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Posts with tag improved-barkskin

Shifting Perspectives: Restoration 101

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, a quick and dirty guide to raising one's tree from a young sapling to a mighty oak, or other suitably impressive arboreal species.

Whenever other columnists here write really good columns, I sit at my computer and swear a blue streak, for I am a jealous god. Sacco, damn him, turned out a great article on the basics of elemental shamans, and for a while I've been kicking around bits and pieces of 101-esque columns for all four druid specs. This was the last shove I needed to get that done. While I expect our new balance blogger (a.k.a. Murmurs, the person I will be forcing to do all my number-crunching in the future with bribes or, when necessary, threats) will address moonkin, I'll cover bears, cats, and today, trees.

A quick note on what I want to accomplish here: I'm addressing this to people with no prior knowledge of the spec who want the tools to become reasonably competent healers quickly. By necessity, that means we're going to gloss over a few finer points; this is a cheat sheet, not an encyclopedia. When I say (for example) that Improved Tranquility needs to be dragged out behind a barn and killed with an axe, I'm not going to spend paragraphs explaining why that is, or examining situations where you could actually get some use from it. If you think I've glossed over something truly important, please drop a comment and I'll direct readers to anything they really need to know.

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

Shifting Perspectives: 5 observations from a reluctant battleground healer

Every week, Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting druids and those who group with them. Today we gingerly step back into battlegrounds and discover that the world can be a very unfriendly place.

I love writing this column, but there's one thing that bugs me about it -- the druid class is tailor-made to defeat a sole writer's efforts to cover everything she can. No matter how hard I try, I'm never going to cover each spec and playstyle with up-to-the-minute and in-depth experience, because it would require the simultaneous mastery of ranged DPS PvE, ranged DPS PvP, tanking, off-tanking, melee DPS PvE, melee DPS PvP, healing PvE, and healing PvP. Even with all that, I'd be leaving out all the hybrid and kooky specs people dream up. This has been getting to me lately.

Consequently I thought that, before we get to some end-of-year and patch 3.3 business, it might be a good idea to spend some time on topics that -- to be frank -- I haven't been that great about covering. Balance as a whole needs some love and so do our kitties, but before I do that, I'd like to address a topic that, in contrast to Balance and Cat, I've been willfully ignoring -- PvP. It occurred to me that roughly a year after Wrath's launch, it might be a good idea to pop back into battlegrounds and see how the class' most common PvP spec (Restoration) is faring in combat these days, so I dumped badges and gold into a PvP set and went for broke.

And, well...a lot's changed.

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

Patch 3.3 PTR: Undocumented druid changes


Our esteemed colleague Boubouille has datamined some undocumented changes to druids on the patch 3.3 PTR, so while I'm waiting for it to download (53 more minutes.../sigh), let's take a look:

BALANCE

NATURE'S GRACE: Now procs from non-periodic spell criticals (old: all spell criticals).

So direct-damage spells (e.g. Wrath, Starfire, Moonfire's initial hit) or direct-healing spells (e.g. Regrowth's initial heal, Nourish) will be the only ones that can trigger the 20% haste effect from 3/3 Nature's Grace. This is definitely a nerf for Balance concerning Starfall and Hurricane crits, but it's also a nerf concerning specific gear sets. Moonfire's DoT component can crit if you're using Balance 2-piece Tier 9, and a Restoration druid rocking 4-piece Tier 9 gains the ability for Rejuvenation to crit.

For Balance's AoE situations and Starfall cooldowns, it's an out-and-out nerf, albeit a limited one given Starfall's cooldown and the unlikelihood of Hurricane playing a major role in any given boss fight. Otherwise, it's also a nerf directed at Tier 9 bonuses, unless Blizzard's planning on future tier bonuses (or class changes) that will make periodic damage and/or healing crits a routine thing. Stay tuned.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items

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

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