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Posts with tag tree-of-life

Level 90 druid talents take a level in badass; shapeshifting breaks roots again

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday was supposed to be an "off" week for the column, but screw that.

You know what? I think I finally nailed why the druid experience on the Mists of Pandaria beta has felt so bizarre at times. We've seen the re-emergence of stuff we used to take for granted (shifting out of roots and the return of permatree among them), and you know what it all reminds me of? Someone once described the boot camp experience as one in which "all of your God-given rights are stripped, only to be doled back later, one by one, as privileges." Yep. That's what this is like.

Anyway, Ghostcrawler hit the forums last night to give us some news on a revamped set of level 90 druid talents that have completely altered the ratio of win to suck in the bracket.

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

Breakfast Topic: Dumb things are fun

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Opinions were pretty mixed when druids lost permanent Tree Form going into Cataclysm, but two distinct camps emerged. Lots of people who'd been playing since classic WoW resented having to be in a low-poly model all the time just to be competitive with other healers. Others really liked playing a tree, missed the form, and have sulked their way through Cataclysm with only temporary access to the (admittedly awesome) Captain Disco Soul Patch Groovy Tree.

When Glyph of the Treant was introduced on the Mists of Pandaria beta, I was among those who hurried to glyph it in order to enjoy the form again and subsequently found myself running around Azshara like an idiot, one-shotting the mobs as a tree again. I have difficulty defending this. It literally adds nothing whatsoever to the class. It takes up a valuable glyph slot, gives no combat advantage, and exists only to be enjoyed.

And then I realized -- a lot of the stuff I've liked about Mists has absolutely nothing to do with the druid's combat effectiveness. Something that contributes to tanking, healing, or DPS always has to be balanced with other classes, and a degree of homogenization results because you can't have wildly different mechanics without usually getting wildly different results. Something that doesn't contribute to combat can just exist to be fun and doesn't have to be balanced with similar abilities elsewhere.

What skills, spells, or abilities does your class have that are only for fun? And on a more thoughtful note, would the game benefit from more "dumb stuff"?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Shifting Perspectives: Do restoration druids need a cooldown?


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration, and balance druids. This Tuesday, we equivocate on whether a point made in Shifting Perspectives: Healers, selfishness, and trouble ahead was prescient or just another beneficiary of Allie's usual dumb luck.

The title of today's Shifting column is maybe a little misleading. Strictly speaking, restoration already has a cooldown -- the still-controversial Disco Soul Patch Groovy Tree that has wildly gesticulated its way into all our hearts (well, some peoples' hearts) -- but now the developers are considering other possibilities in light of some data from tier 11 raids.

Not that we have access to said data (or anything to go on besides our usual rampant speculation), but a few trends have emerged from tier 11 that make the possibility of getting a big cooldown a bit more likely.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: The druid of 2010

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This week, Allie chugs cough syrup and hallucinates while sprawled on a bathroom floor. Truly the stuff of great literature, folks.

It has long -- or, okay, over two years -- been a tradition at WoW Insider for me to exploit the germs conveyed by my relatives to the domicile in the interests of writing a yearly druid post. How does this work? I get sick, go out and buy cough syrup, get trolleyed on the devil's own brew, and then stagger to a computer with no one on the editorial staff able to stop me from publishing in time.

This year, I didn't get sick around Christmas, nor immediately after it. In the interests of not disappointing our readership, which seems to enjoy articles written while under the heady influence of dextromethorphan, I secured lodgings on the floor of a bus station bathroom overnight and came back trying to restrain myself from barfing up a lung. Holding my head above the toilet was a certain semi-but-not-entirely-fictional person by the name of Letitia, whom you will have met earlier in Shifting Perspectives: Fun with race choice. Keep in mind that no small portion of this article was written from that position.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

New Tree of Life form in all its video glory


The new Tree of Life form went live on last night's beta build, and I've shot a short video to show you what it looks like in action. As mentioned previously, the Tree currently shares the male orc skeleton and animations, so you won't see anything too unfamiliar here, but the new form is just beautiful. If anything, it's kind of depressing that it's now a cooldown.

The new forms are colored by race, and here's the breakdown:
  • Night elves get the purple form.
  • Tauren get the brown and green form.
  • Worgen get the dark brown form.
  • Trolls get the light brown form.

Filed under: Druid, News items, Cataclysm

New Tree of Life model datamined

Boubouille at MMO-Champion has datamined the long-awaited new Tree of Life model from an upcoming beta build (click the image above for a high-res version), and commentary's already starting to fly on the forums. Some players are really enthusiastic, others are not (Cirocco of Rexxar's notable soundbite: "Hunchback of Notre Lame"), and others think it's a little too masculine-looking in comparison to the older treant model.

If the posture looks a little familiar, it's because the Tree apparently shares the male orc's skeleton and animations (at least for the moment), although I'm having difficulty locating the YouTube video that a player claims to have seen of this. The new model isn't yet live on the beta, so unfortunately I can't yet get a video for myself. EDIT: Thanks to our readers, it's been located -- go here.

I really like the new model, but I'm surprised that Blizzard thought it was a priority for an update given the Tree of Life's new status as a Metamorphosis-like cooldown. Bears and cats finally got their update in patch 3.2, so I'm hoping that Moonkin, Travel and Aquatic Form are next on the list. At any rate, it's a spot of good news (well, to me, anyway) in a patch where cat DPS has nose-dived, bears are going crazy trying to hold aggro in 5-mans, and trees are ... well, no longer trees. Past the cut you'll find a quick note on the WoW Insider team's take.

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Filed under: Druid, Cataclysm

Shifting Perspectives: Healers, selfishness and trouble ahead


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we stress the importance of pattern recognition.
Cirocco: I enjoy a healing model based around triage, quick reactions and maximizing output. I very much doubt I'll enjoy a healing model based around parsimoniously doling out mana and yelling at people who snipe my HOTs.
I've been guilty of a little pessimism concerning the restoration tree in Cataclysm. Many of my experiences healing on the beta haven't been good, and while I'm willing to allow for the likely possibility that that's just because I suck, it hasn't escaped my attention that a lot of druids have had the same hard time. Normal Cataclysm instances aren't bad if people are well-geared and play sensibly, but when things go wrong, it feels like you're emptying your mana into a group with nothing to show for it.

To be frank, it really is too early to evaluate whether the 5-man experience is representative of what we can expect in raids at 85, but I'm not worried about the numbers themselves. As Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer) has reminded us, numbers are pretty easy to fix. What worries me is more systemic; right now, it's hard to escape the conclusion that what made the restoration spec succeed in Wrath of the Lich King is a bad fit for Cataclysm, and a lot of our effectiveness is going to depend on player behavior that I'm not sure is going to change.

EDIT: Naturally I had to finish this article shortly before new information concerning beta build 12857 became available. It's not live on the beta servers yet, and may not be (12857 might be a purely internal build, in which case I wonder who Boubouille paid off), but there are a few things there that would have impacted how I wrote this column.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: The tree in Cataclysm raids

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them. This week, a square peg meets a round hole.

Yeah, this is another week with a video that has nothing to do with druids, but it's summer and I plead: a.) residual schoolgirl mischief, and b.) mounting hysteria from home renovation and the effort to convince my grandmother to jettison a garage full of canning jars before we can move her.

Anyway. As a few people have figured out, the beta came at an ugly time for me personally, and we've got some ground to cover. Before we do, I'd still like to address an issue raised two weeks ago when we talked a bit about the changes that resto players will see going into Cataclysm. This week's article is a more in-depth examination of how the new Tree of Life cooldown fits into Blizzard's wider sense of raid design in the new expansion. With the advent of the closed beta, we're getting a closer and better sense of how the class will function in the Cataclysm world, but we still have no real idea of how it'll play at 85 in a vastly different raiding landscape.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Fear itself

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them. This week, we condemn vuvuzela abuse while secretly hoping that someone manages to sneak one into Wimbledon or the local maternity ward.

The above video has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with druids or World of Warcraft but I promised myself I'd try to sneak it on the site anyway.

The official version of the Cataclysm restoration talents doesn't differ hugely from the one we saw back in mid-May, so I'm not going to repeat a talent-by-talent rundown like we did for the resto talents then and their feral counterparts last week. However, we do have a better sense of the spec's future due the clarifications afforded by blue posts, and what Ghostcrawler's written on the forums shed a lot of light on what Blizzard sees for the spec. I've been in contact with a number of people over common worries for the spec's future in Cataclysm, and below the cut I've collected a number of them (many of which I've previously expressed myself) with potential answers for these concerns.

EDIT: Shortly before this article was set to go live, I wound up excising the last portion, which concerns how the new Tree of Life cooldown fits into Blizzard's raid design in Cataclysm. I'm going to bump it to an expanded column next week.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Battle resurrections may get increased cooldowns

This was actually an offhand remark of Ghostcrawler's a few days ago, but it didn't seem to get much attention. In a thread devoted to the possibility of extending buffs like Blessing of Kings to additional classes in Cataclysm, Ghostcrawler mentioned the following:

Ghostcrawler
Obviously things like Rebirth can't just be handed to out to more classes unless we did something like a second exhaustion mechanic for battle rez or whatever. For now we're going to try the cooldown at 30 min again. In Icecrown's world of limited attempts, a 30 min cooldown likely meant you just cooled your heels until the cooldown was available again. In Cataclysm the hope is sometimes you'll have the benefit available but not every time, which scales back on how much of a game-changer it is.

An alternative to a longer cooldown for Rebirth is something where one druid using it would trip everyone's cooldown for a few minutes. That it's a bit gamey, but might solve the problem.

Also keep in mind that Rebirth is much more useful in today's game where people tend to die from massive damage. In a world where people sometimes die because the healers have run out of mana, then Rebirth doesn't buy you quite as much.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion

Shifting Perspectives: The forest and the trees

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we ponder the end of an era, and Allie kicks herself for not recognizing something she should have.

When the news hit on Tree of Life form going bye-bye, I didn't know what to think. To be perfectly clear, chopping the tree down is something that Blizzard's been kicking around for the better part of a year, if not more. We ran a Shifting Perspectives on it in May 2009 in the hope of drawing more attention to a forum thread where Ghostcrawler asked druid players if they thought the Tree was fun. To anyone who's new to the class and thought the developers pulled a fast one, that's not the case; they were open about the possibility that this would happen. When the discussion ended and nothing seemed to come of it, I (foolishly) assumed they had decided to leave well enough alone. The tree wasn't really adding anything to the druid's restoration spec, but it was a harmless addition to a class that considered shapeshifting its raison d'être.

Then the class announcement hit.

Like I said, I didn't know what to think. I sat back, thought about it, read the announcement thread again, thought more, reread the May 2009 thread, read through all of April 2010 class announcements again, noticed a fairly obvious trend, and finally realized something:

What Blizzard is doing with Cataclysm has almost nothing to do with what players have trained themselves to expect after Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. Pavlov's bell is ringing, but it ain't dinnertime.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Cataclysm

More Cataclysm change details for druids

Fear not, my fellow druids; your feral analysis post is going live later tonight, and resto sometime tomorrow. Daniel Whitcomb and I have been talking about the incoming changes to the spec, and particularly the decision to change the tree of life from a constant form into a cooldown. I honestly didn't know how to feel about it at first. But before we get to that, Ghostcrawler stayed up hellaciously late last night to answer questions from druid players about the Cataclysm changes currently planned, and we've collected all of them here for you.

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Filed under: Druid, Cataclysm

Shifting Perspectives: Tree 1, Arthas 0

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we save the world (of Warcraft).

Originally this week's article was going to concern stomping Karazhan from top-to-bottom as a feral/resto druid, and then I got Big Bad Wolf for the opera event. Suffice it to say that the stomping took an abrupt U-turn, and I never got pictures or video of the other Kara fights that I've successfully solo'd on dozens of other occasions (though I grant they were all occasions that did not include humiliating wipes to an overgrown dog). If I weren't in the middle of a time crunch it probably would've been doable, but regrettably I will have to run a feature on how to make 1,000 gold soloing Karazhan on a later date. In the meantime, Alaron's managed to solo Big Bad Wolf successfully, but my main is in the somewhat sticky situation of not being a night elf.

With the upcoming Icecrown raid buffs going all the way to 30% damage/healing/health/absorbs eventually, more and more raids are going to find their way to Arthas. Buffs aside, a lot of Arthas' difficulty lies in execution, and I started jotting down a few notes that I hope might be helpful to other druids likely to attempt the fight. We were fortunate to get both the 10- and 25-man version down, and I got astoundingly lucky on one 10-man attempt with back-to-back selections as a Harvest Soul target while I was running a video capture. I've seen a lot of comments online that caster druids aren't well-suited to dealing with this, and that's just not true at all.

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

Shifting Perspectives: In defense of a glyph everyone hates


Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we make a dangerous segue from curling to the issue of Healing Touch in raids, shattering our once-promising career with a finger cramp.

I'd be the first to admit I don't take the game quite as seriously as the hardcore theorycrafters at EJ. To be fair to WoW, it's hardly the only game in that position; with the Olympics on, I've had the opportunity to acquaint myself with many questionable pasttimes like curling. Someone even went so far as to set hipster music to a series of clips featuring expert players crouching on the ice, staring down the run with the coiled alertness of a Serengeti hunter. The athletic grace is impressive until you consider that they are watching a large rock slide down the rink at the speed of a miniature dachshund while teammates scrub frantically at the ice in the hopes that the rock will travel a few more inches. One realizes: a). the fundamental absurdity of the human condition, and: b). that the effort to maintain a dignified façade has caused you to soil your pants.

The inability to treat what is meant to be a fun hobby with the gravitas due, say, a shuttle launch or an Irish wake, has occasionally resulted in problems when readers take material more seriously than I do. The official forums have also convinced me that any deviation from the standard imposed by theorycrafters and spreadsheets is going to be greeted with hostility by anyone who decries the notion of individual choice in a game, which makes today's topic -- finding a place for the druid's worst heal in progression raiding -- a bit touchy.

I am required by law and contract to be sensitive to the needs of the differently-minded in our community, and as such, I am going to borrow (read: steal) a technique first employed by the humorist Dave Barry in a 1991 column.

Yes.

The following article has been closed-captioned for the humor-impaired.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Humor, (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

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