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Posts with tag bear-form

Blizzard responds to feral druid Savage Defense concerns

Savage Defense, the tanking feral druid's absorption mechanic, is undergoing some changes in patch 4.1 to ramp up its effectiveness to be on par with the mitigation mechanics of other tanks. Forum blue Daxxarri responded to one player's concern that the new implementation of Savage Defense isn't working out so hot. The response discusses client latency, the appearance of shields working or not, and how the combat log displays certain types of information.

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Filed under: Druid

Cataclysm: Reaching uncrittable

For those of you who don't know much about tanking, we're going to talk quickly about a stat that won't exist in Cataclysm. This lowly stat is called defense rating, and it's something that tanks need quite a bit of. The nice thing is that it's on just about everything that tanks wear, which means at higher gear levels, we've got it coming out of our ears. The primary point of this stat is to reduce the critical strike ability for incoming melee hits from the standard of 6% to 0%. Druids currently don't need this stat, as they've got a talent called Survival of the Fittest, which means that bosses don't need to drop defense leather.

All in all, the stat is kinda boring, as while it does still do nice things after you reach the defense cap of 690 rating (or 540 skill), most people don't bother with it and stack stamina or other avoidance. So Blizzard decided that they're going to get rid of it.

Around BlizzCon 2009, we were told that the crit reduction we formerly got from defense rating was going to be tied into things that were available to all members of each tanking class. Examples used were baking it into Bear Form for druids, Righteous Fury for paladins, Defensive Stance for warriors and Frost Presence (or rather, Blood Presence in Cataclysm) for death knights. That means that if a retribution paladin or arms warrior wanted to tank, all he'd need to do was swap to vaguely appropriate gear (or just over to a sword and shield), pop his respective abilities, and away he'd go. That's not how it appears things went down, though.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight

Shifting Perspectives: Leveling 10-20 and how to spec


Every week, Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we begin to enjoy our brand-new Bear and Cat forms in earnest.

Hail and well met, Druids. I apologize for my lack of comments on the last Shifting Perspectives, but I was away that week on vacation with abysmal hotel wireless. After spending 20 minutes trying to send a single reply, I gave up and decided that my time on vacation was better spent gorging myself on the offerings of the resort's culinary school. 4 days of coquilles St. Jacques, filet mignon, and venison sausage in puff pastry left me unable to move, but fortunately I have recovered sufficiently to roll myself, Violet Beauregarde-style, in the direction of the laptop for today's column.

Levels 10 through 20 will be among your most interesting and frustrating as a Druid, and they're certainly among the most volatile; as of patch 3.2, you will gain 4 of the Druid's possible forms within these levels, with the biggest alteration to your playstyle likely to occur at 20 with Cat form. Be forewarned that this resulted in a fairly lengthy, 3-part article.

Ready to go?

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Leveling, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Old Druid bear and cat form models removed in patch 3.2


This is no surprise, but the new bear and cat models (which you can see in the gallery below) are going to be the only bear and cat models as of patch 3.2. You won't be able to keep the old models even if you want to – Zarhym confirmed it in a post from last night.

Complaining aside, I don't think many people will mind too much (although a few surely will). The new Night Elf cat forms are not my favorite, but I do think they're better than the old one. I wouldn't use the old one if it was available (I'll be Drama Club Cat, thank you very much). And the old models would look incongruous next to the new high-detail ones.

Thus a long era will end, as we proceed into the round-pawed future. While we try to forget our hideous forever-open mouths, remember the lessons of Alamo. Durids is very storng, and durids is must always halp eech other. And ultimately, every1 is like a fun time durid!!

Filed under: Druid, Patches, Fan stuff

Night Elf Druid bear forms revealed


Thank heavens for Twitter. Twitterer @kreeoni tweeted a scoop detailing the Night Elf Druid bear forms following the exciting revelation of Tauren Druid bear forms yesterday. And oh boy... do they look spiffy. I particularly like the fellow on the lower right, with the Spike-like white stripe and matching sideburns. Our girl Allison is already jumping up and down from excitement (or is it envy? I can't tell with Tauren females...), probably impatient that we don't have the cat forms yet. But here you go, savor the first look at these new Druid bear forms with nastier growls and face paint. Man, Druids get excited over the tiniest things...

UPDATE: Apparently, Allison was jumping up and down from, uh, being underwhelmed. She's kind of weird that way.

ALLISON UPDATE
: Hey, I am totally whelmed here. Maybe they're less a shock to the senses after the initial change to Tauren bear form!

Filed under: Night Elves, Druid, News items

Shifting Perspectives: A brief history of time

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we plagiarize from Stephen Hawking, jack a WABAC Machine, and begin a joyride through the evolution of the Druid class.

Dear Blizzard,

There are too many bosses to write about in Ulduar. I find this vexing. Please eliminate 5.

Sincerely,

Sleepless in Silithus


Salutations, Druids. As is probably obvious, we're going to take a detour out of Ulduar class strategy this week, because I'm going to shoot myself if I have to write about another boss I haven't been able to smack around since the PTR. We'll be back for Freya, Thorim, and assorted vaguely Norse-sounding entitites wishing to destroy the world for some unspecified reason but they drop phat lewtz so who cares next week.

Anyway, one of the things that's fascinated me about the Druid class since Burning Crusade is the growth in its popularity. Historically we have never been among the more commonly-played classes, and for a wide swathe of classic WoW and BC, were actually the least-played class or within the bottom 3. While there are various reasons for this (and I could devote a column to how this probably happened), Druids became more popular as time went on, and an increasing number of people began to play the class without knowing just how far it's come.

A little time spent reading through Wowwiki's list of the game's patches makes for interesting reading. A little more than 5 years ago, Druids could Feign Death, the Feral 31-point talent was Improved Pounce, and Moonkin form wasn't even in a gleam in a designer's eye.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Humor, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

New Druid looks are still incoming

Hidden deep in this thread, under layers of back and forth about the 1000g dual spec charge, whether it will ruin the economy, and Zarhym's worries about getting four of his wisdom teeth taken out (get well soon, buddy -- make sure to ride the great drugs they give you for as long as you can), is this little nugget: new Druid form models are still being worked on.

It's definitely been a big request for a long time, and surely even the devs have seen the awesome work of artists like Andrige to update and enhance the models currently in the game. Zarhym says artists are "very actively working" on redesigning the Druid models, and that "it's way beyond being an idea at this point." He doesn't think they'll show up as soon as 3.1 (and neither do we), but he says that it's in progress. You have to think, then, that there's concept art, if not working models somewhere ready to go into the game in the future. Excellent news for Druids seeking a slightly more updated look than what they've had since the game began.

Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Classes, Fan art

Shifting Perspectives: Let my kitties go!


Every Tuesday/Wednesday/some sort of day occurring midweek, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week Allison Robert yanks John Patricelli's column again, hoping to make good on a threat previously made concerning her "dissatisfaction" with Tauren cat form. And by dissatisfaction she might mean something else.

I'll level with you; we have a huge Druid post in the pipeline that's going to round up the changes to the class in Wrath, new talents, new skills, new everything, and frankly I'm sick to death about reading or writing anything having to do with the expansion. So, just to buck the overwhelming trend that threatens to drive us all to the nuthouse, I'm going to turn to a topic that's plagued Druids for a while.

By this I mean the perennial form issue, something that my Druid colleagues on the blog have previously termed the Same Old Animal Posterior, or SOAP. But it's one that we've been given reason to believe will change in...Wrath. Well, that didn't last long. You'll note that David's article was written in October 2007, more than a year ago, but the same thing could have been posted in 2006 as well. Druid forms haven't changed since launch*, and while they were never really at the cutting edge of Blizzard's art direction as a result**, they look more and more shabby in relation to the higher-polygon models and landscapes. As everything around you gets better and better -- more evocative lighting, more intricate details, fantastic animation -- it's hard not to feel a strange sense of displacement as you shift into a 2004 form within a 2008 game.

But at long last we may see Druid form customization, an overhaul to the default forms themselves, or possibly (hopefully?) both.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Features, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Tips for new Death Knights from a fellow tank, part 2


Dear corpsified bundles of beautifully-armored joy (but more particularly those who tank Azjol Nerub while wearing Expedition Bracers of the Bandit),

We had a little bit of controversy in the first installment, so I'm just going to state this as baldly as possible; if you hated what I wrote last time, there's a good chance you'll walk away from this one thinking I eat babies. Delicious, delicious babies. While I never mean to offend people, I reserve the right to tell them the truth, or at the very least a highly entertaining and plausible lie.

Truth, she be at times an ugly mistress. And she ain't gettin' any prettier as we move from DPS to tanking.

Tanks have significantly more responsibility, both in groups and raids, and they face the competing directives of maximizing mitigation (to keep their healers happy) and maximizing threat production (to keep their DPS happy). I've healed dozens of Death Knight tanks at this point, and while the average pugged DK tank has gotten noticeably better, there are still a few trends you'd want to be aware of as a healer. The problems in beta right now are made worse by Blizzard unintentionally overselling the ease of tanking on a Death Knight in 5-man runs. Many people seem to have interpreted the statement that they should be able to tank well with Blood, Frost, or Unholy specs as being tantamount to saying they can tank well regardless of how their talent points are spent in those trees.

Any experienced tank can tell you right now that this is not true, but people believing that it is is how you wind up with 11K-life Death Knights taking 7-8K enraged hits from Keristasza in the Nexus. If you've never tanked before but you're interested in tanking on a Death Knight -- or pragmatic enough to know you'll probably wind up tanking a certain number of 5-mans on your DPS Death Knight -- I hope this article helps you avoid what I went through in May 2007 when I started tanking and sucked at it.

I came to the beta to slowly lose my mind trying to heal insane tank damage and gulp Extra Strength Tylenol. And I'm all out of Extra Strength Tylenol.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Expansions, Features, Humor, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Shifting Perspectives: Dude, where's my armor?

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week John Patricelli, the Big Bear Butt Blogger, takes a brief look at the changes to Feral Bear armor in the upcoming Patch 3.0.

Welcome back, my furry, feathery and barky brothers and sisters!

Last week, I did a brief rundown of the many ways the Feral Druid mechanics are going to change in Patch 3.0 and Wrath of the Lich King.

This week, I'm going to touch briefly on the changes to tanking changes and bear armor in general, and how they may change the way we view our class.

Oh, and by the way... finding a picture of a slightly stoned-looking bear wasn't as easy as I expected. The lengths I'll go to for a joke!

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Berserk (bear) buffed

Yesterday, we were promised that more news was coming on Berserk (for bears), and now we have not only that, but some bonus changes for extra fun. I really appreciate how communicative the devs have been during this beta process. What's in store?
  • Faerie Fire (Feral) is going to be a core ability. This doesn't make much of a difference for feral druids, since we tended to pick it up anyway and we'll probably pick up the talent that's replacing it (more on that in a moment), but it will be nice for other specs, I suppose.
  • FFF is getting replaced with a talent that gives the Last Stand component of Berserk (temporarily grants 30% of your maximum health), but usable in both cat and bear form.
  • Berserk for bears is getting reworked as follows: last stand component split off as detailed above; Mangle goes back to hitting three targets; Maul doesn't, but it doesn't matter, because for the duration of Berserk, Mangle has no cooldown (aside from the GCD). Fear immunity is still there as well. Cat Berserk does not change.
  • Brutal Impact is trading places with Savage Fury to make it harder for non-Ferals to get to; and remember, from yesterday, it now lowers the cooldown of Bash as well as raising its duration.

Oh, and to clarify yesterday's change to Bash (adding a three-second silence): this means it will now interrupt spellcasting even against a stun-immune boss.

Unfortunately, it's not all flowers and happy time in Feral land. Ghostcrawler also had to give us the bad news that barber-shop type customization of druid form skins will not be done in time for Wrath, saying "it's a high priority after Lich King" (which I read as "content patch"). This is pretty disappointing. We still might be able to use glyphs to change the appearance of our forms, but I was really looking forward to a more developed system, and one that didn't cost me a glyph slot.

Filed under: Druid, Wrath of the Lich King

New bear animations for eating and fishing discovered

Everyone knows that bears are actually pretty good fishermen, but for some reason Ferals have to shift back out of form and use a pole like everyone else. That may be changing, however. Andrige, the same person who bought us the new data-mined Hairstyles, has discovered the animations showcased in the above video, which point to the possibility of more life injected into the old Druid Feral forms.

One animation called EmoteEat shows the bear bracing a piece of food against the ground with his paw while tearing off a chunk with his teeth, while another is a fishing animation where the bear looks to be pawing at the water, waiting to slap out a fish. The other exciting thing in the video is the possibility of a closed mouth on my bear! Do you know how many flies he's caught with that constantly open mouth of his?

I logged onto my Druid on the Beta servers to check on the status of the animations. While you can now eat, drink and use potions in Feral forms on Beta, there are still no animations associated with the act (You simply sit down while eating). In addition, you can't fish at all in Feral forms (Trying to cast my line put me back in Night Elf form).

Unfortunately, the fact that these animations haven't been implemented yet does lead me to a bit of pessimistic thought: They simply be meant for bear mobs, and not for Feral bears at all. Blizzard's been adding a lot of cool little idle animations to mobs, such as mama beasts who flush out critters for their cubs to chase and eat, so this may simply be one more set. Still, since they exist, they could easily be added on to the Feral bear's animation list in a future patch even if they aren't originally meant for Ferals. Here's hoping we see them there!

Filed under: Druid, Fishing, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Itemization and the plight of the bear tank in Wrath of the Lich King

One of the biggest concepts coming with Wrath of the Lich King is gear consolidation. Stat are being folded into each other and classes are being changed even on very basic levels so that fewer gear types can work for more classes and specs. Feral Druids have seen this happen as well, with talents such as Survival of the Fittest and Heart of the Wild tweaked so that they can get more benefits from Rogue gear.

Unfortunately, this hasn't worked out that well for bear tanks.

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Filed under: Druid, Rogue, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath Beta patch notes: Feral and Restoration Druids


Continuing on from the analysis of the changes to the Balance druid talent tree, as shown in the first patch notes for the official Wrath of the Lich King Beta, we'll now examine the Feral and Restoration trees.

Feral tree
The Feral tree is seeing changes to limit the benefits that the other two trees, specifically Restoration, can gain from investing a few points into the first few tiers. We are also seeing changes to the ways in which bears will be generating aggro.

The Faerie Fire (Feral) and Feral Charge swap
Feral Charge is currently an 11-point talent into the Feral tree, which contributing to the advantages that Restoration druids currently have in arena. It allows Restoration druids the ability to charge, immobilizing their target and interrupting spells for four seconds.

Instead, Faerie Fire (Feral), which is not something that a Restoration druid would likely spend 11 points to get, will take up the 11-point spot, with Feral Charge taking its place in the tree 21 points in.

In addition, Feral Charge will be usable in cat form, dazing the target and moving the cat behind it. This will help address the concerns that cat form is not especially viable in PvP, although their crit dependency is still a weakness. It will also be useful in dungeons to catch runners and other out of place mobs.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Expansions, Features, Classes, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena

Shifting Perspectives: PvP as a moving target


Every week, John Patricelli of Big Bear Butt presents a well-researched, educational, and entertaining look at the state of the Druid class in WoW today. This week we said, "Screw that," and got someone off the street.

Veronica: Look at you, all helpful.
Logan: Your peskiness being unleashed on Connor brings me joy. Annoy, tiny blonde one! Annoy like the wind!
-- Veronica Mars, "An Echolls Family Christmas"

With apologies to Diane Ruggiero, the writer of the episode quoted above, but I find Logan's snarky comment (did he even have another kind?) to be a perfect, albeit general, means of describing successful Druid PvP.

Let us be frank; I am not, nor am ever likely to be, a hardcore PvPer, and to a great extent this post is directed mostly at people like myself. If you're one of those Druids carrying a 2K+ rating in full Vengeful, then I invite (nay, implore) you to leave comments and corrections based on your own experience, but the article's mostly for regular folks like me, who may not even particularly like PvP but recognize that it is desirable or perhaps necessary, given our ingame goals. As such, most of this applies to battlegrounds, and on a later date we're going to get into arena. Today, we are simply going to talk about how to avoid letting your PvP experience turn you into a miserably unhappy player who would rather undergo an appendectomy via Roto-Rooter than set foot in another EOTS.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, PvP, Guides, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Battlegrounds, Arena

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