crit for double damage. Rogue poisons will also use the melee hit chance.

No complaints.

Resilience

  •  We are renaming this stat to “Defense (PvP)” or possibly “PvP Defense.” All players will have 30% base Defense, the same way all characters have some base Stamina.
  • PvP gear will have Defense on it, as well as a new stat, “Power (PvP).” Power increases the damage you do to other players as well as the healing you do to other players in PvP situations.
  •  If you have a lot of Power, you’ll do more damage to other players, but they likely have Defense as well. If you fight players in lots of PvE gear, they’ll take more damage. Likewise, a player in PvE gear won’t have enough Power to effectively penetrate your Defense.
  • The names PvP Power and PvP Defense may not be final, but we’re leaning towards going with stat names that are obviously PvP-related, rather than “fluffier” names that might not be as easy to grasp. We want it to be clear to players that neither Power nor Defense have any relevance when fighting creatures, such as in dungeons or raids.
  • PvP gear will be lower in item level than PvE gear of an equivalent tier, however the Power and Defense stats will make sure that PvP gear is more powerful in PvP (both offensively and defensively) than PvE gear. In our budgeting system, the PvP stats will be free rather than causing other stats, such as Strength or haste, to be smaller as a result of including Power or Defense.
  • The goal of this change is to make it easier for a PvP player to participate in PvE, or for a PvE player to get started in PvP. Currently, we feel it is too large a barrier to go from one to the other, and the result has been that we see more and more players choosing to focus exclusively on only PvP or PvE. In earlier expansions, it was more feasible to use PvE gear in Arenas or Battlegrounds until you acquired the more useful PvP gear. The same was true of being able to use your PvP gear in a dungeon or raid until you acquired something better. In Cataclysm, stepping into PvP with no PvP gear would result in a player being so ineffective that it was difficult to even make progress towards acquiring PvP gear.
  • For the higher-end of PvP or PvE (say Gladiators or heroic raiders), we believe those players will still gravitate towards the dedicated PvP or PvE gear. It is the players who are working towards those two end games that will benefit more from some cross over.

Uhh….what? Can someone explain to me how bullet 3 (Players in PvE gear take more damage and do less damage, since they have less PVPP/PVPD) and 6 (We want players to be able to use their PvE gear in PvP) make any sense? Other than that, this change is mostly cosmetic, and makes gearing look very similar to SWTOR. I don’t really get the point of having two stats…why not just have the PvP stat (whatever you call it) buff both resistance and damage done? Reforging, perhaps?