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Posts with tag balance-druid

Warlords of Draenor: Major balance druid changes on the way

I have two druids, one Alliance, one Horde -- in fact, the Alliance druid was the first character I ever made. That said, while I initially tried my hand at healing with my first druid, these days, I usually just use the characters for farming purposes. Let's face it, there's nothing better than flight form for nabbing pesky herbs or mining nodes. I will, however, occasionally run a dungeon or a scenario -- and when I do, I'm in cat form. It's the default choice as far as I'm concerned, and I do enough damage to get by, although nobody in their right mind could claim I have more than a bare, passing knowledge of the spec.

But I never could get into playing a balance druid. At first it was the fact that I began playing a druid before balance druids were even something remotely feasible to play. Then I was drawn to other classes, and by the time I got back to the druid, balance looked like a complicated impossibility to learn. Apparently I was not alone in this assessment, as balance druids are headed for some massive changes according to the latest iteration of patch notes from the Warlords of Draenor alpha.

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Filed under: Druid, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard's new level 90 crash-course videos

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Blizzard has released 11 instructional videos designed to give a new level 90 a quick and dirty introduction to their class. The title is perhaps a bit misleading, because these are not complete class overviews. Instead, each video focuses on a particular specialization of that class--and specifically, a DPS specialization. The specs featured are: Frost death night, Balance druid, Survival hunter, Arcane mage, Windwalker monk, Retribution paladin, Shadow priest, Combat rogue, Elemental shaman, Destruction warlock, and Arms warrior.

If you've got a brand-new 90 that you're still figuring out, or if you're looking to busy yourself learning a new aspect of your class before Warlords of Draenor, these might be of interest to you. It is nice to see a Blizzard-sponsored guide for specs such as the Balance druid, which I personally find annoyingly complicated to play, but I'm a bit puzzled by the extremely specific nature of the videos. Are there going to be further guides for tanking and healing specs? Or for the DPS specs not covered here, such as Affliction warlocks, Fury warriors, Feral druids, Subtlety rogues, and more? I think videos like this that come straight from the horse's mouth of Blizzard are a great idea, but it's strange to see a set of them that feels so incomplete. Still, if you're toying with the idea of learning one of the specs covered, the videos are a good place to start.

Filed under: News items

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: 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: 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: 5 moonkin issues that need fixing

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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 fast and furry.

Well, it's happened again. Once more, I intended for this week to be a first look at balance druids in Mists of Pandaria, but as I wrote the article, I felt that much of it was lacking the proper context. Since we haven't had a moonkin post around here in some time, I'd like to step back briefly and discuss some of the issues with the specialization that were identified going into the new expansion. Next week, we'll discuss the changes Blizzard is implementing on the beta and how they fix (or don't fix!) the issues I've described here.

Overpowered AoE/multitarget rotation For the majority of the expansion, balance druids were one of the best AoE DPS classes in the game. This was due largely to two factors, the relative strength of the moonkin DoT abilities plus Wild Mushroom and the ability to remain in a Solar Eclipse nearly indefinitely during AoE phases to buff those two abilities (aka solarcleave). Even for non-AoE fights, it was still very easy for moonkin to supplement their damage on their primary target with DoTs on a secondary target. Heroic Morchok and Warmaster Blackhorn are excellent examples of this for this tier.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Another look at what Symbiosis means for 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 disagree with the world while glorying in the real-life beauty of symbiosis.

So my plan for this week's column was to talk about how balance currently looks in the beta (short version: pretty good), but judging by a quick scan through the beta forums, that's not what druids want to talk about. It's Symbiosis, all the way down ... and judging by the discussion, most people don't like what they're seeing. Allison's already written about it once before, but the topic's grown enough to where it deserves another treatment. (My blog contains a full breakdown of what each class currently gets and receives from the ability, along with more in-depth recommendations and strategy.)

I'll be blunt: I still love the unique concept of Symbiosis, and I think most of the criticism is shortsighted. I do have quibbles about some of the specific abilities. Overall, though, I think that the concept works and will provide access to some entertaining abilities we haven't had previously.

To be fair, however, let's look at some of the more common arguments against Symbiosis and attempt to deconstruct them. One important thing to note: Many of the abilities gained/given from Symbiosis are modified from their original forms, so read tooltips carefully (and realize that many are not updated). The Symbiosis version of Mirror Image, for example, is much weaker than the version used by mages.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Mega moonkin, fabu ferals, and Symbiosis specs

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 how fast to deny hunters Symbiosis in exchange for all those taming attempts.

This is apropos of nothing, but I love how the current Incarnation effect for balance druids simply makes them huge. (For comparison, here's the before image, and thanks to Lissanna at Restokin for the screenshots.) This totally reminds me of the first time I got a Mega Mushroom in New Super Mario Bros, actually. "Yes, I'm just going to walk through everything in the level; maybe I'll pick my teeth with the flagpole."

Sadly, this effect isn't going to make it to live. Happily, though, we've got plenty of other stuff to talk about this week, such as several new glyphs and a mostly complete reveal of Symbiosis.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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