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Posts with tag balance-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

Shifting Perspectives: An early look at 5.2 for druids

Shifting Perspectives An early look at 52 for druids

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 discuss the future.

Happy New Year!

Hmm. I guess I'm a little late for that. Anyway, my no-notice household move is mostly complete, and I've finally had a chance to start breaking down the new changes for druids in 5.2. With the exception of Feral PvP, things look pretty positive across the board, so let's dive in!

Cyclone a-no-no

Cyclone is the crowd-control effect that everyone loves to hate. Unlike the vast majority of other CC effects in the game, Cyclone does not share a diminishing return category with other effects, meaning you could couple it with another CC from a teammate to lock down an enemy target for a long period of time. By itself, this wasn't the end of the world. While a "clone" was powerful, it had a short range and a cast time, making it difficult to land in the first place.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Druid leveling and talents in Pandaria

Shifting Perspectives Druid leveling and talents in Pandaria
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 grind.


Okay, I know this column is a little behind the Mists of Pandaria power curve. That said, if you happened to fall in love with another class (coughMonkcough) for leveling this time around, and you've just now leveling to 90...here's some tips. And yes, that's a moonkin on a mechanostrider by a fish. Why? Isn't it obvious?

Before your arrival in Pandaria

Well, that depends on what level your gear is at. If you didn't play significantly at endgame in Cataclysm, you'll find that the enemies get a lot stronger as soon as you hit ground in Jade Forest. You'll get pieces of 378 green gear as you proceed through the early quests, but if you're still rocking Mount Hyjal greens like some of my alts, you may want to look at picking up some Misthide crafted leather items from the auction house. If none are available, you can also ride to Dawn's Blossom and visit the gear vendor there for some starter pieces. You can skip this if you choose, but in that case expect the initial quests to be fairly difficult, and you won't have the item level to queue for dungeons right away.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: The Heart of the Wild and Symbiosis hotfixes

Shifting Perspectives The Heart of the Wild and Symbiosis hotfixes
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 abandon our pretensions.

I knew this was going to happen. I tweeted about it back in August, suggesting that Heart of the Wild was far too powerful for both balance and feral druids; when combined with a weapon swap, the damage potential was significant. Several others warned about it on release, but to no avail, Bosses fell, DPS meters were topped, and all the non-druids complained bitterly. The cry of "Nerf druids!" was heard throughout the land, though most of us were too busy playing PandaFarm to notice.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: 5.0.4 changes for feral and balance druids

Shifting Perspectives 504 changes for feral and balance druids SUN
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, NUMBER 5 IS ALIVE!

The patch is coming! The patch is coming! Run around screaming wildly! Right. Anyway, if you're just coming back to WoW, here's everything new you'll need to know to get your feral or balance druid up to speed. First I'll hit some of the overall druid changes before drilling down into the spec-specific stuff.

Changes for druids

Feral is no longer a tank/DPS specialization. Yes, bearcatting is officially dead for those who practiced it, though it lives on somewhat in one of our new talents. Feral is now solely melee DPS, and a new spec has been added for bear tanks, guardian.

All the old talent trees are gone. You still pick a specialization at level 10, but instead of a 31-point tree, you now have six tiers of talent choices, with one choice out of three options every 15 levels. With the talent tree deletion came an ability shuffle; many druid abilities that were spec-specific, such as Force of Nature or Feral Charge, have been made into talents that can be used by any spec. For more, read my column on talent tiers 1 through 3 or tiers 4 through 6.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: A Mists talent analysis for cats and moonkin, part 2

Shifting Perspectives A Mists talent analysis for cats and moonkin, part 2
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 (still) feel talented.

Last week, I talked about talent tiers 1 through 3; this week, we'll pick up the bottom half. Once again, I apologize in advance for the terrible puns in the subheaders. (They're unbearable, I know.)

Tier 4: Soul of the Force of Nature Incarnate

This tier is both the most interesting tier and the least interesting tier in the list. It's the most interesting, because, well, this one directly affects your DPS, unlike all those other "silly" healing talents. Unfortunately, that also makes it the least interesting, because that means theorycrafters will just figure out what works the best, and everybody picks that one. The best-case scenario is that all the talents end up reasonably balanced, so I'm going to approach this discussion with that in mind.

First up is Soul of the Forest, which is a fairly bland passive talent. For easily distracted people like me, though, passive is good. Passive means "I don't have to do anything special to get a DPS increase out of this thing." Joking aside, it'll probably end up (once the balancing is complete) as narrowly the highest-DPS talent for feral and balance, but only if you get to stay attacking the boss 100% of the time. Any off-DPS time starts to cut into its value significantly.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: A Mists talent analysis for cats and moonkin

Shifting Perspectives A Mists talent analysis for cats and moonkin SUN
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 feel talented.

So. New talents! Awesome, right? This week, I'm going to take a closer look at the tiers and make recommendations on which talent you'll want to pick up for your Mists of Pandaria adventures. (Yes, I've looked at the new talents before, but we've had several months' worth of discussion and changes since then.) I apologize in advance for the terrible puns in the subheaders.

Tier 1: We like to charge it, charge it

No way around it: Displacer Beast is flat-out terrible. In theory, the ability serves as a way to escape from enemies; in practice, it completely fails at this because it lacks the threat-dropping capabilities of Feign Death or the temporary damage absorption of Vanish. DoTs will still immediately snap you out of stealth, as will spells in the air (sometimes). Non-players will keep all their threat and keep attacking you. I could maybe sorta kinda see it being used offensively in PvP for feral (open from Prowl, dump some energy, DB out and reopen), but that's pushing things. At this point, I don't think the talent is fixable, and I'm hoping they scrap it and replace it with something that buffs Dash and/or Stampeding Roar.

Luckily, we have two other talents that are much better. Feline Swiftness's passive movement speed increase is boring but very helpful in any situation. Unfortunately, it has one key downside: It does not stack with boot enchants, which makes them an integral part of the decision. Feral will almost certainly be using the Blurred Speed enchant anyway for the agility bonus, so it's really more like a 7% bonus for them. Balance has a little more choice here; they can choose between move speed + 140 mastery or 175 haste, which will likely be a superior DPS option.

Wild Charge, in contrast, has a wealth of situational uses, especially in PvP. The cooldown being so short means you can use it pretty much every time you need it, which is great. Of course, that means you have to use it to gain any benefit from the talent. If you'd rather focus on your rotation, just go with Feline Swiftness. Basically, it's a pretty close call. I probably prefer Wild Charge for feral and Feline Swiftness for balance, but it can go either way.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Further redesigns to the Mists of Pandaria balance druid rotation

Shifting Perspectives Beta changes
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 make ch-ch-ch-changes.

A new week, a new beta patch, and a new design for the balance druid rotation (again)! There are some large changes here, as it appears the developers have scrapped a few of the new ideas that they were trying in the beta and have reverted to more of a Cataclysm-style model. All the theorycrafting on this is still being done, so some caution is in order, but I'm tentatively excited about how this is turning out.

First, here's a quick list of the new changes (thanks to Elrahd):
  • Moonfire and Sunfire are now two separate spells independent of Eclipse. Base damage of DoT component damage for both spells increased by 50% and duration reverted to 18 seconds.
  • When Celestial Alignment is activated, casting Moonfire will apply both DoTs.
  • Crits from Starfire and Wrath increase the duration of Moonfire and Sunfire respectively by 2 seconds. Starsurge crits increases both by 2 seconds. This effect is independent of Eclipse.
  • Fae Empowerment no longer exists.
  • Euphoria is no longer a proc but a passive that guarantees double energy generation from nukes outside of Eclipse.
  • Shooting Stars proc rate now 30%, down from 40%.
  • Astral Communion now channels 25 eclipse energy per second for 4 seconds, from 15 energy per second for 7 seconds.
  • New PvP 4 set bonus allows Astral Communion to be channeled while moving.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: An additional dimension for the balance druid rotation

Shifting Perspectives An additional dimension for the Balance druid rotation
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 ready our spreadsheets for battle.

Well, it looks like those who said the balance rotation was dull carried the day. Insect Swarm isn't back, but interesting developments are afoot. A few days ago, Ghostcrawler dropped a minor bombshell on the balance rotation, and I'd like to do a bit of theorycrafting and explore the implications.

Ghostcrawler
We are experimenting with some changes to the rotation. No promises that these changes will stay, but we definitely look forward to your feedback (both in terms of theorycrafting and how fun it is). Shooting Stars should occur much more frequently, and Starsurge should be a more important (read: high damage) button. Additionally, we're adding a new passive that has some interesting implications. Should you choose to ignore it, your DPS will likely be only a few percentage behind someone who uses it optimally, but it should hopefully provide some more varied gameplay. To use some game designer jargon, we're happy with Moonkins' macro level rotational gameplay, but think they needs some more mirco-level decisions.
  • Shooting Stars chance increased from 20% to 50%.
  • Starsurge damage increased by 30%.
  • Fae Empowerment: New passive for Balance Druids. When you cast Faerie Fire, you gain Lunar Empowerment and Solar Empowerment.
  • Lunar Empowerment: Increases the damage of your next 3 Starfires within 15 sec by 15%.
  • Solar Empowerment: Increases the damage of your next 3 Wraths within 15 sec by 20%.
Please note that these changes are straight DPS buffs, and we don't think Moonkin need a buff right now, so we need to reduce overall damage (probably across the board) so that overall DPS stays the same. These nerfs may take a few builds, because we need to evaluate if these rotation changes are worth doing.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Relooking at feral and balance druids in Mists of Pandaria

Shifting Perspectives Feral and balance druid updates SUN
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 analyze to theorize.

A few months ago, I posted my initial thoughts on the balance changes and feral changes in the Mists of Pandaria beta. Now that the abilities and numbers have gone through a round of fixes and changes, I'd like to relook at some of my initial concerns and see what problems the specs are still experiencing.

Balance issues

Underpowered single-target rotation, overpowered AoE rotation Thankfully, this has been addressed significantly. This specific issue was touched on by Ghostcrawler in the beta class analysis thread:

Quote:

Actually, is the design intention to have both Eclipses with the same damage output for single targets and AoE?

Actually, no. We're currently intending for Lunar to be slightly better at single target damage and Solar to be AoE damage. When you have time between phases or situations where you can use Astral Communion to quickly switch sides, you should be able to further optimize performance by tailoring which Eclipse you line up with which boss phases. The difference should not be significant enough, however, that in a Patchwerk-style scenario, you are compelled to only DPS in one eclipse.
As a side note, I posted incorrect information about Mushrooms. They DO count as Solar, and we think that's fine.


Of course, now we get to debate what "slightly better" means. Current theorycrafting suggests that Starfire (aka Lunar) and Hurricane (aka Solar) are about 20% better then their counterpart abilities in the other Eclipse. I agree with Graylo that this difference is probably too large and makes Eclipse-twisting feel more mandatory and less like an "optimization." Dropping this to the 5% to 10% range would still allow theorycrafters to come up with optimizations, but it wouldn't be necessary for players to use; they could ignore Astral Communion entirely and still do reasonably well.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion

Shifting Perspectives: Being mean to tanks, healing the unhealable, and the 132% speed bear

Shifting Perspectives Mean things to tanks, healing the unhealable, and the 132% speed bear
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, we do not get much pleasure from what we are about to say.

I don't like being mean. However, after a certain amount of beta testing for each expansion and the slew of questionable experiences that that tends to bring, I've noticed that I will eventually write something that veers into the realm known as "unpleasant." For Wrath of the Lich King, it was over the raft of players rolling death knights who had never played a melee class before and were making life hell for their groups. (Although it turns out that "Most of you are awful" was a less controversial opinion than anticipated.) For Cataclysm, it was to Blizzard over the fact that resto druids couldn't hit anything except Nourish or Lifebloom without gasping for mana, and I'm pretty sure our subsequent experience in tier 11 bore me out there. (In short: It sucked.)

In the Mists of Pandaria beta, I figured I'd hit the old Cataclysm heroics first for a more forgiving playground with the new skills and talents, and lots of other players had the same idea. Consequently, I've run into a pretty wide variety of tanks and healers with different gear and skill sets, and something has become horribly obvious after running a slew of 5-mans. Nor can I blame unfamiliarity with the content for poor performance, including my own. We know these dungeons. The only new variable is whatever's in your spellbook that wasn't there before.

This is where things get mean, and I apologize:

If you are a bad tank and aren't interested in getting better, Mists of Pandaria might be a good time to find something else to do.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Astrally Communing with your balance druid

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 get the party started.

Unfortunately, real life's caught up to me the past few weeks, so I've been out of action for a bit. Well, OK, two parts real life and one part Diablo III barbarian. Cleave. Cleave. Cleave. (Ahem.) Anyway, the barbarian's died valiantly and frequently to Infernal bees, the cough syrup has been drunk, the viruses are dead, the family's alive (or is that backwards?), and I'm back and ready to talk druid again.

First of all, check out that sweet tier 14 getup. I like it! It really fits well with druids' shapeshifting motif and is much better than the abomination that were the tier 12 and 13 sets. (Tier 11 wasn't terrible, but it made us look like Tyrael.) This is quite possibly my favorite tier set since tier 7.5 and easily my favorite headpiece of all. I do hope our shoulders end up matching, though, and I hope the red-accented set gets brightened up a bit. Of course, I like the set with jade green accents the best, which means it'll undoubtedly be for whatever spec/difficulty I'm not doing. Sigh.

Enough about looks, though; let's talk turkey. In my last post before my break, I talked about Ghostcrawler's thoughts on the balance rotation, where he felt balance druids needed something to help control their energy levels. (No, no, "Eclipse" energy. Put down the caffeinated beverages. That said, the idea of a moonkin chain-drinking Monsters is pretty funny.) I speculated about a few possible ways they could go with that, and the eventual result was pretty similar to my Energized Insect Swarm idea -- a DPS fast-forward of sorts.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: The potential return of Insect Swarm for balance druids

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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 go hunting for mosquito nets.

A few weeks ago, I talked about the impact of removing Insect Swarm from balance druids' toolboxes. I was pretty positive about the change; in my view, Insect Swarm was mostly superfluous, as the times you would use it independently from Moonfire were few and far between. Removing it was a welcome simplification to the rotation. Several commenters took an opposite view, however. To them, removing IS (along with some of the other changes) took things too far, and made the spec boring to play.

Well, if you were one of those commenters, you're in luck. Take it away, Ghostcrawler!

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Honey cat don't give a ...

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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 gem +10 in awesome.

With apologies to Isaiah Mustafa ...

Take a look at your cat. Now look at me. Now back at your cat. Now back at me. Sadly, your cat isn't me, but if you stopped playing that silly rogue and switched to feral, you could have a cat that looked like me. Look down, back up -- where are you? You're on a boat with an armored cat, the cat your cat could look like. What's in your hand? Back at me. I have it -- it's a clam with patch notes declaring ferals to be epic. Look again; the notes are now the tears of all the classes who wish they could look like me. Anything is possible when you roll feral. Forget horses; I'm a stag.


Yes, I was tempted to end the column right there --but we've got so much good stuff to talk about.

Armored cats

A few weeks ago, Ghostcrawler mentioned that Incarnation would have specific art for cats, bears, and moonkin; in the latest patch, a datamined model showed us what is likely the first example of that. At first, I wasn't too sure about the idea of putting armor on a feral form, but it's really grown on me over the last couple of days. It's obviously difficult to do cosmetic effects for a class that revolves around shapeshifting, but I'm grateful that Blizzard's continuing to add something for forms. I can't wait to see the bear and moonkin armor. (Do moonkin even need armor?)

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: An easier rotation for balance druids in Mists of Pandaria

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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 teach our treants how to charge their lasers.

Last week, we covered the issues that moonkin were having in Cataclysm. Happily, I'm able to say that the new design for Mists of Pandaria has corrected many of the glaring issues that I identified. While numbers remain fluid, of course, there's been some large quality-of-life fixes that have made moonkin much easier to play for the newcomer. I'm afraid, however, that somethings still remain that could use a tweak.

A simplified rotation

DoT abilities reworked First, while the mechanic of Moonfire becoming Sunfire while in a Solar Eclipse remains, both spells now have separate timers and no longer overwrite each other. This means that you can cast a Moonfire before entering Solar Eclipse, then cast Sunfire (with the same button, yay) and have two DoTs ticking for damage on the target.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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