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Posts with tag natures-grace

Shifting Perspectives: Broken things that aren't

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat , bear , restoration and balance druids. It's time again folks! A new expansion is on its way, and I want all of the cool shots you can snag of your balance druid living the life in the new world. Send anything you like to tyler@wow.com!

Welcome, balance druids! It's the week before Cataclysm, and all of the WoW internet is abuzz with excitement. This is the week of leveling guides; what zones are the best to quest in, which quests to avoid, which are a must, what spec and glyphs you should use to maximize your damage and uptime -- all that good stuff. If you are looking for such information in this week's Shifting Perspectives, then I'm sadly going to disappoint you this time. Fortunately for me, I've grown a thick skin that can withstand anyone's stare of disapproval, and I've got the Rent soundtrack blaring, so everything is splenda.

Instead of focusing on the leveling experience that everyone will soon get to enjoy, I want to talk about those quirky little things about balance druids that have become a bit of a topic as of late. A few of these issues are things that were brought up during the beta process; some of them are issues that only developed on live servers. A lot of things have changed recently, and the new WoW forums are all a-twitter with concerns both from and about balance druids. Will we "suffer" -- though I doubt anyone who's been playing a balance druid since release would call Wrath "suffering" -- another expansion with faulty mechanics? Not likely at this point, but there are always things worth improving and looking into.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Can Wrath remain a 1.5-second cast?

Every Friday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting balance druids and those who group with them. This week, we are looking at how to handle Wrath in a world that can't handle it. Also, a notice that I am in need of some screenshots of pro balance druids doing whatever it is that balance druids actually do. Please send them to tyler@wow.com; put something akin to "Balance screenshot" or "Moonkin screenshot" in the subject line, and don't forget to list the name you would like to have credited for the shot.

A fair warning, if you do not like reading math or wild speculation, then this post is not for you. I will do my best to keep everything as simple and easy to read as possible, but no real promises.

With that out of the way, it's time to get into the core of the matter. Right now, balance druids have a serious problem when it comes to Wrath and the GCD. Although the main culprit of the issue is Nature's Grace, which causes us to cap the one-second GCD at 400 haste, that isn't our only real issue. Haste effects have scaled a bit out of control in this expansion as a whole, and it seems that in Blizzard's attempts to make us utilize both of our main nukes, they have forgotten to take that into account. Just as an example, even without Nature's Grace, Heroism makes Wrath practically unusable by blasting through the GCD without a worry. Even back in Trial of the Crusader, when we were still trying to cap our haste as close to 400 as possible, it was an issue, so it isn't a wonder that Icecrown Citadel has been much worse.

The gear scaling issue is one that Blizzard has said they are going to address in the coming expansion; however, will that really be enough for us? Even back in Naxxaramas it was more than possible to get well over 400 haste, which was before the gear scaling issue even took effect. I've already talked about how Blizzard has stated that Nature's Grace is going to have to be changed come Cataclysm, but is Nature's Grace really the core issue here, or it is Wrath's cast time itself? Ask any shadow priest and they'll tell you how troublesome it can be to work with a 1.5-second spell even without all of the complications that balance druids have. For a cooldown-based spell, it might be more acceptable; when dealing with a main nuke that's constantly being chain cast, it becomes a more complicated issue.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Changing Nature's Grace


Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we're heading back into the world of nasty, little over-budget talents bothering balance druids as we fight to save our 1 keys from total disaster.

It's been a harsh week in my little corner of the world. Between attempting to get up for work, falling back down to sleep for 5 more hours, taking medications that I can't even pronounce the names of, and several other unpleasant things that have been plaguing me for the past five days; there's been little time for actual coherent thought in my life. So forgive me if this week's article is a little short (I can already hear people cheering) and slightly confusing. I promise to try and make this post as readable as possible, but I am bound to ramble on incoherently at some point; though I'm not entirely sure how that's any different from normal.

Last week, Shifting Perspectives took at look at the various possibilities for changing Eclipse. This week, that trend will continue as we explore ways in which or other problem, if less vilified, talent can be adjusted. Yes, folks, I'm talking about Nature's Grace. This long-standing talent that has been a staple in balance builds since WoW was released. Much like Eclipse, Ghostcrawler has already stated that Nature's Grace is high on the list to be changed. Also like Eclipse, many people wonder why Nature's Grace hasn't already been changed as it is so problematic. While Ghostcrawler mentions it's a big deal, many people fail to understand how big of a deal Nature's Grace really is.

Nature's Grace is an awesome talent. It is a tad over-budget, but not nearly as much as Eclipse is, and, honestly, having an over-budget talent here or there isn't necessarily a terrible thing in of itself. The only thing that plagues Nature's Grace is how easily it allows for Wrath to be GCD capped. Again, though, this isn't so terrible of a prospect in of itself. After all, this is a mechanic that balance druids have been dealing with since haste was introduced into the game. Wrath ramming into GCD issues like the Titanic hitting an iceberg only became problematic when balance druids also failed to turn just a little to the left during patch 3.2. Prior to patch 3.2, Wrath was maybe only 10% of our overall damage done, so any scaling issues that it had was fairly trivial. When patch 3.2 came around and Wrath jumped from 10% of our damage, or less, to being 40% or more of our damage, the scaling issues became a real problem.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: The state of balance address

Every week, Shifting Perspectives on Fridays explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. Today we brush the tip of the iceberg on the intricacies of our larger, feathered kin; exploring what makes them tick, and how the clock might be tuned too tight.

Friends, beasts, strange owl-bear-man-pig creatures; patch 3.3 has been a troublesome time for balance druids. Things have been in utter chaos, there have been reports of a rioter in the streets flailing a giant fish around. There is no order, no law - there is no balance. At least, if you are a frequent visitor to the World of Warcraft Forums, that is what people would have you believe. I take a little bit of different perspective on things.

Since the release of Icecrown Citadel, there has been an out-cry from balance druids. They claim that the ability for balance to remain on a competitive level in a raid environment has plummeted off Azeroth. While the recent buff, and the current listing of balance druids on all of the top parse websites, is a good source of credit to these claims, they are still more speculation than they are factual. I am going to say right here, right now; balance druids are, at current, perfectly capable of bringing their fair share of pain during a raid encounter. This is not to say that we are not without our issues, which is what I am going to take time to outline. Beyond our issues, however, there are methods to work around all of our failings, and I will outline those as well.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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

Moonkin may receive a buff soon

Balance druid performance has been noticeably lagging in raids. While moonkin have long had a problem being too easily +haste-capped with Wrath, there's another issue on the not-too-distant horizon in the form of the "lunar +crit cap." Essentially, when a lunar eclipse procs and the player turns to the Starfire portion of the rotation, the combination of raid buffs, gear, and procs make Starfire crits all but inevitable. While this may sound like a welcome DPS increase, it does have the unhappy result of the spec seeing increasingly less benefit from the +haste and +crit that exists in abundance on Icecrown raid gear.

Blizzard has known about this for a while, but the issue with Nature's Grace and the soft +haste cap isn't easily fixable without impacting both Restoration and Starfire (where the NG proc is still useful), and the +crit cap is the effect of unintended stat inflation in Wrath. Enter Zarhym on Wednesday to announce news of a possible change to the Earth and Moon talent in a future mini-patch, granting 2/4/6% spell damage to the moonkin, up from 1/2/3%. While this isn't set in stone (and Balance players are already aware that an overhaul to the Nature's Grace issue probably won't happen until the Cataclysm content patch at the earliest), it's been greeted as a decent short-term fix. It's also a means of improving the scaling of what remains the moonkin's best stat (+spellpower).

Zarhym did warn that the change may not go through in this form, and we're also waiting for news on when this mini-patch will hit. Stay tuned for future announcements.

Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Classes, Buffs

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: 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: Moonkin in 3.02 and beyond

Every Tuesday, or possibly Thursday when the writer realizes that nobody writing about moonkin DPS on the internet agrees with each other, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week Allison Robert, having Hibernated John Patricelli and run away as fast as her laser-chicken legs will carry her, examines the new moonkin talents and glyphs in 3.02 and Wrath.

I do apologize about the wait here, folks. There's been a lot of contradictory information from both the beta and an array of Druid bloggers on how moonkin are shaping up for Wrath. While a lot of this is just the normal ebb and flow of changes in the alpha and beta, most of it is fueled by a few new talents and the set of glyphs that will become available. All of these have the potential to seriously impact your gameplay and rotation choices, so Balance DPS is going to be (at least, from current appearances) a lot twitchier and more proc-dependent than its counterpart in the feral tree. In addition, you'll probably have to make a few hard choices that will be affected by what your raid's going to need from you (although there is a truly amazing talent deep in the balance tree that, no matter what else you pick, is going to be a significant raid DPS contribution). As Balance is the only spec that I haven't gotten to raid on, I didn't want to go live with this until trying to figure out which pieces of information were accurate and which ones weren't. Bear in mind that Blizzard is still tinkering with Balance as I write this.

For the guide to feral in 3.02, head here; for the guide to resto in 3.02, head here. You'll probably want to be familiar with the resto changes, as balance has traditionally depended on a few key talents in that tree, some of which have changed. Otherwise, read on for a comprehensive look at balance's new talents, updated skills, and glyphs!

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Expansions, Raiding, Guides, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath Beta patch notes: Balance Druids


Now that the Wrath of the Lich King Beta is live, and the patch notes are up, we have some solid information on Druid talents as they're being tested. Here is what the patch revealed:

Balance tree
If you were to invest three points into your Brambles tier three talent, you will not only have the current 75% boost to damage caused by Thorns and Entangling Roots, but your Treants will have their damage boosted by 15%.

In addition, all damage caused by Treants, and any attacks done to you while Barkskin is active, have a 15% chance of dazing the target for three seconds. Actually, Force of Nature, which summons your Treants, is having its cooldown reduced from three minutes to two.

This will be a nifty talent for Moonkin in battlegrounds and arena, although it won't be enough to convert all of those Restoration druids to the ways of the Giant Chicken.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Expansions, Features, Classes, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

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