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What's changing for feral and balance druids in patch 5.4, part 2

What's changing for feral and balance druids in patch 54, part 2 ANY
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our DPS edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, we talk trinkets.

In the last part of this column, we discussed all of the changes in the patch notes, and what that might portend for your feral or balance druid. This week, we'll look at the "other stuff" that might affect your play: set bonuses, trinkets, and the legendary cloak.

Set bonuses
  • Feral T16 2-piece: Omen of Clarity increases damage of Shred, Mangle, and Ravage by 50% for 6 sec.
  • Feral T16 4-piece: After using Tiger's Fury, your next finishing move will restore 5 combo points on your current target after being used.
The 2-piece bonus is somewhat boring, but reasonably powerful for single-target fights. It's tied to Omen, which means you'll always get at least one buffed Shred/Mangle out, even if you're low on energy when it procs. The downside? Less than 20% of a feral's damage comes from Shred/Mangle, and frequently less than 15%, which means that this isn't all that special. It's miles better than the dull T15 2P bonus, however, and likely comparable in strength to the T15 4P, meaning you should upgrade ASAP. I'm interested to see if it finds a home in PvP; the significant burst this gives makes much more of a difference there.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

A look at what's changing for feral and balance druids in patch 5.4

Shifting Perspectives A look ahead at what's changing for feral and balance in 54
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our DPS edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, we await breaking news.

The PTR has returned with patch 5.4 goodies, and I'm back to discuss what this means for your feral or balance druid. Remember, numbers at this point are completely unbalanced, so focus on the substantive changes!

First, the nerfs
  • Cyclone no longer has a 20-second cooldown for Feral Druids.
  • Predatory Swiftness no longer has a chance to make Cyclone instant, free, and castable in all forms.
Let's face it: some things are too good to last, and one of those things was instant Cyclones from Predatory Swiftness for ferals. Pre-5.2, a feral could go on full offense and reliably keep a second target locked down with Cyclones. The developers attempted to fix this with a tweak in 5.3 that gave feral, and only feral, a 20 second cooldown on Cyclone. However, it was quickly apparent that this wasn't a long-term solution, so now they've taken the somewhat drastic step of removing insta-clone entirely. While this is a large nerf (and one made worse by the removal of Nature's Swiftness, discussed below), I understand the rationale, and hopefully this portends the further removal of other instant CC from the game.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Breakfast Topic: Whatever happened to healing assignments?

Breakfast Topic Whatever happened to healing assignments
A few nights ago, I was casually playing my mistweaver monk when I saw a pick-up group forming for Mogushan Vaults. He wasn't really that well geared, but I figured "why not?" and jumped in. Since this was my first time joining a raid on this character, I tried to be prepared; I ate my spirit food, drank a flask, and asked the raid leader for healing assignments. His response? Well, parts of it are unprintable, but the gist is that "assignments are lame" and "nobody uses them anymore."

I admit, I'm not the best at paying attention to what my healers are doing, other than thanking them when they repeatedly cover for my slow reaction times, or lighting our tree druid on fire. (Ulla, if you're reading this, it was the warlock. Really!) Thinking back, though, the last time I remember healing assignments really being a "thing" was Chimaeron, and nothing since then.

Understandably, heroic raiders still have assignments as they have to keep people from dying every second, but what about the rest of us? It seems like assignments have died out: do you think this is a bad thing or a good thing?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Getting your super-cloak: How to complete Celestial Blessings as a tank or melee DPS

Getting your supercloak how to complete Celestial Blessings as a tank or melee DPS
With the recent buff to Titan Runestone drop rates, many players are finally getting over that hump in the legendary quest chain and moving on to the next hurdle, Celestial Blessings. This quest requires you to visit the four Celestials and receive their blessing. However, each celestial also offers a different single-player challenge that corresponds to an in-game role, which must be completed in order to finish the quest. The challenges:
  • Healer: Offered by Chi-Ji, the Red Crane, at his temple in Krasarang Wilds.
  • Ranged DPS: Offered by Yu'lon, the Jade Serpent, at her temple in Jade Forest.
  • Melee DPS: Offered by Xuen, the White Tiger, at his temple in Kun-Lai Summit.
  • Tank: Offered by Niuzao, the Black Ox, at his temple in Townlong Steppes.
You can do any challenge you want, as long as you are in the matching spec, but you only need to complete one to move on. Your reward is also independent of the challenge you choose to do, so don't feel locked into doing the a certain challenge if you want that cloak. I can't comment on the healer/ranged challenges, but I did both the melee and tank challenges. In my opinion, the tank challenge was MUCH easier to complete, so I'd recommend that route if you can. For both fights, remember that your target is stunnable (which gives you a periodic breather) and the Celestial Offering from August Celestials rep will give you a 10% buff. Like any difficult encounter, buffs, flasks, and food are recommended. Thankfully, you don't have to worry about running back, as the Spirit will auto-rez you if you die.

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Shifting Perspectives: Spending feral VP in 5.3

Shifting Perspectives Spending feral VP in 53
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our DPS edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, we spend our Valor Points at the corner store.

Patch 5.3 is here, the item upgrade vendors have returned, and it's time to talk about everybody's favorite things; gear. What are the pixels I can pick to push my kitty to the top of the heap? Let's take a look.

Weapons and trinkets first

As a feral, getting a good weapon is your highest priority. It's the jelly to your peanut butter, the ketchup to your french fries...okay, I may be hungry, but you get the point, it's a necessary complement to ensuring you can be an effective damage dealer. You have four choices for weapons; three drops from Throne of Thunder (Shan-Dun, Breaker of Hope, Jalak's Maelstrom Staff, or the Darkwood Spiritstaff) and the weapon with a legendary socket from 5.0, Gao-Rei. The differences in the ToT weapons are fairly minor, so just get the best you can, and upgrade it ASAP. If you can't get into ToT yet, the +500 agility from the legendary gem on Gao-Rei makes it a worthwhile fill-in. Oh, and if you've completed Chapter II of the legendary quest and received an Eye of the Black Prince, don't forget to buy another one when you get a weapon upgrade.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Patch 5.3's pet battle changes

Pet battle changes in patch 53
If you haven't caught the pet battle fever yet, now's a great time to start. New rewards make pet battles a great way to help earn some of your raiding currency, such as Valor Points or Lesser Charms, and mechanics changes make the whole system more transparent and less frustrating.

New rewards

Tired of killing daily quest mobs for VP? Why not pet battle for it? All of the master tamers in Pandaria, as well as the Spirits and Beasts of Fable, now offer daily quests for their defeat that offer the standard XP, 5 VP and 2 Lesser Charms per turn-in. The Beasts of Fable quest has been split into three parts, giving you a total of 14 pet battles you can do daily for VP, charms, and a chance at a battle-stone.

Those battle-stones should be more common as well, with "bad luck protection" added to the game. Every bag without a battle-stone increases the chances of the next bag containing one. If you're using pet battles to level alts, all the pet battle daily quests now award XP as well. All of these quests now show up on the map, so you can find them easily.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Shifting Perspectives: Mastering the Rune of Re-Origination for ferals

Shifting Perspectives Mastering the Rune of ReOrigination for ferals
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our DPS edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, we forge ahead. No, literally. Go reforge.

Welcome back to Shifting Perspectives! I've been dealing with some serious family issues, so I haven't written for a while. Happily, things are settling down, I'm raiding successfully, and it's time to get back to the keyboard. I've got quite a backlog of topics to cover, so let's get right to it by talking about the most commonly requested topic: what, exactly, am I supposed to do with all this new stuff I've been getting? The addition of Rune of Re-Origination and the Capacitive Diamond have changed gearing priorities significantly, so if you've been sticking with the pure mastery build, you may be missing out.

Mastery or haste, a question of RPPM

Ever since it was introduced, mastery has generally been our most favored secondary stat. (Yes, even over hit and expertise, from a simulation's point of view. That said, hit/expertise capping is the best idea for most folks, because we can't instantly recognize that an ability has missed and change strategy like the simulators can.) The rationale is simple. Most of our damage comes from bleeds; mastery increases our bleed damage ... obvious strategy is obvious. Well, the changes in 5.2 have adjusted that calculus a little bit.

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Filed under: (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

The return of the firecat

Apparently, Blizzard has quite the love affair with setting druids on fire. Responding to a player's lament about Fandral's Flamescythe, Crithto noted that an item was created in 5.2 to allows Druids to gain the firecat appearance without needing the old weapon. Of course, he didn't give any hints, simply saying "They're difficult to find..." A massive search of the Firelands ensued, and the items, Burning Seeds, were discovered near Majordomo Staghelm. Only lootable by druids, each seed allows for 60 minutes of the flame kitty form, which persists through shapeshifting and death. You will need some friends to help you clear up through Baleroc, but after that, you can extend the raid as many times as you need to stockpile more seeds.

As for me, I'm curious as to what form will be next on the self-immolation list. We can already ignite treants and about some roast turkey? Pilgrim's Bounty isn't too far away! Anyway, feel free to head over to Wowhead for more details and pictures.
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

A true World of Warcraft: 3 things to know when playing on the road

A true World of Warcraft 5 things to know when playing on the road

When the boss says "I need you overseas next week," replying "but I've got a raid!" isn't really an option. I've just completed a two-week whirlwind trip, and I've discovered that with some mild preparation, it's quite easy to get in your regular WoW time. Dailies, raiding, pet battles PvP; whatever your choice of fun, don't let geography keep you down.

Choose your weapon

"Honey, why can't you take my old laptop on your trip?" "Because it only gets 10 FPS in Val...erm, because I want one that can Skype with you well without any slowdowns!"

First, you're going to need a machine to play on. If buying a new laptop isn't an option, it's not the end of the world; WoW can run on some positively ancient hardware, if you're comfortable with playing on lower graphics-quality settings. After installing it on a few laptops during my last trip overseas, I can say with a reasonable degree of confidence that any dual-core system should be able to at least run the game well enough to login, chat, and browse the Auction House. (In chronological terms, that means any system since about 2010 or so, and some higher-end 2008-2009 systems.) Of course, if you want to do anything more vigorous than posting auctions and talking in guild chat, you'll want a better hunk of plastic. Raiding and battlegrounds, in particular, will heavily tax your system, so try it out on your machine BEFORE you go. Trust me; learning Alysrazor tornadoes was challenging by itself, learning them while playing as a healer moving at 5 FPS was even worse.

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Filed under: Hardware

An early look at patch 5.2 for monks, part 2

An early look at patch 52 for monks, part 2
Interested in trying out the new monk class, but can't tell your Tiger Strikes from your Tiger Palms? Written by Chase Hasbrouck of World of Monkcraft, WoW Insider's new monk coverage will get you kicking in no time!

In my last column, I explored how monks (well, windwalkers and mistweavers) are dramatically changing in terms of PvP. This week, we'll take a spec-by-spec look at what you can expect to change for PvE content, and draw some tentative conclusions as to what abilities and stats you'll be using and not using. Keep in mind that this is still PTR content, so things change on a day-by-day basis; a hotfix tomorrow might invalidate every conclusion I make today.

Changes for all specs

When you first log in for patch 5.2, take a look at your healing talents. All of them have been redesigned from the "uses chi and no-cooldown" model to "free with cooldown" model, so the only cost to using your self-heals now is one global cooldown. The actual strength of the heals are still being tweaked, but given this new model, I expect Brewmasters to continue to go for Chi Wave; Chi Burst to be decent for Mistweavers needing to raid heal; and Windwalkers to go "meh," since they'll want the GCD's for damaging abilities. Zen Sphere is interesting, but it took a massive nerf (62%) which makes it not very desirable at first glance.

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Filed under: Monk