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Posts with tag starfire

Hearthstone: Sen'jin Shieldmasta

The Sen'jin Shieldmasta is a textbook example of a card that's incredibly strong despite being available to everyone. This four mana taunt creature is the bane of more aggressive decks because it boasts five toughness and often requires the sacrifices of multiple minions or spells to get it off the board. It's not just an answer to aggressive decks, however. The favorable distribution of stats makes it viable in almost every deck, save Miracle Rogue.

Sen'jin Shieldmasta has very few direct counters. While the Black Knight is designed to deal with it, opponents are essentially trading a six mana card to deal with a four mana card. It works, but it's inefficient. Priests can also drop Shadow Word: Pain to quickly remove it, but it's admittedly rare to see Anduin Wrynn on the ladder, as priests are generally not favored by top players. Druids have access to Starfall and Starfire which each deal five damage to a target, but neither are commonly in use right now. Beyond those cards, there isn't really a whole lot that will destroy a Sen'jin Shieldmasta conveniently. He's a solid play against common decks like Warlock Zoo, Miracle Rogue, Druid Token, Paladin Aggro, and more.

More importantly, Sen'jin Shieldmasta boasts arguably the most fun entry sound in the game, shouting "Taz'dingo!" upon being played. If you're looking for a reliable wall that won't cost you a single bit of dust, consider tossing this troll into your deck.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

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

Shifting Perspectives: A 3.3 miscellany


Every week, Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting druids and those who group with them. Today we root around our inbox and herd a series of scribbled notes across our desk, trying to get what we actually know about patch 3.3 in order. Also, Zach Yonzon's PhotoShop skills for the win, but we already knew that.

This week's column is going to be a little bit of a grab bag in much the same way that our patch 3.1 miscellany post was, because there have been a few changes on the PTR recently that we haven't yet discussed.

Before we get any farther, I'd also like to give a shout-out to our readers and commenters on last week's column, "The disappearance of the bear." I was a little antsy over how it was going to be received (lengthy articles on what's going wrong with a spec can get derailed into QQ-fests pretty easily, and that wasn't my intent), but was heartened to see so much quality discussion. One of the things I realized after reading through the comments was that Blizzard may actually have succeeded a little too well in their quest to make tanking more attractive and fun to the average player. WoW's four tanking classes (warrior, paladin, druid, and death knight) comprise 4 of the 5 most popular classes in the game right now. As I've written previously, the druid functions as the proverbial canary in the coal mine as a harbinger of class balance concerns, and with each of the game's plate classes numbering among the most played at 80, it's impossible for this not to have an impact on druid spec choice.

Anyway. For the moment, we are going to turn away from this rather depressing situation, and concern ourselves with what's going on in patch 3.3.

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

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

Patch 3.2 Druid changes


3.2 approaches! Sort of. The PTR itself isn't up yet (at least, not as I write this), but nonetheless, 3.2 approaches on little cat feet.

I'm going to examine the 3.2 PTR patch notes line by relevant line, just because there are several changes that impact Druids while not being class-specific. If you want a quick summary without being massively spoiled, Balance is getting a huge and welcome change to the functionality of Eclipse, Cats are getting bonked by the nerfbat, and PvP-Restos are really getting bonked by the nerfbat. Bears, well...not much is going to happen to bears this patch, which is a little demoralizing given the improvements being made to Pally tanks, but that's OK. We still have our, uh, amazing Tier 8 set bonuses and...um...the best -- sort of -- tanking cooldowns in, uh, the...uh...

...Oh, screw it, just stack the hell out of stamina and pray to the gods of RNG if your guild's dumb enough to try Ulduar on hard-mode. Congratulations; you have now done all you can possibly do to prepare yourself for modern tanking.

Sad lolbare is sad. But cough syrup for everybody! Is nise! Now let's take a look:

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

Shifting Perspectives: A 3.1 miscellany


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, our author ferrets around her inbox for several unanswered questions concerning patch 3.1.

Greetings, Druids. For a while now I've been adding to a list of questions I've had for the upcoming 3.1 patch. Some of these are questions I got from other players, some are questions that occurred to me while reading various versions of the 3.1 PTR patch notes, and others are mostly-illegible bits scribbled in the middle of testing Ulduar fights --

dasiewlerjewDIFEEIRKdfklsd? 3349FHDFHDIOJKfkdsfadioer. REIOWEL?


Must've written that one on Kologarn. I believe it is a super-secret, devilishly clever guide to the fight that brilliantly exploits group positioning to produce a clean, one-shot kill on the first attempt, but alas, we will never know. Such are the dangers posed by bad handwriting, people. Study your Palmer Method!

This evening, I will attempt to answer all of the following questions, or to point you in the direction of other bloggers who have. These deal with all three Druid specs, so let's get started!

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

Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Druid changes

As far as druids are concerned, Build 9658 is a Balance build. Sure, there are a few token changes for the other two trees, but Boomkins get by far most of the attention here. I'll get the lesser builds out of the way first:

  • Faerie Fire and Faerie Fire (Feral) now reduces the armor of the target for 5 min. (Up from 40 sec) I am actually really pleased with this. Having my FFF fall off the mobs is simply irritating, and I don't always have space in my rotations to re-apply it.
  • Restoration: Tree of Life mana cost has been changed from 28% of base mana to 13% of base mana. Can't complain about that.

On to the main substance of the Druid changes: Balance.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a Druid

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the nineteenth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

Nature is a system of life energy in constant flow, peaceful one moment and turbulent the next. All living things draw their life from it, and depend upon its balance for their existence. Druids are the protectors of this balance, who harness the energies it contains and try to live their lives according to its laws and principles. In this way, they become intimate members of the natural system, embodying the very force that they seek to protect. The druid is not merely a spellcaster who draws on nature to do cool stuff -- he is nature, in himself, completely one with it in every way. The world is his body, and he is an inseparable part of the whole.

It can be rather hard for those of us living in the concrete jungles of modern city life to get a feeling for what nature really is, or what it feels like to be a part of it. Perhaps if you have ever ventured off the paved highway into the distant reaches of the world, you will know the feeling of connection to the greatness of the natural world in which the human race evolved, long, long ago in a state of mind far, far away from billboards and electronic devices, pop culture and prime-time TV programming. It may no longer be possible for human beings to simply return to its ancient state, nor would that necessarily be a good thing. Today, people look out at the world outside the closed-off bubble of material civilization and wonder their new relationship with the ancient balance of nature could be.

To play a druid in WoW as a class in a game is one thing, but to try and get inside the druid worldview and understand what they might be thinking is something else. To start, it would help to look inside ourselves and see what sort of connection to nature exists there. Is there a balance? What would balance look like? How would it feel to be in complete harmony with the natural world? What would it be like to channel all the power of nature through your body or indeed feel the world itself as an extension of your body?

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Shifting Perspectives: State of the class, part 1 - Balance


Every Tuesday, or possibly Thursday when the writer votes on Tuesday and spends Wednesday screaming and beating her laptop over formatting errors, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week Allison Robert steals John Patricelli's column once again, secure in the knowledge that she will never be forced to atone for her crime as long as she writes something nice about ferals and keeps a respectful distance from Dan O'Halloran's whip.

I hate Tauren cat form.

Good. I got that out of my system and can write something productive. Although, believe me, if I could get away with it, an entire Shifting Perspectives would be devoted to just how much I hate Tauren cat form. I mean, just look at it! Look at the angle on the horns! The cat can't bite anything! Christ, I just -- hi, Dan. Yes, I'm totally writing the column! Look at me go!

This week, mindful as always of American election-year politicking, I'm going to borrow a page from presidential duties and write a little something I like to call "State of the Class." Druids have undergone a number of changes in the transition to Wrath of the Lich King, and will acquire even more as they level to 80. We are one of Blizzard's primary targets for both gear and role consolidation, which raises a few questions over how comfortably we're going to scale in relation to pure classes and what we can realistically expect on the march to a new level cap.

The TL:DR version of this article -- I believe our future is generally bright, the Druid community continues to have a few concerns over certain aspects of the class, our focus in PvP seems to be changing the most, and I hate Tauren cat form. This is a three-part post, so let's get started with balance. However, if you want to jump ahead to feral, you'll find that here; and the third part, restoration, is here.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Instances, Expansions, Features, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Buffs, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena

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

The Wow-ku challenge

A Japanese garden, the perfect spot to compose HaikuSo, you know what Haiku is, right? It's form of Japanese poetry. The most popular English version is 3 lines long. The first line is 5 syllables, the second 7, and the third is 5 again. All well and good, I'm sure you say, but what does this have to with WoW? Fimlys of the Asleep at the WoW blog posted a Wow-ku challenge a few days ago, asking people to make up Haikus based on our favorite game.

Here's a few I whipped up:

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Humor, Lore, RP

Shifting Perspectives: That special versatility

It's often been said that druids are the three-in-one class: we can mimic warriors, priests, rogues (and even mages), but can't fulfill their respective roles as well as they themselves can. While in recent times druids have been able to gear up and perform as well as their parent classes in many respects, we are far from "warriors with stealth" or "rogues that can heal" or "priests that can off-tank in a pinch."

Our problem as druids is that we cannot but neglect the full breadth of our abilities when we must specialize in only one aspect of our class. Of course, any class works best in situations where most or all their abilities might be needed to succeed, sometimes even in the course of a single fight -- it's just that for druids these abilities include tanking, damage, and healing all together.

If you're playing with an experienced group, each player is likely specialized to one of these three roles, and his or her whole purpose is to minimize the chance that backup tanks, healers, and damage-dealers will be needed. That leaves druids trying to compete with warriors, rogues and priests (and mages), trying to do just as well at the same task, but with fewer abilities to call upon in the fight. Locked into these smaller roles, we must gear up and spend our talents in such a way that even if we were to shift out of our main role into another when the need arose, we wouldn't be able to do very well at it at all.

This brings me to the adventure at hand: Today we will go on an journey of the imagination together, exploring the potential future of druids, considering how this problem of specialization versus versatility might be approached. Indeed, as I gaze into my crystal-ball-shaped paper-weight, I see two possible futures: one, called "The Path of the Pandering Pedant," seeks nit-picky perfection in a class designed for breadth and scope, while the other, "the Way of the Multitudinous Master" brings the full manifest of all our abilities into harmonious use with one another.

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

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