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  • Gyr
  • Member Since Apr 25th, 2007

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: This is the year that was {WoW}

Jan 5th 2008 3:42AM B Lee, some of the problems plaguing warriors are unfortunately the very same that plague bear tanks. An endgame bear will scale primarily by stacking agility (indeed, past the armor cap, agility is the ONLY way for our mitigation to scale), and a raiding bear tank in good gear will typically have 40-55% dodge. As our gear improves, we're certainly taking less damage from the hits that actually land, but we're increasingly not getting hit at all. I've hit 0 rage on tier 5 raid bosses (my guild's about to hit Kael and I've tanked just about everything but him) after an unlucky dodge streak too often to count. Heroics are getting markedly more frustrating as a result, because the amount of rage that is necessary to hold aggro against well-geared dps (even those being ultra-careful about their aggro) VASTLY exceeds the amount of rage you can realistically expect to generate when you actually need it. Frankly I think rage generation for both warriors and bears could use a look; I don't think anyone can really argue that it's not a flawed mechanic when better gears results in a much more frustrating experience tanking.

Swipe is far less useful for aggro generation than people tend to believe it is, btw. Even in a normal (let alone heroic) dungeon it's not going to hold a mob against dps aggro; in a heroic, it's not even going to hold aggro against your healer. If my group isn't heavy on CC, I use Swipe to gain mob attention and buy some time against healing aggro at the very beginning of a pull, and after that it's a marathon of tab-targeting. TPS-wise Swipe is now virtually useless for aggro until a bear is sitting on several pieces of tier and clears 2K AP - and even after that, due to the 2.0.1 nerf, it's arguably more useful because, as you note, Swipe has a separate chance to crit on every mob it hits (up to 3) and add or at least refund some precious rage.

A number of druids continue to complain that the heavy nerf to bear health and damage arrived at a time where the issue was simply one of itemization; new feral gear at 70 was simply better than the warrior counterpart (still is, imo). But that's an issue for a different day.

Is Druid insta-shifting overpowered? {WoW}

Nov 2nd 2007 11:12PM Feral druids are almost indisputably the spec likely to benefit from this most in PvP - restos can still heal while snared, moonkin can still DPS while snared - but they're also the spec that spends the most time shifting. Which, ironically, is how ferals are beaten so easily in the first place, and why feral is the worst PvP spec on what was already a lackluster PvP class at best (with the sole exception being resto druids in 2v2).

A druid's base mana pool at 70 is 4,475, and feral itemization is usually either rogue gear (no intellect) or otherwise terrible on hybrid stats. Shifting into cat or bear is 829 mana without points in Natural Shapeshifter (and 3 points in NS typically means giving up crucial talents for PvE elsewhere). Forcing a feral to shift for anything - healing, getting out of snares, trying to run away - means they're blowing a little under 20% of their mana pool each time they pop into bear or cat (to say nothing of the expensive and relatively weak heals they have without significant points in resto). Mana regeneration while in forms is also intentionally slower than in caster.

Now, according to Wowwiki, the following are the (untalented) mana/rage/energy costs of snare abilities at level 70:

Wing Clip: 80 mana.
Hamstring: 10 rage.
Concussive Shot: 8% base mana.
Seal of Justice: 10% base mana.
Frost Trap: 60 mana.
Deadly Throw: 35 energy.
Frost Shock: 430 mana.
Earthbind Totem: 40 mana.
Mind Flay: 230 mana.
Curse of Exhaustion: 6% base mana.
Piercing Howl: 10 rage.
Frostbolt: 330 mana.

....pardon my saying, but to me the great weakness of feral PvP hasn't changed one bit. Assuming the PvP druid had already macro'd what Blizzard's just changed, gameplay for the druid hasn't changed at all either. It is far less troublesome, and far less expensive, for just about any class with a snare to reapply said snare, or use another one, than it is for the feral to shift out of it. Forcing someone to blow through almost 20% of their mana pool when you're using so little of your own (or no mana at all) is a pretty easy way for just about any class to beat the feral in the first place.

And hunters? Two words: Scare Beast.

BigRedKitty: Quit Nerfing Our Necessity {WoW}

Sep 19th 2007 5:21PM Ah, but there IS a hunter job in Steamvaults - at least SV heroic.

SV heroic is definitely not one of the tougher heroics but the worst pull of the entire dungeon is the first boss, Hydromancer Thespia, and her two elemental adds. Now, this might purely be a problem for the feral druid tank - I really don't know, maybe warriors and paladins don't have issues with it at all - but both elementals are immune to bleed effects, which is a fairly significant part of a bear tank's aggro generation, and it is a bloody frigging nightmare to maintain aggro on all three. The first time I ever did SV heroic we'd had no problems at all up until Thespia, and after that we just - couldn't - get past her. 8 wipes and we slunk away without a single badge. I'd hold aggro on Thespia and one of the elementals, and then the other would take off and two-shot the healer. Or I'd hold aggro on both elementals and Thespia would cyclone me and then run amok in the group. Or she'd cyclone the healer. GG. Even if you have a warlock with you banishing one of the adds, Thespia spends the better portion of the fight spawning those damn hurricane AoE's and cycloning people when she feels like it. Truly a nightmare if she's pulling these little stunts while the elementals arestill up. The adds can only be CC'd by banish and Thespia can't be CC'd at all.

But she can be kited.

Our trusty hunter hit upon the idea of parking his pet as far out as he could and then misdirecting Thespia onto his owl while we tanked the two adds or tanked one and banished another. What a ridiculously easy fight it turned out to be. Thespia took off like a shot for the owl, we killed an elemental or two back in her room, and then sat and waited for Thespia to realize that the real fight was elsewhere. She'll also run right over a cunningly-placed snake trap on the return trip, hunter feigns death, tank picks her up.......badges for all!

I've tanked for a long time now. A bad hunter is the worst possible group member, but "my" hunter is the first person I'll slot into a group after our healer.

Are instance drops really random? {WoW}

Aug 20th 2007 10:40PM 42 runs of Mech to get the Thoriumweave Cloak to drop for my bear tank. And I've long since hit exalted with all the Outland factions and have literally NEVER seen the Moonglade cowl, handwraps, or chestpiece drop. It wasn't even that I lost the roll - the frigging things have never dropped!

On a more constructive note, if they're concerned about the chronic tank/healer shortage to the point where they're adding an entirely new tank-capable class, I honestly think they need to make it easier for us to get geared. I get the impression that tankadins are having a tough time as well. And I'm not just talking about being the hideously unlucky statistical outlier where nothing you need ever drops; the vast majority of loot available in heroics is DPS gear. It wouldn't bother me as much as it does, but bad things happen to aggro control when your DPS upgrades a lot faster than your tank can save badges....

Thank a Tank (and everyone else) Day {WoW}

Aug 9th 2007 10:36PM @15 - Hey, Indigo, the rest of us tanking are in the same boat as you, trust me. I'm a feral druid with the classic 47/14 tanking spec and I have a general tank set, DPS cat gear (which blows because I'm almost invariably grouped with a rogue and guess who gets priority? And should?), shadow resist gear, fire resist gear, offspec healing gear, spec healing gear (Tree of Life aura being based on what is otherwise the most garbage stat in the game, spirit), and boomkin gear. I don't have other resist gear right now because shadow and fire are primarily what I need to be tanking the Outland 5-mans. I love warriors, mate, but you will get little sympathy from druids over issues concerning bag and bank space....

Tanks shouldn't be fighting each other anyway (and not just because we take forever to die). We should be joining hands, and singing Kumbaya with our healers, and hollering ourselves hoarse at the lolDPS instead.

- Gyr

The latest on Priest racial abilities {WoW}

Aug 9th 2007 10:07PM @16 - I'm pretty sure that the speculation over racial abilities like Fear Ward has very little to do with punishing people who have been "team players" and a lot more to do with faction differences. Yep, a draenei or dwarf priest is obviously preferable over a night elf or human priest if for no other reason than Fear Ward, you are entirely correct. The fracas has a lot more to do with the fact that anyone choosing to play a priest for the Horde has zero options for being the "team player" you describe because Fear Ward doesn't exist for trolls, Belves, and undead. Dwarves and draenei aren't being punished; people are asking why an entire faction is being "punished" for having chosen to play the side that lacks what is inarguably the best priest racial in the game.

I'd actually be willing to bet that there wouldn't be much discussion at all over priest racials if at least one race Hordeside had been given Fear Ward from the start, or even in the expansion (I still scratch my head over Blizzard's decision to give yet another Alliance race this extremely useful ability while passing over the Blood Elves. Possibly it was a lore decision, I dunno). Yeah, a min-maxer may believe there's a point in saying to priests, "QQ more nub, you shouldn't have picked a Night Elf," but the argument decends into utter ridiculousness when it's "QQ more nub, you shouldn't have played Horde."

Breakfast Topic: Do druids need a rez? {WoW}

Jun 29th 2007 4:27PM Good Lord, check out all the druid hate here.......mercy, people, if you have a problem with the suggestion being made, take it up with the person making said suggestion. The issue hardly merits such boiling pools of animosity.

Speaking as a 70 druid who's been alternately feral/resto and balance/resto while leveling and certainly did and does a lot of healing, I'd actually be against it. A combat rez is a valuable skill to have, and yeah, there should be some trade-off with it (and what some people fail to realize is that it requires a reagent; it costs us money every time we rez you). And it's pretty rare for me to be grouped without another rez class Hordeside after the arrival of BE pallys anyway, and obviously it will never happen on a raid (where an IC rez or the shammy's self-rez is an inarguably valuable skill anyhow).

Though I'd have to admit that I have an ulterior motive for not wanting a trainable OOC rez, or - still worse - an OOC rez trainable only in the resto tree. I would not look forward to the inevitable party chat or tells where people ask about it ("No, I don't have it, I'm sorry." "Why not?" ".......because I'm feral and you asked me here to tank?"). And I am certainly not the only druid (on those rare occasions when we're the only rez class in a 5-man) who has had to inform the lolDPS members of a pug that I can't rez them if they consistently pull aggro and get two-shotted. I've noticed that people tend to play more responsibly after the first boring corpse runs. People, if you can't be arsed to give the tank at least a nanosecond to establish aggro on the next pull, you're going to get a very strong lesson on exactly where you fall on the healer's list of priorities. Why, yes, Mr. Pyroblast, that *does* mean the hunter's boar keeping aggro off of me will get healed over you.....

Just my take. I don't think it's necessary. Would it be a nice convenience? Sure. Would having that convenience outweigh my current ability to "incentivize" aggro management in a group? Nope.

Loot balance {WoW}

Jun 10th 2007 3:11AM Hmmm. I'd gotten the sense while leveling 58-70 in Outland that there *did* seem to be a sudden abundance of druid leather available as quest rewards, and this confirms that feeling. However, I think the sense that perhaps rogue leather availability suffered as a result would be somewhat misplaced, if only because I think Blizzard designed it this way so as to avoid what would effectively have been a punishment of hybrid classes trying to gear for multiple roles.

The main reason that I don't believe rogue leather (or hunter mail, etc.) really suffered is that I'm still at 70 encountering quest rewards that are in many ways a side-grade to rewards available on previous quests; it's almost like Blizz said, "Well, OK, you may not have gotten the +str +sta gloves from that other quest because you got a balance helm that was a serious upgrade, so here's another piece that's slightly different but still usable." Frankly I think Dave at #16 hit the nail on the head; increasing the amount of "rogue leather" or "hunter mail" quest rewards would lead to more of this endless redundancy, which would have been maddening as a pure DPS class. To a hybrid it's a godsend. It means you don't have to spend half of your WoW life miserably scrounging for gear, and it also means you're not being punished by having to forgo an upgrade for your current spec in favor of a reward you'll need to fill out, say, the heal set. If I had leveled 58-70 constantly having to choose between quest rewards for my actual spec (then balance) and what I did at least 50% of the time in dungeons (healing), I think I would have quit the game. Seeing yourself fall further and further behind a pure DPS class in overall damage just because you're trying to do the responsible thing and fill out a heal/tank set is very depressing.

And yeah, I can only confirm earlier comments re: the difference in gear for a hybrid spec. I decided around my mid-60's to respec from balance to feral because the tank shortage on my realm is pretty bad, and was very, very glad to have had the opportunity to collect bear tanking gear along the way (most of it was quest reward pieces, but others were drops I'd gotten while healing my way through dungeons and that nobody else had wanted; even a rogue is not going to bother overmuch with a high armor +def +str leather piece). There is a 4K health and 3K armor difference between my feral and balance gear sets, and that's only in *caster.* Lifebloom ticks for 120/s in full heal gear, and only 39/s in feral gear. If I buff four people in balance gear, I'm down mebbe 10% of my mana pool; in feral gear I'm down 80% of it. And having just hit 70 while still in Terokkar, my gear is by no means jaw-dropping, but the differences are just going to get bigger and bigger as the sets improve.

So the bottom line is that I think Blizz recognized that one of the only ways to help ameliorate the perpetual tank/healer shortage would be to make it easier for hybrid classes to respec and gear for those roles. And I have to say after leveling as a balance druid that I was the happiest cow on the planet to discover that leather spell damage gear existed as (comparatively routine) quest rewards. Gearing up a moonkin pre-BC was a hideous joke. Those 11 set pieces you cited earlier were everything in the world to me.

WoW Moviewatch: Force of Nature bug {WoW}

Jun 6th 2007 12:53PM Definitely not a fake, #2, as reading this explains what happened during an absolutely hilarious duel yesterday in the Bone Wastes......

Behold, the power of moonkin {WoW}

Apr 25th 2007 5:47PM Thank you for posting this! Balance druids often seem overlooked even in comparison to other offspecs, but I'm really hoping that the way other offspecs have taken off is a sign of things to come.

Make no mistake about it, actually *leveling* as a balance druid pre-moonkin (31-point talent) is pretty tough; you're still better off leveling as feral and respeccing. Even a brand-new moonkin at 40 is going to have some survivability issues with multiple adds. The great PvE weakness of the spec is that you get dire bear armor without the bear's +25% stamina and Frenzied Regeneration, so popping out in the middle of a fight in order to heal has to be timed carefully. That being said, there's almost no excuse for a death in the field once you get the 41-point Force of Nature (this is the trio of angry trees for those of you unfamiliar with druid talents). I can only assume that it gets even better once you finally get Lifebloom and Cyclone and have more tricks to control how a fight goes. This is a balance druid, Tradix, playing the spec just brilliantly:

Moonkin overall do have some growing pains to get through. Balance suffers from pretty terrible itemization pre-60, and by terrible I mean almost nonexistent. My 56 balance druid (Horde) has just about every piece of +spell dmg leather you can get, and that amounts to Ironfeather shoulders, Ironfeather chest, Bloodfire talons, and.......well, that's really about it before you hit Outland. Fortunately you can supplement with rings and the Deep Woodlands cloak you get as a Hinterlands quest reward (if you're Horde). I have one cloth piece but prefer PvE, and would rather not trade survivability for more damage. Running around with 4.7K armor in moonkin (5.5K with a pally's Devotion aura) means that that pissed-off mob is going to have to whack you for a while. Pre-60 Moonkin unloading epic nukes are typically outfitted in cloth, but my Starfire will crit for about 1315, Wrath for 700-800, and Moonfire for 500. With the moonkin aura stacked on my regular crit chance, it's not unusual to crit 2 or 3 times in a fight and stun on a Starfire at least once. Once you do go oom (four or five fights while soloing, in my experience), either innervate or go kitty for a while (moonkin are not played well if the player forgets that they *are*, in fact, a druid). Very little downtime.

And - let's face it - moonkin are just the hell of a lot of fun. Great animations (well, those that exist; unfortunately moonkin will go still while looting or with most emotes), funny sounds when they get hit, and I still get a kick out of how determined they look with a serious weapon equipped. The number of people who will gather around you in Org to ask questions ("Is that a new Noggenfogger potion?" "What tailoring recipe is that?") or beg you to do the dance also makes being in town a lot of fun. And the rarest spec on one of the least-played, if not least-played class (apparently shaman and druids are competing for this dubious honor), instills a great sense of comradery when you see another faction's moonkin. I've played since January and have still seen only two Alliance moonkin on my (admittedly low-pop) server.

Peoples' experiences and goals within WoW differ greatly, but I for one would find it difficult to have more fun than I'm having now as a giant chicken with a killer dance. And - are you ready for it? - moonkin tanking! "Making Your Lack of Aggro Reduction Work For You."