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Posts with tag shifting-perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: An early look at 5.2 for druids

Shifting Perspectives An early look at 52 for druids

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 the future.

Happy New Year!

Hmm. I guess I'm a little late for that. Anyway, my no-notice household move is mostly complete, and I've finally had a chance to start breaking down the new changes for druids in 5.2. With the exception of Feral PvP, things look pretty positive across the board, so let's dive in!

Cyclone a-no-no

Cyclone is the crowd-control effect that everyone loves to hate. Unlike the vast majority of other CC effects in the game, Cyclone does not share a diminishing return category with other effects, meaning you could couple it with another CC from a teammate to lock down an enemy target for a long period of time. By itself, this wasn't the end of the world. While a "clone" was powerful, it had a short range and a cast time, making it difficult to land in the first place.

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Filed under: Druid, (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: Patch 4.3 gear list for balance druids

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 for something you'd like to see to tyler@wowinsider.com or on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Hail, druids, and welcome to the wondrous world of a new patch! This patch didn't hold much for us in the ways of personal meat. We got a wicked-awesome new Hurricane animation and a neat new Wrath one as well, but otherwise, things trudge along as normal with our lot. That's perfectly dandy in my book. We're still going along strong as a solid DPS choice, and things are good.

This week I'm dedicating to gearing ourselves up in all of that lovely new content that has just been released. Whether you're a dungeoneer or a hardcore raider, there's tons of new loot to look at, and that's exactly that we're going to do. As a side note, I do have to say that I am super-excited about having patch 4.3. The content so far has been gloriously fun, and though I'm sure I'll change my mind once I've done enough of these heroics to last a lifetime (as with the troll versions of last patch), I'm content to make do with what we have. Let's get to work, shall we?

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Addons and UI tips for balance druids

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 your questions, comments, or something you'd like to see to tyler@wowinsider.com.

As you read this, I will be stalking the home territory of my mortal enemy: Fox Van Allen. I cannot give you my exact location, as I don't wish to divulge information which the vile shadow priests might use to ferret me out and prevent my mission, but know that I plan on striking a decisive blow against them at some point. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe later on; you never know, but do know that it's to come.

In preparation for my little excursion, I've been going about the business of revamping my UI. It happens from time to time; everyone needs a change here and there. Plus, new mods are released, while some die by the wayside or are upgraded in ways that just don't suit to taste, so there's always something that can be done to tweak it up. Since I was digging through the vaults of Curse and Ace, I realized I hadn't done a new addon update for Cataclysm, and things have certainly changed since then.

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Filed under: Druid, Add-Ons, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Class homogenization and the cat

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we poke the issue of class homogenization and wait to see if it pokes back.

Before the class announcements hit, I had drafted an article on what I would have loved to see Blizzard do for bears, cats and trees in Cataclysm. You've already seen the expanded bear portion, which was published a few days before the druid announcement was made (no one's ever accused me of great timing), but the cat and tree bits have been (as we say) overtaken by events.

We've already looked at the feral information released, so I don't think it's necessary to recap that. However, I'd like to take a closer look at the cat this week, in much the same way that we turned a critical eye to the Tree of Life's impending disappearance. As much as I generally counsel against reading my own work without access to a prescription stimulant or at least hard liquor, you may find the first portion of the Tree article helpful in giving some background on Cataclysm's class goals.

As a TL:DR on our previous feral analysis, seen through the lens of the tree article's conclusion on Blizzard's design intentions:
  1. Cat damage is in a good place, druids are happy that it's not a "faceroll" spec, and I think Blizzard is happy with that as well. PvE-wise, I don't think we have a lot to worry about.
  2. Many of the changes I saw have more interesting implications for PvP. This is the third expansion in a row where cats are getting more versions of rogue skills, in implicit recognition (I would argue) of the spec's uninspiring arena performance relative to its parent class.
Which leaves us with this week's question: When a spec is literally designed as a copy of a pure class, is a certain amount of class homogenization a good thing? Beware, readers -- arm-waving ahead!

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Filed under: Druid, Add-Ons, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Tanks and the barrier to entry


Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we have cause to reflect on something written by our esteemed colleague Archmage Pants: "Tanking is an interesting thing. It makes you hate everyone else in the party."

It comes as no shock to a longtime player that WoW's social culture is riddled with a number of real-life counterparts, and one of the more troublesome is something called the barrier to entry. In real life, this refers to the difficulty of becoming a qualified professional in a given field, and there are some jobs where the barrier to entry is very high indeed.

Take neurosurgery, for example. Ideally, you want to be completely sure of someone's aptitude for the job before you let them take a buzzsaw to your skull. Society relies on the grueling education and residency required to be a neurosurgeon to weed out anyone prone to use of the word, "Oops."

While there's nothing in WoW that comes close to the seriousness of getting a competent surgeon, most players would acknowledge that there are similarities between the RL and in-game version of the "barrier to entry." I'd argue that the comparison is strongest when you're discussing tanks. Tanks, and more importantly, beginner tanks who could potentially ease the tank shortage that causes lengthy queue times for DPS in the Dungeon Finder, have to hurdle a series of problems in the effort to become geared and experienced. Some of these problems are the result of deliberate design choices on Blizzard's part, but the larger share is the consequence of a playerbase that needs tanks but is (ironically) hostile to beginners.

Everyone wants an experienced professional. Nobody wants to be there for the learning process.

And if you're a beginner tank, there's a lot of crap in your way that Blizzard didn't put there.

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

Shifting Perspectives: Druid healing strats for Icecrown Citadel

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we look at Grid and realize that the dumb buggers are dropping like flies again.

Before I write anything else, I want to send a shout-out to Kalon, who is ending the influential feral theorycraft blog ThinkTank. Like many of you, I've been reading ThinkTank for a while and fell in love with both Kalon's analysis and the theorycrafting that he made understandable even to Luddites like myself. To this day I've been experimenting with an idea he suggested concerning Bear DPS (no, really) that I've been planning to devote a column towards for a while, and I now regret not doing it earlier.

So, to my druidic colleague -- /hug and /salute. Kalon, you will be greatly missed.

For strategy articles, I've gotten into the habit of trying to describe all four roles, and have arrived at the conclusion that it's more efficient to take matters one spec at a time. With all of the Icecrown raid content clocking in at a little more than a month old under the best of circumstances, I'm better off describing the roles I've done personally therein (tanking and healing). Because we've already covered Lord Marrowgar, we're going to take the rest of the bosses necessary for the Storming the Citadel achievement, and cover them from a restoration point of view.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: How to be a good PUG druid




Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, everyone discovers (as I have been saying for years, but who listens to the bear tank with an ass the size of Cincinnati? No one, that's who) that PUG's are not so bad.

Moore returns with a ukulele. I'm going to pull out one of the big guns on the folk scene in the Americas -- Richard Shindell. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a high-quality version of this song available anywhere online, and I highly recommend listening to the versions off Shindell's Sparrow's Point or (more especially) the live album Courier. Yes, it starts off slow, but give it a chance. On A Sea of Fleur-de-Lis is a very odd, albeit poetic, song with esoteric lyrics, although they make a little more sense once you know they were written while Shindell was considering leaving Union Theological Seminary. Otherwise, as with many of Shindell's pieces, BYO subtext.

Beat that, Moore.

Anyway, after reading Archmage Pants' article on the new LFG system for mages and Daniel Whitcomb's guide on the same for death knights, I decided it wasn't fair letting a bunch of smelly DPS have all the fun.

"But some death knights tank," you object.

That's just a widely-disseminated myth, as all those of us on the Retaliation battlegroup know. You have tried the new LFG, right? Allow me to be the Virgil to your Dante in this new, more lucrative version of hell. Concerning tanks, by the way --

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

Shifting Perspectives: The disappearance of the bear


Every week (usually), Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, confused bears everywhere ask themselves, "Why is no one playing us if we're so awesome?"

I've had an article on this subject percolating for a while. Why people play what they do is a question that endlessly fascinates me, and Nick Yee made a business out of examining the various factors that influenced people's class and role choices in games. Unfortunately, with only fan site numbers to go on, it's sometimes tough to figure out exactly what's happening with demographic shifts ingame. For a while now we've had the sense that, while Feral has lost population since Wrath hit, it's bears in particular who've been hit hardest, and as I've written previously, they've all but vanished from my own server. Because most Armory data sites don't distinguish between bear and cat specs, I never figured out whether all the stories I heard about a shrinking bear population were an accurate gloss on what was going on.

Sometimes, though, Blizzard cuts through the confusion and bluntly states that a class or spec just isn't being played that much. Witness, if you will, the gradual extinction of the bear.

So Xariks on the Tanking forum poses the question; why are bears so underplayed? Any well-designed spec that's a PvE or PvP powerhouse and the frequent target of nerf demands has historically resulted in a huge influx of players (e.g. rogues for most of classic WoW and warlocks in Burning Crusade, among others). In Feral, we have before us a spec that had a 50% share of the druid population in BC and, in the transition to Wrath, received considerable buffs to many of its historic weak spots, the removal of prejudicial encounter mechanics, the addition of another weapon option, and the tanking community's hatred for its highest effective health on average. Yet they've been singled out for especial commentary for being, per Ghostcrawler, an "unpopular spec" in modern raids.

Druids, tanks, and developers all want to know -- what gives?

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

Shifting Perspectives: Leveling 71-80


Every week, Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we reach 80. It is not the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Hail, druids. This week, we're finishing our leveling guide, and after that we're going to be addressing any subject as long as it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with leveling. I'll be revisiting this guide as Cataclysm approaches, as we've already been told that spell and ability ranks are going the way of the dodo, which was really the only depressing announcement from BlizzCon as I was in the middle of formatting and linking hundreds of same.

To wrap up the full guide:

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

Shifting Perspectives: Leveling 41-50


Every week, Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, Mangle, Barkskin, and an enraged pack of mobile woodland things are headed our way. We advise stealthing.

Hail, Druids. This week, we continue the long march through levels 41 to 50. Due to some recent RL events I haven't had much time to get on the 3.2.2 PTR, but when I do, I'll try to see how Druids are shaping up on the revamped Onyxia fight and how much use the new Predatory Instincts is getting.

Without further ado:

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

Shifting Perspectives: Leveling 31-40 and notes on PvP servers


Every week, Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we reach our 31-point talents and rejoice, for leveling is now...pretty much the same as it was before we got our 31-point talents, but nonetheless, level 40 is a milestone.

In the wake of the announcement concerning the upcoming abolishment of spell and ability ranks, I'm wondering whether it's worth our time to continue noting and linking the presence of new ranks while leveling. For now, I'm going to keep linking them; when Cataclysm hits, it shouldn't be too much trouble to go back and delete them, because I'll be revising the guides anyway to reflect any changes Cataclysm makes to the class. Also -- werewolves. Who saw that coming? Have you seen those racials? Sweet Sister Mary Clarence, those are overpowered. And the transform animation? Well, don't we all feel stupid now for rolling something that barely manages a weak whumph when it shifts. But I'm an optimist at heart, and I firmly believe that Blizzard has something special in mind for us. Maybe a bigger whumph.

On a completely unrelated note that I am going to write here just because I can, I was tanking a VoA-25 PuG earlier this week and we lost our offtank to a disconnect right before Emalon. We then spent the next 30 minutes trying to find another tank...with 7 Death Knights in the raid.

Hero class, my giant furry newly-improved butt.

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

Shifting Perspectives: Leveling 21-30


Every week, Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we slog through levels 21-30. Also, werewolves.

Once the news broke on Troll Druids (and, I would guess, Worgen Druids as well, assuming that Blizzard isn't in the middle of a giant hoax), I sat back in my chair and held the following conversation with my subconscious, as I am so often wont to do:

ME: Troll Druids make no sense. Neither do Worgen Druids.

SUBCONSCIOUS: This is not about sense. This is about expanding your readership. Trolls + Worgen = MOAR DURIDS = more people reading Shifting Perspectives.

ME: That's not a valid statistical assertion.

SUBCONSCIOUS: Cool story, bro. Everyone will be rolling a werewolf Worgen when the expansion hits. You know you will be.

ME: (silence)

SUBCONSCIOUS: Werewolves! How badass is that, is all I'm saying.

ME: But the Trolls hate the Elves! They wouldn't be caught dead in Moonglade! And how the hell did the Worgen learn Druidic magic that took thousands of years to develop while some nutcase locked them behind the Greymane wall for 10 some-odd years?

SUBCONSCIOUS: Who cares?

ME (faltering): But...lore...wibba...wubba...

SUBCONSCIOUS: F%@k the lore! Now's the time to make a mad bid for power! Grind the rest of the class columnists under your questionably-itemized i-level 239 boot!

ME: Screw you, I need to go write the column for this week.

SUBCONSCIOUS (shouts after me): WEREWOLVES WEREWOLVES WEREWOLVES!

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

Shifting Perspectives: Leveling 10-20 and how to spec


Every week, Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we begin to enjoy our brand-new Bear and Cat forms in earnest.

Hail and well met, Druids. I apologize for my lack of comments on the last Shifting Perspectives, but I was away that week on vacation with abysmal hotel wireless. After spending 20 minutes trying to send a single reply, I gave up and decided that my time on vacation was better spent gorging myself on the offerings of the resort's culinary school. 4 days of coquilles St. Jacques, filet mignon, and venison sausage in puff pastry left me unable to move, but fortunately I have recovered sufficiently to roll myself, Violet Beauregarde-style, in the direction of the laptop for today's column.

Levels 10 through 20 will be among your most interesting and frustrating as a Druid, and they're certainly among the most volatile; as of patch 3.2, you will gain 4 of the Druid's possible forms within these levels, with the biggest alteration to your playstyle likely to occur at 20 with Cat form. Be forewarned that this resulted in a fairly lengthy, 3-part article.

Ready to go?

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

Shifting Perspectives: Why (or why not) to play a Druid


Every week (sort of), Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, in the anticipation of a patch likely to bring many new players into the fold, we descend into the depths of an ancient library in pursuit of Druidic history, lean back in our chair considering the modern form of the class, cast a gimlet eye toward the future, and then wonder how many more clichés we can shove into a sentence before readers start writing angry letters to our editor.

Dear new Druids,

Welcome to the class -- and for some of you, welcome back. I've observed a flood of players rolling premade Druids on the PTR to try out with the new bear and cat forms, and with the promise of new moonkin and tree forms arriving at some point in the future, I think it's reasonable to expect lots of you trying (or rediscovering) the class on the live realms. You are most welcome, and we are glad to have you. This is the best class in the game.

Now, I'll grant I'm prejudiced, because I have loved this class since the first day I started playing. I love it so much that it's difficult for me to remember that there are 5...or 8...or...however many other classes there are. I don't know. I haven't checked lately. I'm told Blizzard added another one, but I can't be expected to keep up with every little thing.

So.

It is possible that we have changed more than any other class between the beginning of the game and July 2009 as I write this. I want you to know what the Druid is all about, why it might be a good choice for you, and why (as much as I find this difficult to write) you may wish to steer clear before we start a series on leveling a Druid.

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

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