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Shifting Perspectives: The return of Permatree and other badass glyphs

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, our friends keep mounting us and -- for whatever reason -- we encourage it.

I'm currently prepping a column on the bear experience on the beta, but seeing as to how so much of the recent experience consists of disconnecting, lagging my way to parts unknown, launch problems, and finding colorful new language with which to greet these events, let's put that on the back burner for now.

One of the things that was instantly obvious about the new set of Mists of Pandaria druid glyphs is that a lot of them are, for lack of a better term, really, really fun. One lets us confuse people endlessly about our actual spec. Another lets us be mounted by friends and groupmates for totally platonic purposes. I hope.

Now, these are by no means all of the new glyphs available on the beta right now, but with so many class abilities being retuned and changed, it's tough to evaluate how most of the major glyphs stack up. However, even a few of the major glyphs are things that'll pretty obviously have a positive impact on how you experience a spec, so I've included the ones that really pop out here.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Restoration and the Tree Druid's future

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, rather than plagiarizing from Stephen Hawking, we plagiarize from ourselves, and for the second time in column history, we shelve our Previously Scheduled Guide in favor of an emergency summit concerning Tree conservation.

A question for Druids from Ghostcrawler himself; is Tree of Life form fun?

I'd like to get the question a bit more exposure both here and on the forums, because it's a thought-provoking issue. No other healer, as he observes, has to sacrifice anything in order to use a key talent in their healing tree/s, and from how Ghostcrawler's worded his post, it seems pretty clear that the PvE and PvP healing output of the Restoration spec is explicitly balanced around the use of Tree of Life. That's fine -- it is our 41-point talent, and a good one at that. It's not unreasonable for Blizzard to expect that we'll use it. However, It does have implications for game balance when 3 of 4 healing classes retain all of their offensive capabilities, crowd-control, and interrupts while healing, and the Druid relinquishes all of the above in order to provide the same level of healing throughput.

I took a look at the thread in question, and if you want my honest opinion, some of the issues being described are the logical evolution of problems from October 2005 when Tree of Life went live. The game has changed, and while the flagship Restoration talent has slowly changed alongside it, the inherent design of the form still reflects realities from the classic game rather than Wrath. Interestingly, many of these same problems affect moonkin as well.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Forums

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

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

Arena Tournament: Tales from day one


Last night, the WoW Insider arena team stepped into battle for the first time on the arena tournament realms, and it was immediately apparent that things were going to be quite different from our experiences on the tournament test realms.

For starters, there were way fewer people. I also noticed that, contrary to my expectations that everyone shelling out an extra $20 to play here would be a hardcore arena-goer, there were many people on just to have fun. General chat was full of people who didn't know where to go, how to allocate their talent points, and even people who hadn't formed teams yet!

Still, despite the fact the vendor areas had a drastically reduced population, the queues were amazingly short, as Adam points out. Often, I was reading that my team had joined the queue at the same time I was clicking to enter the battle.

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Filed under: Horde, Druid, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Events, PvP, Arena

Shifting Perspectives: The same old animal posterior

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them, brought to you by Dan O'Halloran and David Bowers.

Some people say that Blizzard is lazy. Players tend to start voicing this sort of opinion when it seems like Blizzard hasn't done something they think should have been done a long time earlier, such as adding new dungeons they won't visit, or new features they won't use. Sometimes there's just one particular thing that grates and grates on the players' nerves so much that they simply cannot understand why Blizzard hasn't done anything about it yet.

Even I have been guilty of this sort of thinking now and then. But ultimately, it becomes apparent that, whatever the status of Blizzard's list of flaws -- laziness is not one of them. Indeed, we simply do not realize the massive extent of work that is required to achieve some things, especially the things we don't personally desire, and therefore fail to give credit for hard work done where we don't realize such credit is due.

The topic at hand today is a prime example of such a problem, a druid pet peeve which has gone on for a long long time. Exhibit A, above, is the Tauren Cat Form, or rather, what some of us might wish the Tauren Cat Form looked like -- a player's own suggestion submitted in Blizzard's own art contest of 2007. The Tauren Cat Form that Horde druids have been seeing since 2004 is pictured to the left here in Exhibit B [Update: Tauren cat form has been slightly updated in patch 2.3]. Whether or not Exhibit A is the perfect replacement for Exhibit B can be left up to the good judgment of the reader, but for the purposes of this article, it is sufficient for us if we all agree that something must eventually be done about the feral druid's monotonous appearance problem. That's to say -- we tire of staring at the Same Old Animal Posterior (or SOAP).

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Patch 2.3 and you: Druid Edition

With Patch 2.2 out the door, the official information about 2.3 hasn't stopped all afternoon. Here's what's in store for Druids as confirmed on the official forums by blues:
  • Spell damage added to Healing gear. This was hinted at during Blizzcon and confirmed today: All +Heal gear will receive one-third of the healing bonus as +spell damage. So a chest piece with +750 healing will now also have +250 spell damage. The addition of spell damage is a bonus and will not lower any other stat on the equipment. (source)
  • Intensity is changing. Currently, this Restoration talent increases your mana regeneration in combat 5%/10%/15%. After Patch 2.3, the mana regeneration will increase to 10%/20%/30%. (source)
  • Druid combat rez is having its cooldown reduced from 30 minutes to 20 minutes. CM Bornakk went on to confirm that the cooldown will not be reduced any further since that would seriously imbalance PvP. (source)
  • Zul'Aman is ready to go in Patch 2.3. This is important news for druids as some Balance spec itemization issues were promised to be addressed in this 10-man post-Karazhan instance.
  • New relics for Druid, Shaman and Paladin PvP players. Blues didn't have specific details but promised they would be tailored for many different specs. (source 1, source 2)
  • Moonkin's PvP viability will get a boost: they will be able to cast Remove Curse while in Moonkin form. (source)
  • Tree of Life form will be able to cast Cure Poison and Abolish Poison. (source)
  • No changes planned for feral druids in this patch. (source)
What these changes mean to druids after the jump.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, News items

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