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Posts with tag 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

What's going wrong with tanking in five player content?

Tanking is not always easy, mind you. But tanking can be an incredible amount of fun, and I hope that it'll make a real comeback in terms of popularity when Warlords of Draenor goes live. Right now, I feel like a few problems really keep tanking from being as universally popular as it could be.
  • Difficult to get starting gear - For most people, it's hard to get started as a tank. Gearing is an issue, because some tanks (DKs, warriors and paladins) need specific tanking gear, while even the leather tanks still generally use different stats to some degree, different enchants, different weapons for tanking than DPS or (especially) healing. This is a problem the gearing changes in Warlords should really help with.
  • Where can you learn it? - Tanking requires a different skill set from DPS or healing. While proving grounds exist, they don't really teach the most important part of being a tank - reacting to other players. It can be hard as a new tank to walk into a dungeon having never done it before. That leads into the third difficulty of picking up tanking.
  • Dungeons don't provide any sort of experience right now - With the wildly disparate gear levels on people running random dungeons, you can have a tank in 450 gear trying to hold aggro off of players in 580 gear. While it can be nice to be the tank in 580 gear, even you might have trouble when groups don't cooperate, run ahead of you, pull mobs half way across the zone, and generally simply refuse to act like any kind of groups at all. This is something I'm hoping the gear squish and ten levels will do away with - we'll all basically be on the same page when Warlords dungeons are being run.
While there are still a lot of places where tanking is both fun and rewarding - raiding (especially in a guild group, be it heroic, normal or flex), challenge modes, even in LFD or LFR if you get lucky - I do think it can be a lot to ask a new tank (whether or not she or he is a new player or just new to the role) to grow a thick skin fast enough to deal with the toxicity possible in the current random queue environment. Which is a real shame, because tanking is fun - it can be stressful, and oftentimes groups have an expectation of a tank doing the work of knowing how every fight works for them, but that's not always a negative.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Tanking and the future

One of the things I'm thinking about lately is how tanking is changing in Warlords of Draenor. In at least one major way, it's not changing - Active Mitigation established itself in Mists, based in part on DK tanking in Cataclysm, and it's going to be front and center in Warlords of Draenor. But right now, AM tanking heavily relies on four stats (depending on the tank class) and all four of those stats will be gone come Warlords, meaning that we're looking at a pretty significant change depending on the class. The remaining stat, mastery, is probably going up in value, and in addition, we'll have crit, haste, readiness and multistrike to consider. But stats aren't the whole of the game, and they're not the whole of the changes, either.

In addition to new stats, there are the abilities each tank will see affected by readiness to consider. There are also Draenor Perks for each tank spec, granted randomly as we level from 90 to 100. There are changes in what abilities exist, in what specs get them. Vengeance is gone, replaced with Resolve, buffing our self heals and absorbs. In short, while the basic idea remains the same - generate resources via attacks to spend on damage reduction in one fashion or another - how we go about it, how it interacts with us has so many changes that it's worth discussing in length. There's so much change coming in that I don't pretend I'll catch all of it, which is why we have comments, after all.

So what do I expect to see out of tanking coming 6.0? It should be noted, this discussion is based on the Warlords alpha patch notes and such datamining as I've looked over, and I freely admit I only tank on one class, so while these are general observations I may be missing key class specific factors.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

WoW Archivist: The quest for swift flight

Swift Flight Form
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

With all the controversy over flying in Draenor (and lack of it until patch 6.1), flight is a major topic in the WoW community these days. Veteran players remember a time when taking to the skies was merely a dream -- one that The Burning Crusade made real, at least in Outland. Along with flying mounts, Blizzard decided that druids should receive new shapeshifting forms that allowed flight.

The forms came in two speeds: the base Flight Form and the Swift Flight Form. Rather than making the latter a trainable skill, Blizzard instead provided druids with one of the longest and most epic class-specific quest lines of all time: the Swift Flight Form chain. Seventeen quests long, the chain made a versatile shapeshifter out of you whether you wanted to be or not.

Like many others, the SFF chain became a casualty of the Shattering and can no longer be completed. It is well worth revisiting, however, so let's let fly!

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Patch 5.4 PTR: Vengeance changes

Patch 54 PTR Vengeance changes
If you're a tank in World of Warcraft you know what Vengeance is. Originally intended to allow tanks to keep up with increased DPS from improved gear with DPS stats on it while accumulating tanking gear that generally lacked those stats, it's turned into a means for tanking players to do chart topping DPS on some pulls (especially AoE ones with multiple tanked mobs). There's been a lot of discussion about what might happen with Vengeance in patch 5.4, and now we have our first look at what Blizzard is contemplating for the tanking specialization.
Rygarius - 5.4 PTR Patch Notes - August 2

Vengeance has received several changes.
  • Vengeance now grants Attack Power equal to 1.5% of the damage taken, down from 1.8% (The tooltip said 2% but it was actually 1.8%).
  • Tanks no longer receive Vengeance from many persistent area damage effects (standing in the fire) or from missed attacks (dodging and parrying an attack will continue to work as it has before).
  • There are now diminishing returns on Vengeance gains while tanking multiple targets. Each additional target grants progressively less Vengeance.


These changes are almost certainly aimed at reducing the very high DPS that we can see on trash pulls and boss fights with a great many streaming adds (such as Tortos' bats or the packs before Iron Qon) especially as we head into the final tier of gear for Mists of Pandaria, which would inflate these numbers even more. Raids that use tanks with the highest DPS tanks will probably feel these changes the most. As always, this is the PTR, so if you have an opinion on these changes getting on the test servers and testing them out is useful so you can give proper feedback.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The color of magic

Know Your Lore The color of magic
The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.
Earlier this week, Blizzard Historian Sean Copeland was answering questions on Twitter when the above answer came up. People were upset about it because the answer, while seemingly pretty simplistic, seemed to devalue the importance of Elune and the unique nature of night elf philosophy and religion. Magic, in all its forms and function in Warcraft, is one of those tricky subjects to understand -- almost as tricky as trying to wrap one's brain around the cosmos of the Warcraft universe.

These types of questions get asked a lot, however. And while not everything regarding magic in Warcraft has been fully defined, we can definitely take a look at these different schools of magic and how they relate to one another on Azeroth.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Tier 16 Armor Set videos: Paladin, Druid, Rogue, Death Knight [Updated]

Adriacraft are back with more tier set videos. This time we've got the tier 16 armor sets for Paladins and Druids, with Rogues to follow later. What do you think of the sets? Here at WoW Insider we're unsure, both these tiers look rather similar, and there seems to be a recurring theme of basic-colored armor with some unusual, even bizarre, frill detail.

As previously, the tiers' different colors will come from different difficulties. You can also remind yourself of the previous datamined tier sets for the Warrior, Priest and Hunter. Hit the break for the other two sets! And do check out Adriacraft on YouTube for all the latest patch videos!

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Talents and abilities you never use

mage talents
Any given class in WoW has a ton of different spells and abilities. More than I can reasonably hotkey to my decidedly un-fancy two-button mouse and $5 thrift shop keyboard, in any case. I do my best with keybinding and click modifiers, but inevitably there are some things that just aren't going to make the cut. Fortunately, these abilities usually present themselves without a whole lot of deliberation.

For example, on my druid, I don't remember the last time I used Soothe. The other ability I find gathering dust in my spellbook is Hibernate. I know I used Hibernate to help with crowd control for trash packs in Ulduar and Ruby Sanctum during Wrath of the Lich King, but since then? Nope. Hibernate does not live on my bars.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Ghostcrawler on Vengeance and patch 5.4

Ghostcrawler on Vengeance and patch 54
Yes, patch 5.3 isn't even out yet, and we're already looking towards patch 5.4. Thanks to Ghostcrawler, we have this to think about for the future, namely that Vengeance is getting capped at a significantly lower threshold in raids in the future. If you remember back at August of last year, Vengeance saw some significant changes that increased how fast it could ramp up in raids and also gave it a far larger maximum potential. It's been adjusted over time, but in general what GC said back last August has held true -- tank DPS in raiding really did go up. To the point where on some pulls it's not unusual to see tanks leading the DPS, sometimes by extremely large numbers.

Since this is a big change that will drastically lower tank damage output (25-man tanks with their 600,000 or more health buffed will lose roughly 300,000 AP on fights where Vengeance was capping at 100% of their health) I'm not surprise it won't be coming in 5.3 -- I am a little surprised it's happening at all, because we all knew Vengeance and tank damage would do exactly what it has done when it was changed. Still, I wait to observe if it has much practical difference since aside from AoE tanking where a multitude of hits can roll in a short window of time (that 20 second ramp up period) and the tanks can make effective use of all that AP I'm not sure it will matter. 5-mans and scenarios were not mentioned, so for now I'm assuming this is only for the raids mentioned.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Should you play a druid in WoW?

Should you play a druid in WoW
Just getting started in World of Warcraft and not sure what you want to do? Or maybe you've been playing for a while but aren't sure which class you like best. We're here to help by taking a look at what each class can do and leading you to the right one. Today, we're talking druids.

Druids harness the powers of nature to help their friends or harm their foes. They can wield magic to harm like a mage or heal like a priest and can shapeshift into animal forms to dive into melee fighting. Like the monk and paladin, druids are a hybrid class that can fill any role in the game they wish: if you play a druid, you have the flexibility to do whatever you please. But are you up to the task of wielding the raw elemental power of nature? We'll take a look at just what druids can do and try to decide if it's the right class for you.

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Filed under: Druid, WoW Rookie

Breakfast Topic: Did you roll a druid because of this cinematic?

If you've been around the World of Warcraft for any length of time, doubtless you're intimately familiar with the original game cinematic. To this day, this classic promo is cited again and again by countless players who rolled a druid after imagining themselves bounding through Azeroth in cat form.

Me, it was that dwarf who lit my fire. I don't even like dwarves, and it took me years to get around to playing one (which I eventually did only because I wanted to see my pigtails spin around above my head while I healed). But that dwarf ... He's perfect. He's utterly perfect. The setting, high above it all, his expression, his craggy countenance ... The bear ... Their chaotic return later in the cinematic ... That dwarf embodied the essence of the hunting, exploring, and personal, concrete life in the virtual world I wanted to inhabit.

Did something from this or another cinematic inspire you to roll a particular character? And if it was this cinematic from classic, did you roll a druid?

Druids (past and present): Did the classic WoW cinematic feral night elf inspire you to roll a druid?
Undeniably, it did!950 (33.4%)
Nope, I rolled a druid for other reasons.1896 (66.6%)

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Mists of Pandaria is our Emerald Dream expansion

Back in the days of vanilla, life was very much about exploration. Even though the world of Azeroth was admittedly massive, there were still areas players couldn't get to -- tantalizing areas that were made inaccessible either by steep mountain faces, or simply being someplace under the world map where no one could get to. One of these areas was the Emerald Dream, shown above. Despite not being in the game as playable content, the zones still existed.

This led to all kinds of speculation about an upcoming Emerald Dream expansion. Players assumed that these files meant that we were eventually headed for the lush green lands of Ysera and her amazing druid friends. Yet despite the presence of the maps, it never happened. Ysera is now devoid of her powers as of the end of Cataclysm, whatever that implies towards her relationship with the Emerald Dream. By Cataclysm, it became apparent that whatever mysteries those old maps held, the Emerald Dream was just an idea lost in time.

Or was it? Maybe we're playing through the Emerald Dream right now.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Where does the pressure lie in healing?

Where does the pressure lie in healing
I used to be a healer, once upon a time. It was in the days of vanilla, when being a healer consisted largely of staring at 40 bars, pressing Flash Heal, and occasionally mixing it up with a bubble or Heal Rank 4 while swigging potions like they were going out of style. It was a very different time, and healing was by and large much less complex than it is today. My guild didn't use Vent, so I did all the healing rotation calls via macros on my keyboard -- that's how easy healing was. I had time to press macro buttons and pay attention to calling things.

But at some point that guild fell apart, as guilds are wont to do on occasion. And since server transfers weren't even a possibility at that point in time, I simply rolled another character on another server, vowing to take a break from any and all raiding. It lasted until paid server transfers were added as a feature, at which point my priest was promptly moved to my new server and I began healing again -- this time, in battlegrounds. I helped a lot of friends by healing them while they tried their hardest to get High Warlord in the original honor grind.

So what happened? Well ... healing happened.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Well-known druid blogger Lissanna lowers the boom(kin) on autism research

It's only been a couple of weeks since we reported on the crowdsourcing effort to fund the autism research of well-known Restokin blogger and Blizzard MVP poster Lissanna, aka Dr. Elisabeth Whyte of the Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience at Penn State. So far, supporters have boosted Dr. Whyte to just over a quarter of her funding goal for the project, which focuses on how children and adolescents with autism understand language and process information from faces (such as recognizing people or understanding emotional expressions). Her goal: designing a video game to help kids with autism improve these skills.

How does an MMO-playing grad student transform from anonymous gamer to well-known WoW blogger, Blizzard forum MVP, and Ph.D.-level researcher bringing gamification to the treatment of autism? If you follow the example of this lady: with ease.

WoW Insider: One-fourth of your funding already under your belt -- congratulations! Our readers already know that WoW can be beneficial to kids with autism, so it's exciting to hear about a gamification project designed to help kids with autism.

Lissanna: Many kids and adults with autism seem to enjoy playing video games. We have some evidence that using fun activities can motivate learning. Our goal is to develop and test the efficacy of an educational game that impacts face processing abilities and social skills. With much of the research focused on important early intervention work, there is a huge gap in the services that individuals with autism can receive when they are older. We think that a sophisticated game can fill the need for social skills services targeting older individuals to help with tasks like preparing them for jobs or developing friendships with their peers.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Patch 5.1: Treant Form now combustible

Patch 51 Treant Form now combustible
Apparently, we haven't seen the last of self-immolating lumber. Back in Firelands, the Moonkin 2-piece bonus allowed you to summon Burning Treants to attack your foes. Blizzard wasn't content with that, however, and took the next step: As of patch 5.1, treant form can now catch on fire. Yes, fire.

As discovered by Sunfyre of Sunfyre's Nest, simply activate Treant Form and gain the Cozy Fire buff from a basic campfire to see the theatrics. Have fun igniting your druids! (Sadly, paladins remain incombustible.) And, above all else, remember this: we didn't start the fire.

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Druid

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