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Posts with tag feral-dps-druid-shifting-perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Another look at what Symbiosis means for druids


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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our DPS edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, we disagree with the world while glorying in the real-life beauty of symbiosis.

So my plan for this week's column was to talk about how balance currently looks in the beta (short version: pretty good), but judging by a quick scan through the beta forums, that's not what druids want to talk about. It's Symbiosis, all the way down ... and judging by the discussion, most people don't like what they're seeing. Allison's already written about it once before, but the topic's grown enough to where it deserves another treatment. (My blog contains a full breakdown of what each class currently gets and receives from the ability, along with more in-depth recommendations and strategy.)

I'll be blunt: I still love the unique concept of Symbiosis, and I think most of the criticism is shortsighted. I do have quibbles about some of the specific abilities. Overall, though, I think that the concept works and will provide access to some entertaining abilities we haven't had previously.

To be fair, however, let's look at some of the more common arguments against Symbiosis and attempt to deconstruct them. One important thing to note: Many of the abilities gained/given from Symbiosis are modified from their original forms, so read tooltips carefully (and realize that many are not updated). The Symbiosis version of Mirror Image, for example, is much weaker than the version used by mages.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: First thoughts on ferals in the Mists of Pandaria beta

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our DPS edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, we practice our looks of genteel disdain.

So, I've been down for a few weeks (pro tip: try not to have an allergy attack and a scratched cornea in the same week; they do not mix well), but I finally got into the beta with last week's big push of Annual Pass members. Unfortunately, now that I've had the chance to give the initial feral changes a spin, I'm a bit concerned with the current design direction for the class. Let me start out on a positive note, though, and talk about the good things that Mists is bringing us.

What I like

The new talents Some of the new talents are great and force tough decisions. The talent design is clearly trying to make you choose between always-on but weak passive abilities, a short-cooldown ability of moderate strength, and a long-cooldown ability of high strength. While some of the talents and tiers need some adjustment, they generally work on a design level.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Mega moonkin, fabu ferals, and Symbiosis specs

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our DPS edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, we discuss how fast to deny hunters Symbiosis in exchange for all those taming attempts.

This is apropos of nothing, but I love how the current Incarnation effect for balance druids simply makes them huge. (For comparison, here's the before image, and thanks to Lissanna at Restokin for the screenshots.) This totally reminds me of the first time I got a Mega Mushroom in New Super Mario Bros, actually. "Yes, I'm just going to walk through everything in the level; maybe I'll pick my teeth with the flagpole."

Sadly, this effect isn't going to make it to live. Happily, though, we've got plenty of other stuff to talk about this week, such as several new glyphs and a mostly complete reveal of Symbiosis.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Feral soloing Ulduar and other dragons in the 4.3 era

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, we discuss proper defrosting techniques for animal fur.

As you'll recall, last week we decided that we might need something to do while we're waiting to explore Pandaria, so we decided to go kill things solo in Northrend. Soloing Naxxramas, save a few encounters, isn't too much of a challenge. But Onyxia? Malygos? Ulduar, even? Now we're talking ... or dying -- frequently, as the case may be, while testing these strategies. (If you need a quick primer on how to get up to speed with bearcat soloing, check out the Naxxramas article.)

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Filed under: (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Soloing Naxxramas for feral druids in the 4.3 era

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, the editors refuse to let me write the column in Elcor.

Let's face it: Mists of Pandaria isn't going to be released any time soon, and Dragon Soul is starting to become Draggin' Soul, for those of who you starting raiding it on the release of patch 4.3. Of course, many of us are off saving the galaxy from annihilation, but if you're staying in Azeroth, you need something to do -- a new challenge. This week, I'm resurrecting my old series on druid soloing. A new tier of gear has made possible many feats that were not before, so pack your bags. We're heading back to Northrend to fight the undead ... since they cannot die. (/sunglasses)

Before we start, however, a quick refresher for those who missed the earlier series. Druids are one of the best raid soloing classes in the game for one simple reason: Prowl. While we don't have the solo survivability of a blood DK or the DPS of a hunter, we can skip the annoying trash most of the time. If you're doing a full clear, that isn't much help -- but in most cases, you can get in, kill the boss, and get out without ever having to wait to kill a trash mob.

In terms of strategy, I use this bearcat talent spec and glyphs. The primary source of your survivability will come from Leader of the Pack heals and Savage Defense shields, using Barkskin and Survival Instincts on cooldown, and popping Frenzied Regeneration as your oh-crap full heal. For some fights, you'll also be mixing in Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, and Predator's Swiftness-procced Healing Touches. For your rotation, you'll be using the default bear priority list (FF once, Demo Roar, Mangle, Thrash, Lacerate to three, Pulverize). For trivial bosses, feel free to go Cat part-time or full-time to speed things up. Finally, note that my ilevel was about 390 when I did these bosses, so this may be a bit easier or harder depending on what you're packing. (Also, credit where it's due to Reesi for helping me nail down bear details and Braindwen for his soloing guide.)

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Filed under: (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: How top feral cats provide essential value to their guilds

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

You finally did it. On your last Raid Finder run, you finally outrolled that silly heroic-geared rogue who kept auctioning gear you could use and completed your four-piece tier 13 set. An extra Ravage every 30 seconds! Free damage! Awesome!

Take another look. Guess what? It's the other part of that set bonus that's really special. Don't get me wrong, I love Ravage to death (Tendonnnnn!!), but it's just a bit of extra damage. Raidwide Frenzied Regeneration, in contrast, is so powerful that progression guilds regularly work it into their cooldown rotations. In some isolated cases, it may allow you to run with one less healer than normal.

Why is it so powerful? Two reasons. First, it's the only one of the four raid-wide tank cooldowns granted by four-piece tier 13 set bonuses that's accessible to a DPS class. (Well, theoretically, DPS plate-wearers could get it, but they'd take a large hit to their DPS from having to wear tank gear. It's effectively a free bonus for feral DPSers, since they share gear with feral tanks. This is exhibit A for why the feral tree is being split in Mists.)

Second, it's the most powerful raid-wide cooldown in the game at this point. Other cooldowns come close in strength, such as Power Word: Barrier, but none come close in duration. It can't stop damage spikes, true -- but assuming you can take it, it'll help your healers patch things back up ASAP and keep them patched up for a good, long time.

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Filed under: Druid

Shifting Perspectives: More on level 90 feral Mists of Pandaria talents

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

This week, I want to take a closer look at the proposed Mists of Pandaria level 90 talents for feral druids. This tier of talents has received significant criticism on the WoW forums and other discussion boards, with the most common appellation being "useless." I couldn't disagree more. Given the constraints that Blizzard has to operate under, I think these talents offer up some interesting new game mechanics.

Heresy, yes, I know. Before you bring out the pitchforks, remember these key facts about how talents are supposed to work:
  • Talents are no longer the prime determinants of player power; they are now merely utility skills. You can fulfill your core DPS/healing/tanking role in a raid with no talents at all, you'll just be slightly less good at it. Rogues, as a comparison, only have one tier of talents that affect their DPS, just as we do; everything else is survivability, crowd control, or movement.
  • Talent choices must be reasonably balanced; otherwise, we're back to everybody picking the same thing, which leads to the developers balancing around everyone having that thing, which causes complaints about not having choices. This balance has to extend to both PvE and PvP.
  • The benefits granted by talents can't be so strong that they cause significant changes in class desirability, or we're back to the shaman stacking model again. Admittedly, any advantages are still going to be min-maxed by heroic raiding guilds, but the perception that it's required cannot be allowed to exist.
At least, that's the theory. The ideal is for all six talent choices to be equally valuable for each PvE role and PvP (cynics are free to substitute "equally useless"). Unfortunately, having four specs makes this exceptionally difficult, so I expect we'll likely end up with two to three no-brainer choices and two to three actual decisions after the balancing and theorycrafting is done. That ends up being pretty similar to the Cataclysm model but with much less added cruft -- perfectly fine with me.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Feral thoughts on the new talents and abilities

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

Because there are just not enough cute cats around here! This is Hello Kitty Online, right? Where we gossip about how cute our cats are? This is my oldest and grumpiest, Hailey Reagan, in a decidedly non-grumpy pic. ...Oh. Oh. WoW. Right.

Anyway, news! Finally! I've returned from my brief hiatus, and happily, there's lots to discuss. Blizzard has updated the Mists of Pandaria calculator with tons of new info, so let's take a look at what we could be seeing Soon(TM).

Baseline abilities

I won't cover everything that's changed, but here are a few tweaks that I thought were interesting for feral druids:

Bear Hug This is now available to all druids at level 22 and is essentially the replacement for Bash. The damage (30% of your HP channeled over 3 seconds) is fairly decent; I can definitely see this being used as a finisher in PvP for trolling purposes. Personally, I'm just going to macro /hug to it.

Thrash This former Bear ability is now able to be used in all forms, so we might see a change to our AoE rotation from Swipe, Swipe, Swipe, zzz.

Symbiosis This ability probably deserves its own column; a blue post revealed some more details on how it would be implemented. Three abilities signposted as likely to be received are Feign Death, Frost Nova, and Soul Swap. The first two aren't that interesting, obviously, but if I can SS my bleeds? Hello, Mists, you have my attention.

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Filed under: (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: The 5 top mistakes new ferals make

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

It was finished.

I spat, again, attempting to purge the taste of gronn from my mouth. Ugh. My ribs still hurt from the powerful backhand which had struck me unawares and knocked me from the ledge, but it was over. Skullcrusher was dead, his minions scattered--and I was ready to take the fight to Deathwing. My eyes lifted, tracing the path of the gigantic corrupted dragon across the sky...

Stones skittered closely behind me, and I whirled to find another druid standing atop a small boulder. His solemn eyes were mesmerizing, but it was the words I heard.

"Bah. Ready for Deathwing? More like, ready to be Deathwing's dinner."

I snorted. "And what would you know, old-timer? Shouldn't you be getting back to your tree?"

The other druid shrugged, and turned away. "As you wish." He abruptly shifted, assuming the form of a great panther, and began to quietly pad away. Suddenly, I noticed that his fur was criscrossed with scars from head to toe, and a nagging feeling arose in the pit of my belly.

"Wait," I said abruptly. "Maybe I've misjudged you."

The strange druid reassumed his elven form, and turned back, smiling. "Good. We've lost too many of our people fighting the Quiraji, Illidan, Arthas, and now this abomination. I don't want to lose another." With that, we began to speak in earnest.

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Shifting Perspectives: A feral guide to the Fall of Deathwing

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

As the portal from the Eye of Eternity shimmered and closed behind me, I continued to curse loudly.

"Enough, OK? Enough! I've been slimed, tentacled, and now? Frozen solid. You dragons got your precious iris; send someone else to get the next Magic Battery or whatever else you decide you need!"

"Alaron," Tyrygosa began, "perhaps now's not the ..."

"No! Maybe I wasn't clear. I AM DONE WITH DRAGONS."

All conversation stilled, and heads turned in my direction ... which is how we heard it. Wingbeats. Lots of wingbeats. In the distance, an uncountable horde of twilight drakes came over the horizon, preceded by the largest and ugliest dragon I'd ever seen, and headed straight for the Temple. A soft groan rippled through the room as we prepared yet again for battle.

"You may be done with dragons," Tyragosa murmured, "but they do not appear to be done with you."

Last week, I covered the first four bosses in Dragon Soul, and this week, we'll finish things up. As before, I'll provide a quick capsule strategy for those attempting the fight in the Raid Finder, then describe the changes to the fight for normal and heroic modes.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: A feral druid guide to the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

I was tired. I'd traveled to the End of Time, participated in one of the biggest moments in the history of Azeroth, and helped the spiritual leader of the Horde kill the spiritual leader of the Alliance (who, admittedly, had tried to kill us first). I'd never felt much of a calling to the Dream, but a few hundred years of meditation sounded great right about now.

Peering over the scales of my drake (I'd have flown myself, but they insisted), I gestured to the large dragon in flight beside me.

"You know, you dragons are always causing trouble," I shouted as the frigid wind of Northrend whipped by. "Can't you just drop me off at the nearest forest and call it a day?"

Nethestrasz chuckled. Through some queer trick of the dragons' magic, they were fully understandable, even in dragon form.

"If a forest existed that would be spared from Deathwing's flames, I might join you," he replied. Unfortunately, any further reply was drowned out by a sudden, loud cracking noise as the earth split asunder before us, revealing a gigantic earth elemental.

"Well, looks like it's time to be troublesome," I thought. Wordlessly, I nodded to Nethestrasz, and our army turned as one and dove for the surface.

This week and next, I'll be covering everything you need to know to DPS your way through the new Dragon Soul raid encounter. I'll provide a quick capsule strategy for those attempting the fight in the Raid Finder, then describe the changes to the fight for normal and heroic modes.

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Filed under: (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Feral tactics for Well of Eternity and Hour of Twilight

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

As the great dragon crashed down, I turned and began padding toward the entrance to the shrine. The padding quickly became walking as I assumed my elven form, feeling the familiar weight of armor settle around my body. Brushing the sand out of my cloak, I turned to the figure who had silently watched us battle.

"Now that we've killed you," I began, "You can help us?"

"Yes. The path to the Dragon Soul is open. It must be retrieved if we are to have any chance of stopping Deathwing and saving our world. I will now take you there." He gestured, and a portal coalesced into existence.

I couldn't help myself. "Um, I know you're the Aspect of Time and everything, but wouldn't it make a bit more sense to just go warn the other Aspects about Neltharion before he betrays them? This seems rather roundabout."

He stared back at me, expressionlessly.

"Right. I'll just ... take the portal, and Shred something. Sounds good."

The Well of Eternity

Well of Eternity is the second of the new 5-man instances released with Patch 4.3, and it is full of Burning Crusade lore. (In my subjective opinion, it's the best of the three, which further proves that Blizzard needs to go ahead and release The Burning Crusade 2: They're Really On Fire Now.) After a quick intro fight with a demon, you'll meet Illidan, who will promptly enlist you, cloak you, and then lead you around as you kill demons and break things. After a short while, you'll meet Peroth'arn.

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Shifting Perspectives: 2011 for feral druids

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

Just like last year, this December brings both new beginnings and endings. A new raid, with new toys, but the end of an expansion, with likely no significant changes to mechanics until the release of Mists of Pandaria. As we sit around the fire with mugs of cider, enjoying (or loathing) our new sweaters, let's take a moment to look back at the events of 2011. Those of you who have already set them on fire, feel free to follow along from outside. (Bad cat! Bad cat!)

Patch 4.0 blues

Let's face it: Life was not so hot in early Cataclysm for us ferals. It's long enough ago that it's hard to remember, but our AoE damage was just pathetic. Swipe hit so weakly that our best AoE strategies revolved around multiDoTing, which was quite difficult and even then wasn't very powerful. Heroic Maloriak really brought this out; feral was consistently the lowest DPS spec, a good 10% below the next spec and almost 50% below our fellow balance druids. While most of the balance issues are typically ironed out quickly, this one persisted for quite a while.Thankfully, our single-target damage was passable, but only just.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Feral fighting in End Time

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

So there I was, just minding my own business and trying to get the smoke out of my gear (being a flaming kitty is cool and all, but the dry cleaning costs are incredibly expensive), when one of those bronze dragons showed up. She looked human, but I can smell dragon a mile away (which incidentally has not helped much, being as the things seem to be around every corner these days -- I thought dragons were rare, mystical creatures?).

"Champion," she said. "My master, Nozdormu, needs your help urgently. The list of heroes powerful enough to assist him in his time of need are few. Please come at once!"

I glanced at the list. Apparently, "few" means half the population of Azeroth. Still, I was bored.
"So," I said, wearily. "What needs killing now?"

"He does," she replied. "We must kill his future self, who is preventing us from going to the past to get the item needed to save the present."

"Right. Wait, what?" I answered, confusedly. "If he has a future self, than that means we've already succeeded, and ... fine. Just tell me where to go, before I have to think about it again."

End Time, the first of the new 5-man instances, is arguably the easiest. In order to get to not-Nozdormu, you'll have to go through two of four echoes, which are alternate future versions of today's faction leaders. There's a bit of trash, but nothing that can't be AoEed down. As such, we'll jump right to talking about the echoes, which are more interesting.

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Shifting Perspectives: Guide to druid leveling in Cataclysm

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, we steal from our colleagues.

All three of WoW Insider's druid columnists have collaborated on a Cataclysm-era druid leveling guide, because we love you very much. Also, Alex Ziebart made us do it ... but mostly because we love you very much.

If you're looking for a comprehensive piece on why X talent will give you a 0.072% increase in awesome at a particular level, this guide is not for you. If you're interested in getting a druid from 1 to 85 and successfully convincing everyone that you know what you're doing, this'll be more up your alley.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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