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Posts with tag bear

Shifting Perspectives: So. Um, do bears suck?

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week we shelve the column we originally intended to run due to a rather pressing matter.

OK, folks. I have a confession to make. This week's Shifting Perspectives was originally meant to be a full guide to gearing your Restoration Druid at 80, and I'm still going to post that, either this week or next. A lot of people have (correctly, I think) observed that this column has historically paid more attention to Feral than to Restoration or Balance, and it's my aim to balance (har!) that out a bit. Part of it is just that the people who play Druids on staff here at WoW Insider are usually feral, and part of it is that -- at least as of the last numbers we had on it -- most people playing Druids are also feral. I confess I would love to see the demographics on Druids post-Wrath, because I get the sense that Balance in particular has become markedly more popular.

But the Resto post is going to have to wait a few days, not least because my eyes are swimming from so much Wowhead. We found out today that Swipe's threat is getting a significant buff, but over the course of reading the pertinent forum thread and some back-channel discussion here, I ran across a few things concerning bear tanking that really made me sit up after the hell of tanking last night's heroic Old Kingdom and go, "Wait. It's not just me?"

Personally whenever I encounter serious problems in a dungeon I tend to chalk it up to the fact that I suck. I find this to be an efficient and typically accurate means of pinpointing the source of an issue. However, my fellow Druids, our problems may actually be more wide-ranging than that.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Expansions, Features, Classes, Buffs, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Bear armor and FAP changes coming in 3.0.4

Hi, Feral fans! When last we met to talk about a big Ghostcrawler post, he previewed that they were working on changing the bear armor bonus so it didn't work on jewelry, cloaks, and weapons any more, and on doing something about feral attack power (as seen on feral staves). He didn't have details at the time, but said he'd get back to us. As GC is a crab of his word, he's now come back to let us know exactly what's going to happen, and when.

  • Only cloth and leather armor (excluding capes) will benefit from the armor multiplier on bear forms. This means armor from trinkets, rings, necks, and weapons will not be multiplied. However, Survival of the Fittest is gaining the additional effect of adding an additional 22/33/66% to your armor from cloth/leather. Net armor should stay the same.

  • Feral attack power will be removed. Instead, attack power in feral forms will scale based on weapon DPS. As with the armor change, this should make no actual difference to your performance - the conversion will be such that your DPS remains the same. What it does do is make it so some staves might be useful to both hunters and druids (for instance), or some two-handed maces might be useful to feral druids. In Ghostcrawler's words: "This does not mean we are no longer going to create bear and cat weapons, just that those weapons will be slightly less niche than they are now."

These changes will be coming sometime before 3.1 (Ulduar), which I've been referring to as 3.0.4 (though perhaps 3.0.x would be more accurate).

Both great changes in my opinion; the armor change should give us more viable options for tanking jewelry and weapons, instead of being forced to hold on to whatever has armor. And the FAP change will just mean we don't always have to DE a feral piece if the one or two ferals in the raid already have it; and conversely, there won't necessarily be only one weapon in a given raid that's of use to ferals (I'm looking at you, Stranglestaff).

Filed under: Druid, Patches

Big Feral changes coming post-Wrath

We've been hearing rumblings about Feral stuff from Ghostcrawler, but wow. These are some big shake-ups. I'd better get it out on the table before I start raving about it:
  • Bonus armor on items (rings, necklaces, trinkets, and cloaks) will no longer be multiplied by bear forms. So while leather leg armor with 253 armor will still give us about 1190, a ring with 100 bonus armor will only give us 100 (not about 470, as now). Feral staves will no longer have armor. However, armor modifiers will be adjusted as necessary so our net mitigation does not go down.
  • An as-yet undecided deep Feral talent (such as Primal Tenacity) will gain the added effect of reducing the cost of shifting to Cat and Bear by 50%, stacking with Natural Shapeshifter for a total cost reduction of 80%. This will help PvP druids shift cheaper if they want to.
  • Protector of the Pack's group requirement has been dropped. It now simply increases attack power by 2/4/6% and reduces damage taken by 4/8/12%, whenever you're in bear form.
These changes will not be going live with Wrath of the Lich King; instead, they will come in a patch before the 3.1 content patch that introduces Ulduar. Call it 3.0.4 for now.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Wrath of the Lich King

Druid changes in patch 3.0.3


Patch 3.0.3 is here, and it's almost certainly the last patch before Wrath is released next Thursday. Unlike the other eight classes, we've gotten all our talent points refunded, which makes this a good opportunity to switch up your spec if you want to, maybe to whatever you'll be leveling with in Wrath. This isn't really because we got huge changes so much as it is because two of our talents were reduced in the number of ranks [edited for correctness]:
  • Earth and Moon is now 3 ranks for 4/9/13% increased spell damage taken, and increases your spell damage by 1/2/3% (old: 5 ranks for 3/5/8/10/13% increased damage taken from Arcane, Fire, Frost, Nature and Shadow, and increases your spell damage by 1/2/3/4/5%)
  • Moonfury is now 3 ranks for 3/6/10% benefit (was 5 ranks for 2/4/6/8/10%)
Hard to make a change like that without refunding talent points. Further Balance changes:
  • Eclipse's buff duration was raised to 15 seconds and its bonuses doubled, but the cooldown raised from 30 to 40 seconds. Overall a buff to what I still think is an inspired talent. (Although some of this seems to have already been live in 3.0.2? Boomkin, help me out.)
  • Apparently Moonkin were getting way too much mana back from Hurricane, so Moonkin form now only gives mana back from single-target spells.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Talents

Ghostcrawler and the bears

The developers have been communicative to an unprecedented extent (for them) during the final phases of Wrath of the Lich King's development, but several classes and specs still have concerns. One of those is Feral Druids. We've been set up to tank as well as anyone, and DPS as well as most (not with the same spec, but dual specs should make this easy to handle). However, we still have some obvious weak points. For instance, take mana in PvP. Our class's defining feature is our ability to shift between forms, but if we have a puny mana pool (as most Ferals do), we can't do this very often.

Ghostcrawler has a "Feral Q&A" thread up where he answers several questions that he's noticed people asking around the boards. Unfortunately, we're not necessarily going to like a lot of the answers, which (in this blogger's opinion) tend towards "working as intended" and "it's fine, learn to play." To be fair, he gives much more nuanced explanations, but that's the bottom line in most cases. That may be because Feral actually is fine, but I definitely think there are some valid concerns. Protector of the Pack is just goofy the way it is, as well as taking away the fun of being super-durable while out soloing. Swipe should really be 360°; every single other tank class has a 360° AoE, and we don't really have anything to compensate. And don't get me started about feral form customization (which GC says is coming eventually, but they've been saying that for years).

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Filed under: Druid, Wrath of the Lich King

DirecTV replay still available, showing tomorrow

Reader Stephen dropped us a note to let us know that if you missed the DirecTV stream of BlizzCon the first time around, you've got another chance tomorrow: they're going to show the whole thing again starting tomorrow morning. Seems pretty meh to us -- from what we heard, the stream wasn't all that great. And what you missed in terms of official panel information, you can get right from us here on the site. Anybody hear otherwise? Is this worth watching at all?

Of course, even if it's not, there is still one reason to order it, and that is of course the BlizzCon bear. Apparently people who purchase this replay will still get a code good for an ingame bear, and given that the bear and the Starcraft II code from the convention is going for as high as $200 already on eBay, shelling out $40 for just the code might be worth it to you.

And you'll pick up 16 hours of high-quality video along with it -- who wouldn't want to see Ghostcrawler in HD, right?

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King

Maelstrom Weapon, Predatory Instincts tooltips incorrect

I was browsing through Blizzard's updated patch notes for 3.0.2 today, and noticed that apparently two talents that have been patched in don't do what they say. Under "Known Issues," the notes list that the tooltips for the Enhancement Shaman talent Maelstrom Weapon and the Feral Druid talent Predatory Instincts are incorrect. I'll talk about them one at a time.

As far as Predatory Instincts goes, the patch notes say "The tooltip for Predatory Instincts is currently incorrect. This no longer works on Bear Form or Dire Bear Form and now reduces damage by 10/20/30%." I'm going to assume that it still just works on AoE, instead of reducing all damage taken by 10/20/30%, because that would be insanely OP, as much as I'd enjoy my cat form having plate-level mitigation. And I'm not actually surprised they took bear form off of it, because I'm told bear tanking was simply too good in the beta. It does mean there's no use taking it for tanking, though. More points for Infected Wounds or something, I suppose.

On to Maelstrom Weapon. This is actually something that was changed in the beta a while back, and the tooltip just took some time to get updated: Lava Burst is no longer affected by Maelstrom charges (this won't affect us for now, since the first rank of Lava Burst is at level 75). So it looks like you'll be limited to Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning for your instant-cast damage spells, clearly a PvE nerf. Chase actually sees this as a buff for PvP, though - now you can Flame Shock, crit Lava Burst, and instant Lightning Bolt for some serious burst damage.

Filed under: Druid, Shaman, Patches

Polar Bear Mount is live and Bind on Account


If you were lucky enough to get your hands on the Polar Bear Mount loot card from BlizzCon this year (either via attending the con or through DirecTV), then you're in for some happiness tonight if you redeem it.

The redemption now works. You can go to http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/misc/promotion.html and fill out the forum there to get your prize all setup. Take the code that's given to you and head to Ransin Donner in the Forlorn Cavern in Ironforge – not the guy in STV like the page says. Turn in the code to Ransin and you'll be presented with a Bind on Account Polar Bear Mount!

Yes – Bind on Account! That means you can use the mount on any of your characters on the same account. Very cool for those of us with tons of alts.

Take a look at the gallery below for what the polar bear mount looks like. You'll probably see a few of these pop up over the next few days in your travels around Azeroth.

Filed under: News items, Mounts, BlizzCon

3.0.2 for Feral Druids


In a few hours, when the servers come back up, patch 3.0.2 is going to hit, and WoW will change drastically. Every tree is get revamped to a greater or lesser extent, and extended up to 51-point talents. The Feral tree changes, in my opinion, fall somewhere in the middle in terms of how radical of a shake-up they are.

The big change, philosophy-wise, is that we're going to be able to be main tanks or top-tier DPS, on par with the best warriors or rogues. The catch is that we won't be able to do it with the same spec; we can spec to be DPS or tank, and do as well as anyone at those rolls. We can still try to spec somewhere in the middle, but then we'll get back to our old "master of none" status. In my opinion, this is good news, especially considering we'll be getting dual-spec capabilities in 3.1 (the first post-Wrath content patch).

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Filed under: Druid, Patches

Zul'Aman bears to disappear with next content patch

The Zul'Aman bear mount has been a popular treat -- popular enough that folks offer paid runs to get the bear mount. We already knew the chance to get the bear was going away when Wrath comes out. However, in the bad news category, Zarhym revealed over the weekend that bear mounts will no longer be obtainable when the content patch comes out.

While I know a lot of folks already have their bear mounts, in my opinion, this change kind of sucks. I have a small raiding Guild who I've been working with to get our bear mounts (with a few bumps along the way). Since we knew the earliest we'd lose our opportunity would be November, all of our planning has been focused on getting the bears this month and next. And now, that's changed without enough warning to alter our plans. Heck, I can't even plan since all I know about when the patch is coming out is "soon."

To be clear about it, the problem isn't that the chance to obtain the bear is going away. That's fair -- the timed event would be stupid easy after level 70. The problem is that Blizzard set one expectation (when Wrath comes out), and has now vastly reduced the opportunity without warning. That's a problem for me.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Mounts

Druid changes in 8885

The latest beta push, build 8885, had changes for pretty much every class. Druids, of course, were no exception. Balance received the bulk of the changes, though it's mostly on the level of small tweaks. A few talents were moved around in the talent tree. Notably, Insect Swarm has been pushed down two tiers and correspondingly buffed up to 5% reduced chance to hit.

The really interesting part of the Balance tree changes is some great synergy for Resto druids. For instance:

  • New Talent Nature's Splendor (Tier 3): Increases the duration of your Moonfire, Insect Swarm, Rejuvenation, Regrowth, Lifebloom and Flourish spells by 10/20/30%.
  • New Talent Genesis (Tier 1): Increases the damage and healing done by your periodic spells by 1/2/3/4/5%.
  • Focused Starlight renamed Nature's Majesty and now affects Nourish and Healing Touch as well.

Looks like yet another step in the new quest to open up the talent trees and give us more options. Oh, and the Moonkin Aura now hits any raid member within 45 yards. Edit: Nature's Grasp now trainable, 100% chance to hit.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Wrath of the Lich King

Furor buffed for 3.0.2


Do you guys remember yesterday, when I wrote about how the Druid talent Furor was altered to prevent powershifting? Well, if not, that's OK. Furor has just been rewritten again, and this time it has all I asked for and then some. The new Furor reads as follows (with 5/5 talent points in it):

Gives you 100% chance to gain 10 Rage when you shapeshift into Bear and Dire Bear Form, and you keep up to 100 of your Energy when you shapeshift into Cat Form, and increases your total Intellect while in Moonkin form by 10%.

Holy sweet monkeys, Druid fans. Not only is there now no penalty whatsoever for switching in and out of cat form, we get some added Moonkin utility for this already excellent talent. This is one of those days where I just want to hug the devs, all of them.

In case anyone is unclear about how this latest iteration of Furor works, here's a quick rundown (as I understand it). The game will now track your energy regeneration even when not in cat form, like it tracks your mana regen in feral forms now. When you shift back into cat, you'll have whatever amount of energy you would have had if you had just stayed in cat in the first place. Shift out to heal at 80 energy? You'll have 100 when you pop back in, 2 seconds later. Arrive at your destination and switch from flight into cat form? 100 energy to go mangle some faces.

Powershifting is still out, but this is way better for the soloing Druid, not to mention the Moonkin perks. There is some concern that this may be overpowered in PvP: what's to stop you from DPSing in cat till you're at 0 energy, then shifting to bear for 10 seconds to DPS that way, then back to cat? Well, nothing, as far as I know. However, keep in mind that this is still beta, and if ferals end up hideously overpowered in arenas, I'm sure they'll make changes as necessary.

Filed under: Druid, Patches, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Scattered Shots: Pet talent trees in the Wrath Beta

Welcome to another edition of Scattered Shots, the other WoW Insider weekly Hunter column. Daniel Whitcomb is your guest host again this week.

So, we theorized about talented pets a bit quite a few installments of Scattered Shots ago, but now we have the actual trees live and testable on the Wrath Beta, and they seem to be firming up nicely. There's a few promised changes yet to come, such as the removal or lowering of focus costs on many major abilities and talents, and it's still very possible that Blizzard may make changes here and there before live, but I think they're solid enough at this point that we can look at each tree and make some solid predictions about how people will use them and how various talent builds might look.

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Expansions, Raiding, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

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

New mounts discovered in Wrath Beta


MMO Champion has dug up more amazing stuff from the Wrath of the Lich King Beta in the form of new mounts! A full gallery of the mount models are up on their site, and they look very interesting. If you don't manage to get your own Amani War Bear before the expansion hits the shelves, it looks like you'll get another shot at an ursine transport in Northrend. Model previews show several versions of a polar bear mount, from what look like ordinary bears (60% speed increase) to armored bears (100% speed increase) to... double passenger armored bears! Don't ask about the goggles, though.

Are passenger-ready mounts usable anywhere? Or will they be zone-exclusive, similar to the bug mounts in Ahn'Qiraj? There's no way to tell just yet, but MMO Champion also has pictures of a three-passenger Alliance Wooly Mammoth. This means a Horde version is available, too, and likely to be part of a PvP scenario where the two factions have different mount skins. Speaking of PvP scenarios, there are also pictures of new siege vehicles as well as the previously seen Skeletal Gryphon Mount and an odd Blizzcon-tagged bear.

Filed under: Items, Odds and ends, Mounts, Wrath of the Lich King

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