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Posts with tag druid-tanking

Shifting Perspectives: Ulduar class preview, part I


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, our author pretends to know more about Ulduar than she actually does, which makes a refreshing change from pretending to know more than she actually does about things that are already in the game.

Hail and well met, Druids. For the next three Shifting Perspectives columns, I'm going to take a look at Druid class roles on Ulduar fights. If patch 3.1 hits earlier than expected (I'm currently betting that it hits in late April/early May), I'll try to squeeze these in a little bit faster than once per week. But with luck (and, I hope, a parade of annoying bugs for Blizzard to hunt down and squash before they let the patch go live), we should have some information to chew on before we set foot in a live Ulduar.

Now watch Blizzard deploy the frickin' patch next week.

I have not gotten the opportunity to test all of these fights personally because I'm only on the North American PTR, and some fights -- like Yogg-Saron -- haven't been available for testing at all. What I write here is going to be a compilation of personal experience, details concerning boss abilities available on the PTR version of Wowhead, information I've gotten from pestering various people on both PTR's, and news available around the web, principally from WoW Insider's previous PTR testing, Wowwiki, MMO Champion, and World of Raids. Bear in mind that some things here may wind up being very different when Ulduar actually goes live, so take numbers and conjecture here with a grain of salt. I'm going to assume that basic boss mechanics are likely to remain the same or similar, so let's get started with the first three encounters.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Raiding, Bosses, Guides, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Shifting Perspectives: A 3.1 miscellany


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, our author ferrets around her inbox for several unanswered questions concerning patch 3.1.

Greetings, Druids. For a while now I've been adding to a list of questions I've had for the upcoming 3.1 patch. Some of these are questions I got from other players, some are questions that occurred to me while reading various versions of the 3.1 PTR patch notes, and others are mostly-illegible bits scribbled in the middle of testing Ulduar fights --

dasiewlerjewDIFEEIRKdfklsd? 3349FHDFHDIOJKfkdsfadioer. REIOWEL?


Must've written that one on Kologarn. I believe it is a super-secret, devilishly clever guide to the fight that brilliantly exploits group positioning to produce a clean, one-shot kill on the first attempt, but alas, we will never know. Such are the dangers posed by bad handwriting, people. Study your Palmer Method!

This evening, I will attempt to answer all of the following questions, or to point you in the direction of other bloggers who have. These deal with all three Druid specs, so let's get started!

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

Shifting Perspectives: Tanks, "Wrath," and crushing blows


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we examine the roots of the uproar over the proposed Heart of the Wild nerf, and also ask ourselves if it wouldn't just be easier to reroll a Death Knight and have done with it.

"Why would you title the column this way?" you ask, as you reach for your "Please fire _______ from WoW Insider" form letter. "Crushing blows are out of the game, dipwad."

Well, yes. The crushing blow is technically out of the game, but another and worse mechanic has taken its place.

In this article I'm going to try to explain the source of "shield tank" frustration over health pools -- and why they are correct to see it as a problem -- and the Druid tank's unhappiness over the nerfing of Heart of the Wild -- and why Druids are also correct to see it as a problem.

Why the crushing blow was important

One of the biggest differences between pre-Wrath and Wrath tanking is the absence of the crushing blow. If you're unfamiliar with the term, then as a very simple explanation: any given raid boss had a 15% chance per melee hit to perform a 150% damage attack, which was also known as the crushing blow. It was typically a big damage spike and could lead to a wipe on progression content, with healers struggling to compensate in the small window of time before the boss' next attack landed. Burst damage is very unwelcome as it's often the greatest contributing factor to tank death. This is why reaching crit immunity is still so important to all tanks, and why the ability to avoid or absorb crushing blows was a fundamental part of pre-Wrath tanking mechanics.

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

More Druid changes on the 3.1 PTR

The above headline is a polite, succinct means of saying "I went AFK for a few hours yesterday and returned to 2/3 of the Druid class wanting to throw itself in front of an oncoming train."

Additions to the latest PTR build aren't extensive for Druids but include a 10% nerf to stamina returns from Heart of the Wild in the feral tree, and a doubling of Lifebloom's mana cost (and reworking of its bloom mechanics) in the Restoration tree.

Well, no point checking our watches waiting for the next harbinger of welcome death by way of light commuter rail. Let's take a look.

HEART OF THE WILD: Stamina bonus changed to 2/4/6/8/10%.

Ouch, baby.

Before I write anything else, a quick note to the people spamming the Tanking and Druid forums with End-of-the-World proclamations; it's the frigging public test realm. None of this is set in stone. Calmez-vous.

I can finally stay on the PTR without disconnecting every 5-10 minutes, so I hopped on and started comparing the character sheet to my main's live version. The biggest problem right now is that the HotW change (in addition to the Survival of the Fittest armor nerf) has gone live on the PTR without Savage Defense going live alongside it. If you get any toons copied to the PTR or can just finally log on successfully, you'll find yourself down several thousand armor and several thousand HP without Savage Defense active to compensate.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Guides, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR Druid glyphs and undocumented changes


Personally the change I'm still plotzing over most in relation to 3.1 is the sheer locational chutzpah of the Argent Tournament. I'm not sure I understand why the northern portion of Icecrown is considered an appropriate spot. It's like seeing some Milwaukee strip-mall developer parachute into the middle of Mordor and exclaim over the retail and tourist opportunities within a 100-yard radius of Sauron's eye. What does the Scourge think about this tournament? Did they get a cut of the concession stand's profits as a means of buying their cooperation? Who else was bribed in order to make this happen? These are all questions to which I think we deserve answers.

Anyway, I seem to be one of the unlucky souls doomed to disconnect every 10 minutes from the PTR (although I'm not anywhere near Dalaran), but I'm sure it'll get fixed. One minor suggestion for all those Druids porting to Moonglade in order to pick up dual-specs immediately; have 1,000g in hand before you do so. As we all know, getting into Moonglade is rather easy. Getting out of Moonglade tends to be rather more time-consuming unless you're willing to burn your hearth in a world newly free of ghetto-hearthing.

Some of the undocumented changes we've actually already talked about, so if you don't see something here but missed our first article, you should find them here.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Features, Guides, Classes

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR Druid changes


All right, Druids. I've been rolled out of bed to come look at the new PTR test notes, because apparently this is a big deal or something. As far as I'm concerned, all important business can wait until a reasonable hour in the morning, like 3 PM, but because this site is run by crazy people here I am.

So let's go skim the patch notes quickly -- /flick flick flick -- and try to answer the most important question first:

Is Tauren cat form still in the game?

/flick flick

Yes.

Man, %*#$ this patch.

Leaving aside this EGREGIOUS OMISSION, we're going to take a look at the preliminary Druid changes in patch 3.1 past the cut here, and courtesy of Michael Sacco and some data-mining gnomes, we also have the Druid Tier 8 shoulder graphic, which is pretty cool and reminds me a lot of Tier 5. I'm also seeing some undocumented changes in the game files off MMO Champion, but I'll have to examine those later today. I haven't been able to get on the PTR yet, so I can't confirm whether these changes have actually gone live on the test realm.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Features, Guides, Classes

Shifting Perspectives: The dual-specced Druid

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, in the interests of keeping our writer away from editors of the opposite faction on PvP servers, we examine dual specs.

Between lollygagging here at WoW Insider Central and engaging in some extracurricular indolence, I've often wondered where I'd take the column after finishing the bear pre-raid post. I could write something on how to theorycraft the highest-HPM tree, I thought, or get around to testing whether weapon skill has an unintended effect on bear threat. Look at the potential return from Eclipse procs as a function of fight mobility? Argue whether it's worth it to take Feral Aggression in a hybrid feral build? Or compose an entire column as a mockument to T.S. Eliot's most famous poem:

Q: Let us go then, you and I --

A: No.

All good ideas. But then we received the following missive from that enemy of all that is good and right in the publishing world, the editor:

MEMO: To all WoW Insider class columnists

FROM: You know who.

TEXT: Write something on how your class will deal with the upcoming dual-spec system in patch 3.1, or Dan "One-Eye" O'Halloran will "remember" where he left his whip.

"Well," I thought. "That sounds like a good idea too."

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

Shifting Perspectives: Gearing your Feral (bear) Druid at 80

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we take a look at gearing your lolbaretank for the rigors of standing in front of raid bosses and screaming, "Is that the best you've got?"

EDIT: This article has been updated for patch 3.3 and Icecrown content. Please click here to see a guide to gearing a bear druid as of May 2010.

My main spends most of her time tanking, so I have a little more experience with the gear on this list as opposed to others. Dan O'Halloran will be writing a guide to gearing a Cat Druid next week, and with that we'll be rounding up pre-raid gear for all 4 specs.

As with our entry on pre-raid Restoration gear at 80 and our entry on pre-raid Balance gear at 80, this guide assumes that you do not presently have access to either 10-man or 25-man raids, and if I miss any piece that you've found helpful, please drop a comment and I'll make sure it gets added. I should also add that this gear set presumes you are gearing your bear tank with an eye toward main-tanking in raids and/or tanking the more difficult heroics. If you're mostly DPSing or off-tanking, please feel free to swap in more DPS-oriented pieces prioritizing +hit and +crit over +expertise, +dodge, and stamina. Before we get any further, some helpful links:
  • Toskk's Bear Tank Time-To-Live Method, allowing you to look at upgrades from the context of your present set of gear and calculate how long you can go without healing assuming different talents and items.
  • ThinkTank on pre-raid gear: While I don't think that Kalon's been able to update this for patch 3.0.8 yet and he weights items a little differently than I do, this is a terrific list. He'll also give you a much better sense of just how good PvP gear is right now (much to my everlasting annoyance concerning arena).
  • Rawr: Use it. Know it. Love it.

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

Shifting Perspectives: Patch 3.0.8 for Druids

Every Tuesday, or sometimes Friday when the writer's internet has gone AWOL between Sunday evening and Thursday afternoon, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week we take a look at the upcoming patch 3.0.8. while penning an angry letter to our ISP.

Greetings, folks. Patch 3.0.8 is coming, bringing a few significant changes for the Druid class. Feral attack power is disappearing from the game entirely alongside bonus armor contribution from non-leather items. Restoration is receiving a nerf in the form of a 6-second cooldown to Wild Growth but is otherwise getting some buffs. Balance is also getting a few buffs, including one that will make a big difference to PvP combat versus Rogues and Hunters. But I think, dear readers, we are overlooking the most important part of patch 3.0.8:

Fixed a bug with a Wild Mustard plant that was under the ground in Dalaran.


Oh, thank God. That drove me nuts.

(Really).

(I'd also love to see them do something about the underground Tiger Lily spawn in Sholazar).

(It's just south of River's Heart).

(Really annoying).

(Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?).

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

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

Shifting Perspectives: Faction gear for Druids, part II - Argent Crusade


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week we continue our examination of the faction gear available for Druids in Wrath and have a serious conversation with our aesthetic conscience regarding the hideous Kirin Tor tabard: "Is the tanking staff we get at Revered worth the humiliation of wearing that purple monstrosity?" The answer, dear readers, is no.

In the first part, we covered Druid gear available with the Tuskarr, the Alliance Vanguard/Horde Expedition, Wyrmrest Accord, Kirin Tor, and Oracles/Frenzyheart. This week, we're going to finish with a look at the Knights of the Ebon Blade, the Argent Crusade, and the Sons of Hodir. You're unlikely to encounter any of these three factions while leveling between 70 and 74, but all three figure prominently in mid to late '70's leveling. Read on for the last three factions, but if you want a quick set of links to each individual faction, here you go:

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

Breakfast Topic: The tanking shortage


One of Blizzard's avowed aims with the creation of the Death Knight class was tackling the chronic tanking shortage for 5-mans. While it was the opinion of many players that the tanking shortage had a lot more to do with tanks' unwillingness to suffer messy and expensive (and sometimes stupid) PuG's, there was no way around the fact that only 3 of 9 available classes could tank (and that 2 of them were just as frequently specced to heal). Providing a new, cool-looking tanking class that had tanking talents in all three trees and could use Warrior gear was Blizzard's contribution. Post-release, the rest is up to the players.

I've seen several Death Knights already at 80 on my realm (and to my everlasting horror, two of them in my guild beat me to 80), but haven't noticed any real difference in the number of tells in trade and LFG searching for a tank. Whenever I see these, it's hard not to wonder what's going on. While it's much too early for the majority of leveling DK's to have had a big impact on 5-man tanking between 70 and 80, most of the ones I've seen at 80 are rerolled DPS and have continued in that role. Some would like to tank but just don't have the gear to withstand the damage of a high-level dungeon. Others have privately admitted that, while they're willing to give tanking a try, having to learn it at 80 with an impatient group that just wants to get through a dungeon is a daunting prospect. Still others really do just prefer to DPS.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Features, Death Knight

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

Wrath of the Lich King: Druid round-up


Welcome to Wrath of the Lich King, my fellow Druids -- and welcome, I hope, to another expansion full of great things for the class. In general I believe the future is very bright for each spec, and with dual specs coming to the game, it's going to be a lot easier to enjoy the Druid's versatility without having to finance your class trainer's boat payments.

THE DRUID CLASS IN WRATH

  • Restoration: Resto, covered here, has probably taken the biggest blow in terms of both PvE and PvP viability in the form of a Lifebloom nerf and the disappearance of now-classic PvP specs, but we still got a lot of big buffs. Tree of Life has been vastly improved and we've gained both a flash heal (at 80) and an AoE HoT. Unfortunately, Wild Growth may be facing a nerf in the form of a cooldown soon, but nothing's certain yet. I don't want to sound too down here. You will notice the Lifebloom nerf in the post-3.0.2 world, but resto's gained a tremendous amount of raw healing output coupled with its customary mana efficiency. Stay tuned; healing is likely to undergo some major changes soon.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Guides, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Shifting Perspectives: State of the class, part 1 - Balance


Every Tuesday, or possibly Thursday when the writer votes on Tuesday and spends Wednesday screaming and beating her laptop over formatting errors, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week Allison Robert steals John Patricelli's column once again, secure in the knowledge that she will never be forced to atone for her crime as long as she writes something nice about ferals and keeps a respectful distance from Dan O'Halloran's whip.

I hate Tauren cat form.

Good. I got that out of my system and can write something productive. Although, believe me, if I could get away with it, an entire Shifting Perspectives would be devoted to just how much I hate Tauren cat form. I mean, just look at it! Look at the angle on the horns! The cat can't bite anything! Christ, I just -- hi, Dan. Yes, I'm totally writing the column! Look at me go!

This week, mindful as always of American election-year politicking, I'm going to borrow a page from presidential duties and write a little something I like to call "State of the Class." Druids have undergone a number of changes in the transition to Wrath of the Lich King, and will acquire even more as they level to 80. We are one of Blizzard's primary targets for both gear and role consolidation, which raises a few questions over how comfortably we're going to scale in relation to pure classes and what we can realistically expect on the march to a new level cap.

The TL:DR version of this article -- I believe our future is generally bright, the Druid community continues to have a few concerns over certain aspects of the class, our focus in PvP seems to be changing the most, and I hate Tauren cat form. This is a three-part post, so let's get started with balance. However, if you want to jump ahead to feral, you'll find that here; and the third part, restoration, is here.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Instances, Expansions, Features, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Buffs, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena

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