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Posts with tag mark-of-the-wild

Hearthstone: Beware the Ancient Watcher

Every now and then, I come across a card (or card combo) in Hearthstone that I know won't necessarily help me be more competitive, but is a heck of a lot of fun. For example, integrating the Ancient Watcher into my Druid deck probably won't win me a tournament anytime soon, but I'll have a good time playing it regardless.

The Ancient Watcher is a 2 mana minion with 4 attack and 5 health. That's pretty beefy for a 2 mana minion! There's a catch: it can't attack. In a druid deck with a pair of Keepers of the Grove and an Ironbeak Owl for good measure, that obstacle is easily overcome. Silencing the Ancient Watcher removes its restriction, turning your 2 mana minion into a powerhouse. It's unlikely you'd want to silence your own minion rather than one of your opponent's, but the opponent has nothing worth silencing, it's better than wasting it.

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Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

The Light and How to Swing It: Retribution in 4.0.1


With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons. Please send screenshots as well as any comments to gregg@wow.com.

A couple weeks back, I covered the changes to protection for the 4.0.1 pre-Cataclysm patch that usually goes out a month(ish) or so before release. The point of those patches is so that everyone can play with the new class features and get everything figured out before the chaos that is the actual expansion release. Now it's time to do the same sort of coverage for ret pallies. If you haven't been following the changes thus far, it's going to look odd. There are new class concepts and skill/buff consolidations.

First off, picking your spec now has a lot more meaning from the get-go. You receive most of the passive buffs that you'd have to spend 40 talent points getting in the past for free at level 10 that are responsible for making your chosen spec usable. As an example, you get Sheath of Light, Two-Handed Weapon Specialization and Judgements of the Bold. That provides your attack power-to-spellpower conversion, your weapon damage bonus and your mana regeneration. All of this just for picking the spec. In addition, you get a new attack called Templar's Verdict that we'll get into later.

First off, let's talk about the biggest change to our class in the expansion: holy power.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: Retribution and protection paladins in the Cataclysm beta


With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons.

It's here! Cataclysm has moved from the alpha stage into the closed beta stage. The non-disclosure agreement is no longer in effect and all of the news sites are going crazy with information overload. At first glance, not much has changed, but a lot of little things have been tweaked and I have a feeling a lot more changes are in store for the paladin class throughout the course of the beta. Some things, like the Guardian of Ancient Kings that I used a reader screenshot to fake above, just don't appear to be coded yet (and with its complexity, it will probably be a while).

Speaking of which, if anyone wants to show up in the column, just send screenshots to gregg@wow.com and I just might be able to make that dream come true.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It, Cataclysm

The Light and How to Swing It: Cataclysm blessing overhauls

With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon an entire flight of black dragons.

Well, we've had a small deluge of Cataclysm information about paladins in the past week. Some of it was fairly straightforward answers about design goals while other information was more hinted at with a wink, wink, nudge, nudge sort of feel. One of the items that has been fairly glossed over is all of the changes they're wanting to do to blessings.

At the beginning of Wrath, we had some blessings and auras removed by moving them to talents, built into the base coefficients or changed into the hand abilities. It made life easier on trying to figure out who is casting what and which people in the raid were which spec so you know which spell to cast and then managing all of the exceptions. This is why there are multiple addons that people have designed to handle them for you and remind you to recast them.

It looks like the coming expansion will be bringing more of these simplifications and reorganizations, but all of the details are still in flux. While some of the changes have been decided upon, others are more in the idea phase and will likely change greatly throughout the course of the possibly impending beta.

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Filed under: Paladin, Cataclysm

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

Shifting Perspectives: Getting started and leveling 1-9


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we begin at the beginning, and we will go on until the end. Then we will stop. Then we will ask ourselves why we are taking advice from 19th century children's literature rather than the books that are relevant to our interests, like Why Buying a House You Have No Idea How To Renovate Is Probably a Bad Idea, or Smoked Salmon and You: A Guide To Not Eating Yourself Into a Coma.

Greetings, Druids. I took the liberty of rolling a few new Druids to test out the improved leveling process, and if possible I'm going to level a brand-new one all the way to 80 to make sure everything in the guide's been personally tested and accurate as of the 3.1/3.2 game world. Today we'll start off with a baby Tauren Druid on the PTR who's now level 9; later I'll be switching between a Night Elf and a Tauren.

Level Feral.

This is the single best thing you can do for yourself, at least for leveling in classic content. As we've previously discussed, the Druid is still hobbled by its initial design as an endgame secondary healer, but you can skip a certain portion of this early weakness by leveling feral. Piggybacking off all of the DPS leather that went into the game to support the billions of people who rolled Rogues is a nice advantage, but the real attraction of leveling Feral lies in the ability to DPS in forms that don't require mana. Being able to save your mana bar for healing and buffing decreases downtime enormously (more so as you gain levels, as our mana efficiency and damage aren't that great early on).

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Filed under: Druid, Features, Leveling, Guides, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: A brief history of time

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we plagiarize from Stephen Hawking, jack a WABAC Machine, and begin a joyride through the evolution of the Druid class.

Dear Blizzard,

There are too many bosses to write about in Ulduar. I find this vexing. Please eliminate 5.

Sincerely,

Sleepless in Silithus


Salutations, Druids. As is probably obvious, we're going to take a detour out of Ulduar class strategy this week, because I'm going to shoot myself if I have to write about another boss I haven't been able to smack around since the PTR. We'll be back for Freya, Thorim, and assorted vaguely Norse-sounding entitites wishing to destroy the world for some unspecified reason but they drop phat lewtz so who cares next week.

Anyway, one of the things that's fascinated me about the Druid class since Burning Crusade is the growth in its popularity. Historically we have never been among the more commonly-played classes, and for a wide swathe of classic WoW and BC, were actually the least-played class or within the bottom 3. While there are various reasons for this (and I could devote a column to how this probably happened), Druids became more popular as time went on, and an increasing number of people began to play the class without knowing just how far it's come.

A little time spent reading through Wowwiki's list of the game's patches makes for interesting reading. A little more than 5 years ago, Druids could Feign Death, the Feral 31-point talent was Improved Pounce, and Moonkin form wasn't even in a gleam in a designer's eye.

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

Patch 3.02 for Restoration Druids, part 1

The single biggest change for most restoration Druids with patch 3.02 will be the disappearance of at least four commonly-used PvE and PvP specs:
  • 8/11/42 (the traditional resto PvP spec)
  • 11/11/39 (Resto PvP with Insect Swarm)
  • 13/11/37 (Resto PvP with Insect Swarm and Nature's Reach)
  • 11/0/50 (PvE Tree of Life with Insect Swarm).
The first three are kaputski because Feral Charge is now a 21-point talent in the feral tree, and the last three are bye-bye because Insect Swarm is now a 21-point talent in the balance tree. If you still want talents from the balance tree especially, you'll have a ton of stuff to play with (frankly I ran out of space here to discuss the new restokin specs but we'll cover it as soon as we can), but for the moment we're only going to concern ourselves with stuff squarely in the Restoration tree. Shifting Perspectives later today will have a full run-down on moonkin in patch 3.02 and Wrath. Otherwise, there's still a ton of new stuff for tree Druids in this patch, including a resurrected Tier 3 set bonus, a vastly-improved Tree of Life form, an out-of-combat rez, and an insane +haste buff to two of your most-used spells. If you also want a look at what early 5-man healing in the beta is like as a resto Druid, head here.

Read on for a comprehensive look at the new healing and mana regeneration mechanics, Restoration abilities, talents, and glyphs!

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Expansions, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Guilds and WotLK preparation


While sifting through my over-stuffed RSS feeds this morning, I came upon a post from Mark of the Wild, a druid blog, that addressed the changes players are making to prepare for the expansion, and the effect this is having on guilds.

With all of the juicy information trickling down daily about the Beta, it does seem that everyone has Wrath on the brain. At the very least, it must make it difficult to focus on other goals. For example, do you really want to start farming to make that epic crafting set, when Northrend is around the corner?

Players have already been noticing a decrease in raiding activity because of summer vacation, but how is the preparation for the expansion affecting your guild?

Are you losing players to other raiding guilds, or beginning to realize that many people are spending more time soloing to gear up or level their alts? Is your guild working together to reach specific pre-expansion goals?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Expansions, Alts, Wrath of the Lich King

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