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Posts with tag balance

WoW Insider Weekly News Update for Dec. 16, 2011

The WoW Insider Weekly News Update is your source for all the biggest stories from the past week wrapped up in a neat little video package. Mathew McCurley hosts your quick look at this week's biggest news.

If you haven't already subscribed to the WoW Insider YouTube channel, you should!

This week's top stories include: Win a Nightsaber Cub loot card from WoWTCGLoot! Here's how to enter: Subscribe to the WoW Insider YouTube channel and comment on the video over on YouTube for a chance to win! We'll contact our winner via YouTube on Friday, Dec. 23.

Filed under: Podcasts, Podcasting, WoW Insider Show

Blood Sport: How will patch 4.3 impact PvP?

WoW Insider covers the world of player vs. player action in Blood Sport for fans of battleground, world PvP and Arena play. Steering you to victory is Olivia Grace, who spends most of her time in Azeroth as a restoration shaman turning people into frogs.

With patch 4.3 imminent and Arena season 10 due to end Nov. 29, it seems reasonable to assume the patch will appear in early December. While you're racing to get your team into title range, get that last piece of gear, or just running laps of your capital city, you might be thinking forward to the arrival of the patch and wondering what your fate will be in PvP as the nerf bat winds up for another swing. Firstly, let's deal with some housekeeping.

Conquest points, the PvP equivalent of valor points, will now be far, far easier to earn from ordinary Battlegrounds. The first daily Battleground win will now award 100 conquest points, up from 25, and wins after that will award 50 conquest point, up from, well, none! The conquest cap will remain, so while it will still be far quicker to reach it through Arena, it will also be attainable via Battlegrounds of the non-rated variety. This makes it far easier for solo players to build up the resilience numbers people often demand (fairly or otherwise) for access to Arena and Rated Battleground teams or just to gear for Battlegrounds.

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Filed under: PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

Cataclysm Beta: Balance druid changes

Blizzard snuck in another beta build last night, and it was more than a little exciting for the balance druid side of the world. Although I wouldn't say that druids or balance in particular were the "primary" focus of this build, as paladins have been in the past few builds while Blizzard fixes the new holy power mechanic, it certainly held quite a number of changes that we've been looking forward to for a long time. I've dawdled on long enough, though, so let's just get right on with it.

Spell changes
  • Faerie Fire range increased to 35 yards, up from 30 yards
  • Insect Swarm range increased to 40 yards, up from 35 yards
  • Starfire range increased to 40 yards, up from 35 yards
  • Entangling Roots range increased to 35 yards, up from 30 yards
  • Moonfire range increased to 40 yards, up from 35 yards
  • Wrath range increased to 40 yards, up from 35 yards
  • Cyclone cast time increased to 2 seconds, up from 1.5 seconds
  • Thorns now lasts 20 seconds, down from 10 minutes; damage increased by 1,400%
  • Wild Mushroom is now limited to 3 mushrooms, down from 5

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Cataclysm

Addon Spotlight: Grab bag

Addon Spotlight focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your addons folder will never be the same. This week, Addon Spotlight reaches into the addon grab bag and pulls out some delicious randomness for you.

Looking over all the columns here on WoW.com must be amazing for you Cataclysm information hounds. All that cool new art, talent trees getting changed like crazy, new races and sound files ... Too bad you'll find no Cataclysm stuff in Addon Spotlight. Not yet, anyway -- addons are currently disabled in the beta. For us addon junkies, then, we can only sit back, relax, drink 30 cans of Arnold Palmer and drift the night away. Or, I can recommend some addons. Both work for me.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Shifting Perspectives: Dungeon leveling as balance

Every Friday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting balance druids and those who group with them. This week we are going back in time once again to visit those pesky little dungeons. Do you have what it takes to make or break a group?

Greetings and salutations once again my fine, feathered friends. No superfluous pomp or wayward attacks on ferals in the opening this week; instead, I want to jump right into the topic at hand. As I've mentioned for a couple of weeks now, I've recently transferred my balance druid to a new server, forsaking all of my alts along with the ride, and because of that, I am in the process of leveling a host of new toons. Although most of them are still back in Azeroth, I've got a few now that are into Outland and Northrend. You see, back in the pre-60 content, I very rarely expect much out of players. They might be new, having never played their class before, and thus still learning all the different ins and outs of how to play. Not to mention, a lot of classes don't always have the best of tools to perform the jobs that they wish to at earlier stages in the game -- just ask me how attempting to tank Ragefire Chasm using a paladin before getting Righteous Fury or Consecration went.

Even still, once you hit The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King content, I gain a certain amount of expectation of what a player should know. Perhaps I am nothing more than an elitist prick, but it is no longer cute nor humorous having to teach a warrior that, yes, they need to be in Defensive Stance and use Thunder Clap in order to tank, or that using AoE spells against one or two targets is highly ineffective, not to mention inefficient, and you would really be better off just sticking to one target at a time in that situation. Don't get me wrong, I rarely tell these people anything -- well, except for the tank thing, because my mage is terrible at doing that -- instead I usually just sigh and get frustrated at my computer screen. The thing that gets me the most, however, is what I see balance druids doing.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Soloing as a balance druid

Every Friday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting balance druids and those who group with them. This week we are showing that we are so much better than every other druid out there. Oh yeah!

Brothers and sisters of the owl, I have a confession to make. I have stood before you to make claims many a time over about the superiority of balance in comparison to its lowly cousin feral combat. Today, I have to admit that there is one thing, just one thing, that these beasts are better than us at, that being taking hits in the face. Although I am unsure whether this unique ... gift is really a boon (after all, considering one's capacity to sustain several blows to the head seems an odd thing to me), yet it is this benefit of theirs that makes them slightly more apt at being able to solo older content. Let's face it, my friends, if you want to go farm Molten Core or BC heroics, you're pretty much far better off being a feral druid than you are as balance; even still, I caution against despair.

Feral druids might be better at soloing certain content than balance druids are, but we are certainly far from helpless in the endeavor. Balance druids, too, can solo some of the more perilous quests, farm old content that was once classified as difficult, and get our hands on virtually any prize that we wish. To that end, I would like to present to you this guide to soloing various content throughout World of Warcraft in hope that one day all shall see that balance really is better than feral -- because, let's face it, in the choice between a slack-jawed, untamed beast and a highly intelligent, silly-looking, destructive force of nature, I think it is rather clear which one is the better option.

Before I begin, I would just like to say one thing. This is actually going to be something of a work in progress. If you have any interest in soloing content at all or to hear how other druids are soloing content, then keep a watch on this article, because I'm going to be spending additional time going out into the world to test many a different theories on what works and what doesn't. I will be starting off with some of the bigger challenges out there, but there are also more to go and explore. If you have a tale you'd like added, or there's a particular encounter you'd like for me to attempt to solo, then drop me an email and it shall be done. And now ... on with the show!

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Wrath Retrospective: What we learned from death knights


With the final content patch of this expansion on our doorstep and Cataclysm following close behind, we'll be taking the next several weeks to look back on Wrath of the Lich King and everything that made it what it is, for better or for worse, in Wrath Retrospective.

Wrath of the Lich King
is coming to an end, and with it one of the largest experiments that Blizzard has ever done in the history of WoW. At the onset of this expansion, we were all introduced to a new class; the death knight. The addition of a new class has major complications on the game as a whole: how they fit into PvE, how they work in PvP, what buffs and debuffs they bring, what roles they fill, what unique utility that they provide. All of these things have changed the face of the game as we know it. though fairly new arrivals, death knights have been integrated into the game almost seamlessly; the craters that they made when they first arrived, however, are still highly visible to those that know where to look.

There were a lot of misconceptions about death knights when they were first released. Once they were announced, Blizzard classified them as being a hero class, not to be confused with your ordinary, run-of-the-mill class. To many people, this caused worry that death knights would be grossly overpowered and far superior to all of the others. Blizzard was quick to point out that this was not the case, but it did little to assuage many of the fears that players had. Still, death knights have had their ups and their downs all throughout this expansion, and if that is not a case for removing then from hero status then I don't know what is.

What can we learn from death knights? What has all of the work done with the significant re-balancing changes and the major talent changes taught us about WoW in general? How can we apply that knowledge to all of the other classes in the game? That is what I wish to explore to day, and I hope that you will join me.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Shifting Perspectives: Mana in Cataclysm

Every Friday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting balance druids and those who group with them. This week we are taking a look into the concept of mana and the changes that it will undergo in the next expansion. Time for fun!

Last week I made a pretty stern comment that I did not want to discuss leaked alpha content. I am still holding true to that principle; however, that does not mean that I am against speaking about things which have already been released, which is why I wish to talk about mana regeneration this week. As with all of my Cataclysm articles at this point, everything contained herein is pure speculation existing in a void of what-if. I do not work for Blizzard, I do not know Blizzard's design goals; I only know what the rest of you know that post of the forums know.

Mana is a very important resource mechanic. I want to bring attention to this thread that is currently running in the damage-dealing forums that has so far held a lot of very good discussion on the topic of mana. Mayeli makes a number of very good points, but most important of all is that this view is very consistent with Blizzard's views on how mana regeneration is going to work in Cataclysm. I am sure most of you remember this following post by my favorite dragonling two months ago, right?


Eyonix
Spirit - Come Cataclysm, this stat should only be found on healing gear. Non-healing casters will have other systems in place to regenerate mana, and we are designing special solutions for Elemental shaman and Balance druids who often share gear with healers (more on this below). Raid buffs that currently boost Spirit (such as Blessing of Kings) will only boost the primary stats of Stamina, Strength, Agility, and Intellect. We are also likely changing the five-second rule and other quirks of the current regen system.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Moonkin, a history


Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we are dusting off those moldy tomes we have stuffed away in our forgotten bookcases. Mold can be deadly, you know! Plus, you know, we might actually read those someday.

To start randomly off topic, is anyone else a fan of the show Greek? I was for the first few seasons, but, like most things, I eventually lost interest in the story arcs and characters. As much as I do love some shows, I am exactly like a cat with string and shiny objects. Anyway, if you did ever watch the show Greek, then I'm sure you remember the character Cappie. My college life was quite similar to his. Not at all really. I wasn't in a fraternity, I didn't binge drink every single night and I didn't have horribly complex, awkward and pissy relationship strings. We did have one thing in common, sorta. Cappie was notorious for his line of "I was an X major once" after any insightful comment he actually made. Though I didn't change majors at the drop of a hat, only switched once actually, I did coin a similar phrase during my time. "I dated an X major once" was something I was often heard saying when I made any reference to something outside of my own field; and let's face it, the depths of literary content don't often come up in normal conversation.

A brief repose into my past may seeming meaningless, but I swear I have a point to this story. You see, I dated a history major once, so I picked up a few things about the subject. Perhaps that's a lie, given that I don't actually recall any deep form of discourse occurring between us. What I do know is the history of balance druids, though. That's a subject I'm well versed in. As history majors are often noted for saying, at least I've been told they are noted for saying it since I don't recall my history major ever making the comment, "We must understand our past in order to create a better future." Normally I'd call rubbish, but there is a note of wisdom there. It is important to know something past. Even though knowing and the application of knowledge are two entirely different points, I did date a philosophy major after all so I should know, the one thing that history can give us is perspective.

With little fanfare, I would like to present to you a CliffsNotes version of the history of balance druids.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Balance post-starpocalypse

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. Today we step into the muddled love life of Murmurs and discover that he's returned with one of his exes. Starfall is back in style once again, and everyone wants to be on the winning team.

If you thought that this post was going to be about the new, totally rad druid changes, then you will be completely disappointed. Such trivialities are so far beneath my station that I wouldn't even waste my time with such refuse. I kid. I'm giddy as a schoolgirl on candy laced with illegal substances right now. I am serious about this article not being about the druid changes, though. Instead, it's going to be all about the new love in my life. The apple of my eye, the yin of my yang, the Hooch of my Turner. If you're thinking about Lady GaGa right now, then stop. The court order was very specific that I'm not allowed within 50 miles of her any more. Instead I've moved on, or rather back, to my old flame Starfall.

By now I am sure that there are plenty of people that have grown tired of me ranting on about my love for Starfall. To those people, I say this: Get over it! Okay, okay, seriously though, pending any new drastic shifts in the space-time continuum, this will be my last post about Starfall. I'm going to get all of my expressions of love for it out of my system in one go. Without further ado, let my mushy, gross, open-mouth tongue-kissing of Starfall begin.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

WoW, Casually: A spring invitation to students who raid


Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. This week we invite raiders who are in school to join us and try out being a casual.

Because our esteemed editor-in-chief was on NPR's "On Point" last week, I gave it a listen. As expected, the show took a few calls from people who are completely incapable of balancing their work and playtime -- people whose lives were "ruined by WoW." There was also the person who said that "you can't do anything without 24 other people," which we know is absolutely not the case. And the one that really caught my attention: the psychologist who gets panicked calls every spring from parents whose teens are playing so much WoW that they aren't going to pass.

It fascinates me that this is seasonal and also so last-minute. Additionally, I am curious as to whether there are other activities that get in the way during the spring that psychologists also get frantic calls about. I remember it being so hard to focus in the spring while in school -- even in a climate that doesn't have seasons. Summer is looming on the horizon with vacation, new opportunities and huge life changes. We're just looking for distractions at that time. For graduating students, it's called senioritis and it's been called that long before we had computers in our homes to play games. Regardless, it's an issue. But rather than risk screwing up opportunities for the rest of your life just to keep up with your raiding, it's time to give being casual a try. Here's why and how.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

Shifting Perspectives: Moonkin mailbag

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. After a week of being under the weather, we're back with to explore the depths of Murmurs' mailbox and to find out just how much junk he really has in his trunk.

It's another week. Another week and I still don't have my 'OP' version of Starfall to play around with. Do you have any idea how upset this makes me? I mean, honestly, all I really want to do right now is slap on my PvE gear and run screaming through the Horde turtle in AV and watch as Starfall obliterates everything in my path. Is that asking too much? Since I don't have legions of dead Horde bodies to entertain me at the moment, I thought it would be a fantastic time to go in and check my e-mail for a change. That was a mistake.

Apparently, it is not a good idea to rely solely on filters for people that you know in order to view your mail. I mean, sure, I get all the important stuff, but after my week of doing nothing but laying in bed all day long, I came back to see that I had officially broken g-mails load limit. Okay, not really, but I did have well over 2,000 unread messages. That's a lot, like, a lot a lot. Unfortunately, that's far too many for me to ever catch up on if I plan on ever eating, sleeping, working, or bathing again - and, let me tell you, I love to do those things. In an effort to not quit my day job - or get fired from it due to not being awake and smelling like I crawled out of a sewer - instead of attempting to reply to each e-mail individually, I'll address many of the most comment topics in one stroke of the key. Alright, so, there will probably be many key strokes involved in this plan, but there will be a lot less than if I did it the other way around.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Changing Nature's Grace


Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we're heading back into the world of nasty, little over-budget talents bothering balance druids as we fight to save our 1 keys from total disaster.

It's been a harsh week in my little corner of the world. Between attempting to get up for work, falling back down to sleep for 5 more hours, taking medications that I can't even pronounce the names of, and several other unpleasant things that have been plaguing me for the past five days; there's been little time for actual coherent thought in my life. So forgive me if this week's article is a little short (I can already hear people cheering) and slightly confusing. I promise to try and make this post as readable as possible, but I am bound to ramble on incoherently at some point; though I'm not entirely sure how that's any different from normal.

Last week, Shifting Perspectives took at look at the various possibilities for changing Eclipse. This week, that trend will continue as we explore ways in which or other problem, if less vilified, talent can be adjusted. Yes, folks, I'm talking about Nature's Grace. This long-standing talent that has been a staple in balance builds since WoW was released. Much like Eclipse, Ghostcrawler has already stated that Nature's Grace is high on the list to be changed. Also like Eclipse, many people wonder why Nature's Grace hasn't already been changed as it is so problematic. While Ghostcrawler mentions it's a big deal, many people fail to understand how big of a deal Nature's Grace really is.

Nature's Grace is an awesome talent. It is a tad over-budget, but not nearly as much as Eclipse is, and, honestly, having an over-budget talent here or there isn't necessarily a terrible thing in of itself. The only thing that plagues Nature's Grace is how easily it allows for Wrath to be GCD capped. Again, though, this isn't so terrible of a prospect in of itself. After all, this is a mechanic that balance druids have been dealing with since haste was introduced into the game. Wrath ramming into GCD issues like the Titanic hitting an iceberg only became problematic when balance druids also failed to turn just a little to the left during patch 3.2. Prior to patch 3.2, Wrath was maybe only 10% of our overall damage done, so any scaling issues that it had was fairly trivial. When patch 3.2 came around and Wrath jumped from 10% of our damage, or less, to being 40% or more of our damage, the scaling issues became a real problem.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Tom Chilton explains early WoW class balance (or lack thereof)

We see a fair amount of pining for "the way things used to be" in this community -- rose-colored hindsight that is, by all accounts, horribly wrong. Maybe you enjoyed the sense of wonder upon going through the game the first time. That's completely understandable. But no one really enjoyed running Molten Core. Or the old honor system. Or the horrible class balance and several patently useless talent trees at launch.

Speaking of, I wonder if there's anybody that could shed some light on that last bit. Maybe Tom Chilton, the lead Game Director could, in his latest interview on the five-year anniversary mini-site.

As it turns out, Chilton was brought in in early 2004 to work on the PvP portion of the game, but ended up handling a lot more when the honor system was put on hold to handle more pressing concerns, like making gameplay interesting.
"From April until the game shipped, the vast majority of my time was spent working on the design for the auction house, the mail system, and implementing the talent trees for every class. I was the only person available to do that -- our other class designer, Kevin Jordan, was mainly focused on ensuring that all of the classes had spells and abilities up to level 60, and managing the flow of when you'd get which ability. Kevin and I, and Rob Pardo, and Mike Heiberg from the StarCraft team, all worked on that part of the game. It was exciting, but it was weird -- my experience with some of the classes was making a character of that class on an internal server, playing it up to level 10 to get a feel for how the class played, and starting to make 60 levels worth of talents. A lot of my early experience was trying to get familiar with every class."
Kind of explains a lot, doesn't it? Like Lacerate, for example. People who complain about balance nowadays really have no idea how bad it used to be, or how much Blizzard's process for fixing it has improved. Chilton goes into more detail about WoW's early development in his full interview on the Battlecry site.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Interviews

Cataclysm: Stats and system changes for balance druids


Moonkin form may not be able to fly, but this balance druid is still up on cloud nine. It's another bright new shiny day in the World of Warcraft, and our feathery friend (you did know that Eyonix plays a balance druid, right?) made a post of epic proportions. How does it fair for us? Well, let's have a gander shall we?
  • Spirit is being completely removed from caster DPS gear in the next expansion. Caster DPS will no longer have to rely on the atrocious spirit stat for their mana regeneration, instead non-healers will have other methods of regaining their mana within combat. The latter part of this change is already true for PvE balance druids. Instead of spirit, we rely entirely on our crits to keep our damage flow pumping. I would expect that this is the type of system that Blizzard is going to go with, although it will probably be heavily adjusted since total dependence on the mana return from crits wasn't obtainable until higher levels of gear.
More after the break.

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Filed under: Druid, Cataclysm

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