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Posts with tag guide-to-druids

Shifting Perspectives: Making life hell for groups with Mists of Pandaria druid talents

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, we are delighted to discover that we are still able to create localized black holes in the next expansion.

To me, the best thing about Mists of Pandaria talents is how they benefit me so much more than the rest of my colleagues on this column. Tanks and healers do not, as a rule, care about anything that affects their damage. They care about survivability and a lot of stuff that looks suspiciously like what we call utility and -- perhaps most of all -- outrolling the hunters on Kiril. To see a talent tree full of things that do not improve anybody's damage gives me great pleasure.

After finishing this article, I realized that I had considered many of these talents largely in the context of how annoying I could make life for a 5-man group by using them. Hmmm.

We meet again, Mr. PuG. But this time, the advantage is mine.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, (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: Symbiosis, druids, and you

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, sum durids is covetous of others' skills.

SCENE: A 25-man raid of Lord KillMeIHaveCandy in Mists of Pandaria. The raid is buffing before the pull while class officers discuss strategy. Allie opens the bidding war.

Allie: Alllll right. Who gets Symbiosis? Let me think.

Paladin: Me!

Allie: Last time I gave it to you, you blew my Rebirth cooldown on the guy who dies every fight. You are now my mortal enemy, and I will remind you of this on your deathbed.

Death knight: I could use it.

Allie: I don't know what I get from you yet. Bug off.

Warrior: Me me me!

Allie: Oh, come on. Enrage isn't that great.

Monk: I could use it.

Allie: You roll on my gear and want a favor from me. You're funny.

Priest: Oh, look! I accidentally tripped over 5,000 gold on the ground for which I have no earthly use. Would you like it?

Allie: Let's talk.

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

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: Building a better Insect Swarm for Mists

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat , bear , restoration and balance druids. Balance news comes at you every Friday -- learn how to master the forces of nature, and know what it means to be a giant laser turkey! Send questions, comments, or requests to tyler@wowinsider.com or @murmursofadruid.

Greetings, druids. Last week we talked about the new changes that had been made to the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator, which held a few good changes for us. This week I want to focus in on two criticisms that I've had growing for a very long time. It's no shock to anyone that reads my column or follows me on Twitter that I abhor the new direction of Insect Swarm.

I've talked about this topic before, but I want to discuss it further.

Looking into the why

In the essence of fairness, I feel that I should go into why it is that I believe Blizzard is tweaking Insect Swarm the way that they are. To start with, Insect Swarm has been an extremely problematic spell ever since it was created. In TBC, it didn't deal enough damage in order to be worth using, the same was even true at the start of WotLK, and it nearly fell off the map again late in the expansion as well. It hasn't been until Cataclysm that Insect Swarm has finally become a sold piece of our rotation, and even now it's still the weaker of the two DoTs.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Mists of Pandaria

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: A ray of hope for druid shifting and talents in Mists of Pandaria

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat , bear , restoration and balance druids. Balance news comes at you every Friday -- learn how to master the forces of nature, and know what it means to be a giant laser turkey! Send questions, comments, or requests to tyler@wowinsider.com or @murmursofadruid.

There's nothing I like more than news, especially when it's about upcoming content. Each bite of information that is released offers a new insight into the design direction that Blizzard is taking, which is an extremely touchy subject at the moment. On the horizon is a new expansion, and with it comes the generalized revamping of class design that Blizzard tracks on to each time one of these comes around. With Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard really wants to push druids back to their roots, the roots of shifting that is.

Blizzard wants for druids to shift more. It wants us utilizing our various animal forms, talents, and skills instead of the current model where we have a singular form and stick to it -- or at least, that is what Blizzard had originally intended when it first set out designing MoP. Many of the druid community have been rather skeptical of Blizzard's intent, myself included. For us, it seems that this latest batch of updates holds quite the shining ray of hope.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Mists of Pandaria

Worgen druids at the end of Cataclysm

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, the claws come out.

In November 2010, before Cataclysm hit, I wrote a series of articles on why (or why not) to play a particular druidic race for theorycrafting, lore, and roleplay purposes. These articles turned out to be a really big hit with readers, and you can find them here:
This week, we're going to tackle the worgen, the strangest and most predatory of the four druid races -- and the one with the least sense of responsibility to any bit of territory that doesn't fall under the appellation of Gilneas.

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

Shifting Perspectives: Are druid abilities getting a trim in Mists of Pandaria?

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat , bear , restoration and balance druids. Balance news comes at you every Friday -- learn how to master the forces of nature, and know what it means to be a giant laser turkey! Send questions, comments, or requests to tyler@wowinsider.com or @murmursofadruid.

Stop the presses, guys! There's eventually at some point in the distant future going to be a new expansion on the horizon for WoW, and in it, Blizzard is going to completely redesign the ability system again. We saw it happen for The Burning Crusade, and then it happened again for Wrath and once more for Cataclysm. Now, it's going to happen again for MoP.

Every expansion has come with some amount of trimming of useless abilities (hello, Sentry Totem) and even more so, the addition of new abilities to fill in the missing gaps that classes still have. What about optimizing the abilities that we already have first?

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Mists of Pandaria

Tauren druids at the end of Cataclysm

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, there is a cow level.

In November 2010, before Cataclysm hit, I wrote a series of articles on why (or why not) to play a particular druidic race for theorycrafting, lore, and roleplay purposes. These articles turned out to be a really big hit with readers, and you can find them here:
This week, we're going to revisit the tauren, who are in a truly unique position among the druids. They don't represent the class' old guard (exclusively night elves), but neither are they truly among the new.

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

Night elf druids at the end of Cataclysm

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, we ponder each druidic race's prospects in Mists of Pandaria.

In November 2010, before Cataclysm hit, I wrote a series of articles on why (or why not) to play a particular druidic race for theorycrafting, lore, and roleplay purposes. They turned out to be a really big hit with readers, and you can find them here:
While most of the information contained in these articles is still accurate, a few things have changed since then, and each race approaches the end of Cataclysm and the expansion's events from a different perspective. Because each race's background obviously hasn't changed, I thought that rather than write another comprehensive guide, it'd be useful to revisit each race briefly to see how they and their druids are handling the shift from this expansion to Mists of Pandaria. Of course, once I started writing, I got really into it, and the column started metastasizing in celebrated tumor fashion, so this week's outing is confined to the original druidic race.

Within the game, this is who you are as a night elf druid. This is what the world thinks of you, and this is what you think of the world -- or at least, it's one perspective on it.

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

Shifting Perspectives: Clear and present danger

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, Allison extends your life expectancy without the use of exercise or multivitamins.

I recently had the misfortune of healing a druid tank who did not seem aware of the array of cooldowns available to the class. This first became apparent when he died. No, actually, it was probably apparent before that ... maybe when he was taking an absurd amount of damage at the start of every trash pull. Possibly when every boss ability was cause for quiet panic. Maybe when the combat log showed absolutely no cooldown use of any kind. I don't know. There were several signs along the way.

Not acceptable, druids.

Proper use of cooldowns is the difference between a player who goes home from a bar alone in the evenings and one who has to install a deli ticket counter outside his bedroom and periodically step outside, yelling, "Next!"*

*Note: Statement is not actually true.

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

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: Probing healer balance in Dragon Soul

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, some numbers frighten us more than others.

Frostheim's work to compare DPS specs in raid content has always interested me, and for a while, I've been toying with the idea of doing a healers' version. However, healing's always been a lot tougher to analyze from meters than DPS. The whole point of DPS is to do as much as you can, but healing is more about doing as much as you can as efficiently and intelligently as you can. There's no point to topping the meters one minute into the fight if you're running OOM doing so. And then there's the minor point that it takes a lot of experience to parse healing meters accurately. I imagine most discipline priests have at least one horror story about a PUG raid leader trying to kick them for "low healing." Nevertheless, we shall do the best we can.

Frostheim uses Raidbots, which in turn pulls its data from World of Logs. World of Logs I was already familiar with, as my guild has used it to upload data after its raid nights, but I'm still new to Raidbots. For both that reason and my comparative inexperience trying to use these tools to generalize about a huge player population, I'll be blunt: This is going to be a much more tentative outing than you'd get from Frostheim. While acknowledging these limitations, I wanted to take at least a quick peek at how healers are faring in Dragon Soul less than two months into patch 4.3, with the promise that we'll revisit this topic in a few months with a much more in-depth look.

Fortunately for me, some trends are so obvious that even I can't screw them up.

(I think.)

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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