Jun 062012
 

(I know, I know, old news, but I’m catching up.) Hit up the modelviewer as well, since the human model doesn’t really do it justice. I definitely like it better than any of the Cataclysm sets, that’s for sure. Looks like there’s three different accent colors (theoretically, for feral/guardian, resto, and balance) and unfortunately, the agi specs will probably get stuck with the red accents, which I definitely dislike compared to the brown/green. This may even put me off vainly trying to find groups to do 25m Naxx for T7.5, which is the best-looking set currently available (IMO).

Jun 042012
 

So, I took a week off from blogging/WoW to play Diablo 3…and then things went crazy in real life. Yeowch. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but my wife had to be hospitalized, and what was supposed to be a short stay ended up taking over a week. I’ve barely even touched a computer in the past ten days or so, but will slowly be catching up with stuff (and writing about it!) over the next few weeks.

…if I’m not playing Xenoblade Chronicles. Damn friends and their capacity to pick great games to tempt me with. :) I’ve sunk about 50 hours into D3, enough to level a barbarian to 60 and get through Hell Diablo, and Inferno just really isn’t that appealing to me.

 Posted by at 11:35 pm
May 182012
 

So, I’ve been busy with another threequel, (*barbarians are awesome*) but I just got a tip that MMO-Champion says feral’s losing rip. This build’s datamine only at this point, not live, but judging by the datamine tooltip, I’m calling BS on that summary. My guess is that the old rip is now baseline to all non-feral spec and feral spec got a new, harder-hitting rip.

Of course, we’ll see whenever the new build goes up. In the meantime, what I find much more interesting is that Ghostcrawler mentioned IS might come back for balance, in some fashion. Looking forward to it; balance needs something to complicate the rotation a little, as it’s been simplified quite a bit.

 Posted by at 1:29 am
May 142012
 

This week for my Shifting Perspectives WoWI column, I went into a little more detail about the level 90 talents, and also got a bit creative. (I start the column with a parody of Isaiah Mustafa and end with a Biblical allusion…how’s that?) I wrote the column before this weekend’s patch, but those changes didn’t alter any of my conclusions. Go take a look; as always, comment here or there, but I’m much more likely to respond here.

 Posted by at 12:01 am
May 122012
 

First, because everyone liked the armored cats and wanted to see the armored bears…

(MMO-C only posted the horde versions. Dunno, looks like a porcupine with taillights to me.)

The latest beta build also has some tweaks to the level 90 talents, as I had expected, and a few other changes.
Talents

  • Cenarion Ward now costs 14.8% of Base Mana, down from 22.4%.
  • Dream of Cenarius now proc increase healing done by your next healing spell by 70%, up from 30%. Tranquility is not affected..
  • Nature’s Vigil now increases all damage and healing done by 20% for 30 sec, down from 30%. Single target spells now damage or heal a nearby target for 25% of the damage/healing done, down from 50%.

Feral

  • Rip now has a duration increased by Ravage as well.
  • Feline Grace New: Reduces damage from falling while in Cat Form.

I’m withholding judgement on the healing tier until the final numbers pass, so I’ll let that change go for now. Dream of Cenarius now buffs healing as well, which will make resto/balance hybrid attempts somewhat workable. I dislike the design, but it could probably work for casters. Once they settle on a number, I’ll work up a balance DPS rotation and resto HPS rotation that weaves in the opposing spell to see what kind of numbers are possible. DoC is still a non-starter for feral/guardian, though, until it stops shifting us out of form. Of course, DoC won’t buff Tranquility, which I expected, and I further expect that you’ll see AoEs get excluded from the damage portion as well.

Nature’s Vigil took a nerf, which I also expected; NV was clearly better than HOTW at 30% for moonkin and feral. 20% is a good deal closer. We’ll probably need to use sims, since NV gains quite a bit of value when sync’ed with Incarnation (or Berserk, or CA). Sunfyre noted that this drops NV to a 3.3% DPS increase for balance without considering other CD’s (though I think he’s overvaluing HOTW’s passive int).   With the healing nerf, I expect no one will attempt to use it for the healing potential; it’ll just become another DPS CD that also tosses in some passive healing.

On the positive side, Ravage now also extends Rip’s duration, which was also expected (Incarnation would have felt weird, otherwise) and we got Feline Grace back, which…yay? Actually, with no flying mount in Pandaria, that may come in handy from time to time.

 Posted by at 11:44 pm
May 102012
 
580epicdruidcat

Previously, Ghostcrawler had said that Incarnation would add armored forms, and the first models for these appear to be in the game files as of the latest patch. (They are not yet actually tied to Incarnation in-game, however, so there’s a very slim possibility that this could be for something completely different.) Go check out the models using wowhead’s modelviewer, and see what you think.  Personally, I’m not a fan of adding armor to the cat form, but I understand there’s a very limited number of ways you can visually “buff” an animal avatar, so I’m okay with it. This would be cool, though. (Kidding.)

Also, Nature’s Vigil no longer works for AoE abilities, which I expected. (Sorry restoration druids, no temporarily topping the DPS charts with Tranquility.)

 Posted by at 1:43 pm
May 082012
 

While I’m going to save further comment on the reworked level 90 talents for my weekend WoW Insider column, there is one recurring argument against Heart of the Wild that I think is somewhat lacking in merit, and I’d like to discuss here. I think Cantor’s comment from my last post summarizes the argument well:

“The issue I still have with DoC and HotW is that they’re based on role-shifting, which breaks encounters. You really can’t argue that they don’t – a 10-man raid with multiple Druids essentially has additional healers or tanks on-demand in the middle of a fight, which WILL lead to stacking for world-first DPS races or healing checks and so on.”

In response to that, here’s my observations:

  • No additional numbers WoW raiding is based around numbers. No way around it. Looking at 10H Ultraxion for a second, we see the median kill attempt did 250k DPS and 85k HPS,  while the median wipe did 210k DPS and 60k HPS. (Of course, these numbers are adjusting over time to the percentage nerfs; a 210k DPS/60k HPS attempt today would probably net a kill.) HotW will let you temporarily flip some damage->healing or healing-> damage, but that doesn’t help you much if the fight has consistent damage and healing requirements; you’re better off asking healers or DPS to use their alternate spec as appropriate.
  • Long cooldown Even if HotW does prove useful, it’s a long way from “useful” to “trivializing.” The 6 minute cooldown means you’re only going to get to use it once, as the majority of encounters end up taking less time than that. A single druid using HOTW won’t trivialize anything. Now, if the soft enrage ala Beth’tilac comes back into fashion, than there’s a theoretical potential to stack resto druids, have them use HotW early when healing requirements are low, then heal normally when incoming damage gets high, for example. You lose buff coverage by doing that, however, which makes it an unlikely scenario for most guilds who don’t have extra alts of each class ready to go, and the overall impact is pretty blunted. Sure, if we have more Spine-type fights (ugh), that’s one thing, but I think we’re done with those for a while.
  • Healing requirements higher for MoP The majority of the DPS classes have talents  that add some passive healing. Think that’s not going to be balanced around? Think again. Top that off with healer mana pools no longer scaling with Intellect, and my guess is you’re not going to see nearly as many fights where you can run healer-short and succeed.

Long story short? Yeah, it wouldn’t surprise me to see one fight where HotW is a large help, and a few more where it’s a smaller help. There may be some guilds who stack druids, but just like all the things that get blown out of proportion on the forums, it won’t be that big of a deal overall. Player skill will still be the defining characteristic of raid progression, not raid composition.

 Posted by at 9:03 pm
May 082012
 

Lo, the blues have spoken, and it was good. (Thanks to everyone who linked this to me)

We’re not yet happy with the druid level 90 row. We still like the theme of it playing into the druid’s hybrid nature and we want to reassure you (which I think most of you already know) that druids won’t do lower damage or healing compared to other classes just because some other class has an unambiguous throughput increasing talent at level 90. Classes are balanced around their whole package.

Nonetheless, we want the bottom row of talents to be exciting. In the next (hopefully) build, you’ll see a few changes.

  • Disentanglement — no longer a talent. Shapeshifting for all druids just breaks roots.
  • Dream of Cenarius — increases damage spells by 70% (up from 30%).
  • Heart of the Wild — now also grants 6% passive Agility and Intellect.
  • Nature’s Vigil — replaces Disentanglement. Increases all damage and healing done by 30% for 30 sec, with a 3 min cooldown. While active, all healing spells also damage a nearby target for 50% of healing done, and all damage spells and abilities also heal a nearby friendly target for 50% of the damage done.

Let us know how they feel once you get a chance to try them.

I’ll have a full column up with lots of analysis and such this weekend, but wanted to toss this out now. My quick thoughts as I’m headed to work:

  • 6% passive buff from HoTW is pretty close to +6% DPS, at least for feral. The actual number isn’t important, what’s important will be how it measures against an NV used during Berserk/CA/Incarnation. Being able to stack cooldowns like that could cause some…QQ issues.
  • DoC is still a DPS loss for balance; feral is dependent on how it interacts with Rip. I’d be a bit happier with it if it added a line saying “your next heal will not shift you out of form” but I think it’s the weak sister of the 3.

Feel free to add your comments; I’ll try to respond tonight.

 Posted by at 7:17 am