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Posts with tag survival-of-the-fittest

Cataclysm: Reaching uncrittable

For those of you who don't know much about tanking, we're going to talk quickly about a stat that won't exist in Cataclysm. This lowly stat is called defense rating, and it's something that tanks need quite a bit of. The nice thing is that it's on just about everything that tanks wear, which means at higher gear levels, we've got it coming out of our ears. The primary point of this stat is to reduce the critical strike ability for incoming melee hits from the standard of 6% to 0%. Druids currently don't need this stat, as they've got a talent called Survival of the Fittest, which means that bosses don't need to drop defense leather.

All in all, the stat is kinda boring, as while it does still do nice things after you reach the defense cap of 690 rating (or 540 skill), most people don't bother with it and stack stamina or other avoidance. So Blizzard decided that they're going to get rid of it.

Around BlizzCon 2009, we were told that the crit reduction we formerly got from defense rating was going to be tied into things that were available to all members of each tanking class. Examples used were baking it into Bear Form for druids, Righteous Fury for paladins, Defensive Stance for warriors and Frost Presence (or rather, Blood Presence in Cataclysm) for death knights. That means that if a retribution paladin or arms warrior wanted to tank, all he'd need to do was swap to vaguely appropriate gear (or just over to a sword and shield), pop his respective abilities, and away he'd go. That's not how it appears things went down, though.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight

The Light and How to Swing It: Tanking stat changes in Cataclysm

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 helps with the puppet shows at the Argent Ren Faire up in Icecrown.

Since paladins are last on the list for the upcoming Cataclysm class previews due to how Blizzard ended up doing the development schedule, we've got another week and a half to wait for our details. I'm not picky as long as it gets done, so there's no reason to really grumble other than having to wait an extra week. However, I thought I'd go over some of the things we do know about Cataclysm for tanking.

Blizzard has mentioned that they're going to rethink tanking cooldowns and has previously asked for feedback on some of the abilities we currently have -- but to what end, we're unsure at this time. What they have told us about thus far is how some of the avoidance stats will be working in the coming expansion. Essentially, the only avoidance stat that isn't changing is dodge, with the others either being overhauled or removed. Let's take a look.

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

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

Lichborne: What Cataclysm might mean for Death Knights

Worgen Death Knight concept fanart
Welcome to Lichborne, the Death Knight column that dares ask the hard-hitting questions of Blizzard. Questions such as: Can I make a Worgen Death Knight now? Pretty please with sugar on top?


We've now had about a week and a half to digest all the new information from BlizzCon about the Cataclysm, and while it's not a complete picture of what we can expect from the expansion, there's enough information now that we can make some pretty good educated guesses about the direction of the game and the new theorycraft of being a Death Knight. Let's take a look at we can learn from the latest information.

New Races


The new races definitely have some pretty awesome racials. The Worgen's plus damage racial will make them a very solid choice for a DPS Death Knight, and the sprint will be excellent for closing distance in PvP, especially when paired with Lichborne or Icebound Fortitude to avoid CC. Even the skinning racial will be nice for a leveling Death Knight who decides to take some time out to level the money making gathering tradeskills.

Goblins are definitely going to be a nice little convenient race, with low buy and sell prices and a free bit of banking. Combat-wise, the Rocket Boots should be nice for closing distances or running away.

As far as whether these races will end up being the "best" races for Death Knights, I don't think I can say. Part of this is because I think the idea of a "best race" is, to at least some degree, rather subjective, but also, the devs strongly hinted they'll take a look at everyone's racial abilities as they move into Cataclysm, so its certainly possible that other races will get some new or upgraded racials that will keep pace with the awesomeness that are the new races' racials.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne, Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR Druid glyphs and undocumented changes


Personally the change I'm still plotzing over most in relation to 3.1 is the sheer locational chutzpah of the Argent Tournament. I'm not sure I understand why the northern portion of Icecrown is considered an appropriate spot. It's like seeing some Milwaukee strip-mall developer parachute into the middle of Mordor and exclaim over the retail and tourist opportunities within a 100-yard radius of Sauron's eye. What does the Scourge think about this tournament? Did they get a cut of the concession stand's profits as a means of buying their cooperation? Who else was bribed in order to make this happen? These are all questions to which I think we deserve answers.

Anyway, I seem to be one of the unlucky souls doomed to disconnect every 10 minutes from the PTR (although I'm not anywhere near Dalaran), but I'm sure it'll get fixed. One minor suggestion for all those Druids porting to Moonglade in order to pick up dual-specs immediately; have 1,000g in hand before you do so. As we all know, getting into Moonglade is rather easy. Getting out of Moonglade tends to be rather more time-consuming unless you're willing to burn your hearth in a world newly free of ghetto-hearthing.

Some of the undocumented changes we've actually already talked about, so if you don't see something here but missed our first article, you should find them here.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Features, Guides, Classes

Shifting Perspectives: The dual-specced Druid

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, in the interests of keeping our writer away from editors of the opposite faction on PvP servers, we examine dual specs.

Between lollygagging here at WoW Insider Central and engaging in some extracurricular indolence, I've often wondered where I'd take the column after finishing the bear pre-raid post. I could write something on how to theorycraft the highest-HPM tree, I thought, or get around to testing whether weapon skill has an unintended effect on bear threat. Look at the potential return from Eclipse procs as a function of fight mobility? Argue whether it's worth it to take Feral Aggression in a hybrid feral build? Or compose an entire column as a mockument to T.S. Eliot's most famous poem:

Q: Let us go then, you and I --

A: No.

All good ideas. But then we received the following missive from that enemy of all that is good and right in the publishing world, the editor:

MEMO: To all WoW Insider class columnists

FROM: You know who.

TEXT: Write something on how your class will deal with the upcoming dual-spec system in patch 3.1, or Dan "One-Eye" O'Halloran will "remember" where he left his whip.

"Well," I thought. "That sounds like a good idea too."

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Raiding, Guides, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

The Queue: Patch 3.0.8 is here!


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft.

Good news, everyone! We have a guest star today on The Queue! Yes, that's right, a very special guest! Well, sort of. I guess she's not that special after all, but our resident Feral Druid guru chimed in to answer a Bear question yesterday, and she answered it better than I ever could. Our first question of the day is hers to handle, then it's back to me. Because you all love me, right?

thon asked...

I've had a lot of heated debate on the current def cap of Druid Bear Tanks. Is there one if specced into Survival of the Fittest? Is it lower than a normal tank class? I'd love to be able to tell them for certain to pipe down!

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Wrath of the Lich King, The Queue

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

Lichborne: A Death Knight statistics primer

Death Knight Itemization: This guy is doing it wrong.
Welcome to Lichborne, the weekly Death Knight column by professor Daniel Whitcomb, who totally has a PhD in Death-Knightology from Ebon Hold University. It's the truth, I swear.

I've seen a lot of people asking these questions as we've been getting into the expansion: Now that I am trying to gear by Death Knights, what stats should I get? What's good for a Death Knight? Which armor should I take. We've started getting in that somewhat in the last few columns, with advice on reputation gear and starting zone gear, but I figured today we should delve a little bit more into the why of Death Knight stats.

Today's column will double as a little bit of primer on how Death Knights get their power, and what stats you should be looking for on armor in general to make your Death Knight the best it can be. It's not completely in depth, but it should get you well on the road to understanding just how Death Knights get all that awesome power and sexiness.

We'll have 3 sections today. The Good are stats that are excellent choices for DPS, Tanks, or both. The So-So are stats which still do us some good, but are pretty situational or conditional in their usefulness. The Outcasts are those stats that you should avoid -- Well, I'd say avoid like the plague, but we're Death Knights. We like the plague around here. So I'll just say you should avoid them.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Raiding, Leveling, Guides, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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: Dealing with Crushing Blows

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives is supposed to explore issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week John Patricelli, the Big Bear Butt Blogger, does what no one seems to want, and discusses playing a druid in the game as it is still known, rather than the expansion that is still two months away. Although it is likely Wrath of the Lich King will worm it's way in somehow.

I'd like to take a minute to talk about a mechanic that has defined the Feral Druid tanking philosophy, even though you might not know it.

I'm talking here about Crushing Blows.

A Crushing Blow is an attack made only by NPCs that does 150% of normal attack damage.

A Crushing Blow can happen if the NPC you are fighting has a base weapon skill 15 or more points higher than your base defense skill. Base defense skill is the only thing that counts towards the chance of a Crushing Blow; Defense Rating and Expertise are of no help whatsoever.

At level 70, if you are fully trained up, your defense and weapon skills should be 350 each.

Raid Bosses are level 73. They have 365 weapon skill. That's 15 weapon skill points higher than your possible defense.

Do you see the connection, my friends? If you are main tanking a raid boss that is level 73, then you are susceptible to Crushing Blows

As you might expect, tanks wish to know how to avoid taking these suddenly massive chunks of damage, if at all possible.

You may have heard before that Paladins and Warriors can "push Crushing Blows off the table", but you might not know what that means, exactly.

What kind of table is it? A nice mahogany? Teak? Perhaps inlaid parquet? Are they pushed off the table vigorously, so that they clatter all over the floor?

You may also have heard that having your attacks Parried by a raid boss can cause BAD THINGS to happen, especially if you can suffer from Crushing Blows.

Well, let's talk about this whole thing a little more after the break, shall we?

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Bosses, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Itemization and the plight of the bear tank in Wrath of the Lich King

One of the biggest concepts coming with Wrath of the Lich King is gear consolidation. Stat are being folded into each other and classes are being changed even on very basic levels so that fewer gear types can work for more classes and specs. Feral Druids have seen this happen as well, with talents such as Survival of the Fittest and Heart of the Wild tweaked so that they can get more benefits from Rogue gear.

Unfortunately, this hasn't worked out that well for bear tanks.

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Filed under: Druid, Rogue, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath Beta patch notes: Feral and Restoration Druids


Continuing on from the analysis of the changes to the Balance druid talent tree, as shown in the first patch notes for the official Wrath of the Lich King Beta, we'll now examine the Feral and Restoration trees.

Feral tree
The Feral tree is seeing changes to limit the benefits that the other two trees, specifically Restoration, can gain from investing a few points into the first few tiers. We are also seeing changes to the ways in which bears will be generating aggro.

The Faerie Fire (Feral) and Feral Charge swap
Feral Charge is currently an 11-point talent into the Feral tree, which contributing to the advantages that Restoration druids currently have in arena. It allows Restoration druids the ability to charge, immobilizing their target and interrupting spells for four seconds.

Instead, Faerie Fire (Feral), which is not something that a Restoration druid would likely spend 11 points to get, will take up the 11-point spot, with Feral Charge taking its place in the tree 21 points in.

In addition, Feral Charge will be usable in cat form, dazing the target and moving the cat behind it. This will help address the concerns that cat form is not especially viable in PvP, although their crit dependency is still a weakness. It will also be useful in dungeons to catch runners and other out of place mobs.

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

Shifting Perspectives: Hit Rating, Expertise and Defense skill for PvE

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week John Patricelli, sometimes known as the Big Bear Butt Blogger, offers guidance on three of the Feral Druids' key combat mechanics; Hit Rating, Expertise and Defense skill.

There are three combat mechanics that have a direct bearing on the Feral Druid in PvE at level 70, and each have a functional upper limit on how much you need, before adding more becomes a waste of points.

The three combat mechanics I'm talking about are Hit Rating, Expertise and Defense skill.

When discussing these combat mechanics, there are three numbers I want you to remember; 142, 91 and 415.

If you remember nothing else from the rest of this article, I hope that you carry these three numbers away with you.

142 is the total amount of Hit Rating needed to reduce your chance to miss against raid bosses to zero. Above 142, adding more Hit Rating does nothing for you whatsoever.

91 is the amount of Expertise Rating you would need to reduce the chance of an attack being Parried or Dodged by 5.75%. Currently, it is believed that level 73 raid bosses have a base 5.6% Dodge.

415 is the total amount of Defense skill you need to be immune from critical strikes by level 73 raid bosses, assuming you have 3 points spent in the talent Survival of the Fittest. And if you're tanking at level 70, you should have 3/3 in SotF.

Why are these three combat mechanics so important?

Well, for that we need to go behind the scenes and under the hood to find out a little more on how combat in World of Warcraft actually works.

Read on past the break for more!

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

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