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Shifting Perspectives: A Mists talent analysis for cats and moonkin

Shifting Perspectives A Mists talent analysis for cats and moonkin SUN
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 feel talented.

So. New talents! Awesome, right? This week, I'm going to take a closer look at the tiers and make recommendations on which talent you'll want to pick up for your Mists of Pandaria adventures. (Yes, I've looked at the new talents before, but we've had several months' worth of discussion and changes since then.) I apologize in advance for the terrible puns in the subheaders.

Tier 1: We like to charge it, charge it

No way around it: Displacer Beast is flat-out terrible. In theory, the ability serves as a way to escape from enemies; in practice, it completely fails at this because it lacks the threat-dropping capabilities of Feign Death or the temporary damage absorption of Vanish. DoTs will still immediately snap you out of stealth, as will spells in the air (sometimes). Non-players will keep all their threat and keep attacking you. I could maybe sorta kinda see it being used offensively in PvP for feral (open from Prowl, dump some energy, DB out and reopen), but that's pushing things. At this point, I don't think the talent is fixable, and I'm hoping they scrap it and replace it with something that buffs Dash and/or Stampeding Roar.

Luckily, we have two other talents that are much better. Feline Swiftness's passive movement speed increase is boring but very helpful in any situation. Unfortunately, it has one key downside: It does not stack with boot enchants, which makes them an integral part of the decision. Feral will almost certainly be using the Blurred Speed enchant anyway for the agility bonus, so it's really more like a 7% bonus for them. Balance has a little more choice here; they can choose between move speed + 140 mastery or 175 haste, which will likely be a superior DPS option.

Wild Charge, in contrast, has a wealth of situational uses, especially in PvP. The cooldown being so short means you can use it pretty much every time you need it, which is great. Of course, that means you have to use it to gain any benefit from the talent. If you'd rather focus on your rotation, just go with Feline Swiftness. Basically, it's a pretty close call. I probably prefer Wild Charge for feral and Feline Swiftness for balance, but it can go either way.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

20 observations from a leveling tank

My main is a druid tank and healer, but on occasion, I've returned to two low-level warrior alts and braved leveling in the Dungeon Finder. Most leveling groups are a bit like the proverbial little girl with pigtails: When they're good, they're very, very good ... and when they're bad, they're horrid.

The following is a list of somewhat random observations I have collected after several expansions' worth of tanking for low-level groups.

1. Don't take shortcuts on trash packs. The time you save sneaking past one of them will be eliminated by the time you'll lose when someone blunders into them and dies.

2. Someone will almost always blunder into them and die.

3. Despite common complaints on the forums, the vast majority of players are actually really nice people who are perfectly willing to tolerate mistakes and the learning curve. The actual occurrence of true, unforgivable jackasses seems to be about one per five groups, although this depends on when you're queuing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Abilities I usually wish didn't exist in 5-mans

Most tanks are control freaks. As a matter of fact, you should hope that your tank is a control freak, because the ones who shrug off a mob running around loose are the ones you probably don't want tanking your run anyway. With that in mind, there are several player abilities that, while great for soloing or PvP, don't make the transition to a 5-man very well. Either they make life a real nuisance for your group members due to inherent design, or they tend to do so in the hands of a player who doesn't deploy them in a particularly helpful fashion.

Not all tanks will have the same degree of irritation with all of the following skills (for example, I play a druid, and because bears don't have a ranged silence, a knockback on a caster mob is much more likely to annoy me than, say, a death knight tank), but I promise you that they've all been mentioned by my tanking colleagues as abilities with a high chance of blowing a pull.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances

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 3.2.2 PTR Druid changes


There really aren't a ton of Druid changes on the 3.2.2 PTR as yet, but two of them are rather intriguing means of handling current PvP concerns for the weaker PvP specs (Balance and Feral). Anyway, I wanted to get our commenters' take on them because PvP is definitely not my area of expertise.

MOONKIN FORM: This form now also reduces the damage the druid takes while stunned by 15%.

Ghostcrawler mentioned recently that the main concern for Balance PvP isn't damage or CC -- it's just survivability, pure and simple. This is a very welcome change in that vein, although I'm surprised that it went to us over other casters, who are arguably more vulnerable to melee stuns. Well...maybe not. Shadow Priests have Dispersion, Warlocks have Demonic Circle, Mages have Ice Block and Blink, and so on. All of these are instant-cast, which might be part of why they're more effective "Oh s^$t!" buttons than Roots and Cyclone, both of which can be interrupted and silenced. Travel Form leaves you more vulnerable than you are in Moonkin, Bear Form has limited options given that most moonkin PvP builds I see still don't put any points in Feral despite the change to Survival Instincts, and Nature's Grasp -- well, you have to get hit for that to trigger that anyway.

We'll see if this helps, although if the root of Balance arena issues lies in the vulnerability of caster form (which was one of the factors driving the "tankiness" of Trees in Season 6), this change just nudges the Druid to stay in moonkin more than they already are. Still, I'm curious to see what effect this will have.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, Classes

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 Druid of 2008


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, our author is completely spaced out on cold medication, and is somewhat concerned that her raid performance has improved under the circumstances.

The time has come (the Allie said)
To talk of many things.
Of Roots and Bash and Travel Form,
And Strength (which scales with Kings).
Why Tauren cat form sucks so hard,
And whether trees have wings!

And, yes, before anyone asks, I'm tripping on too much cough syrup and ibuprofen after receiving a belated viral Christmas gift from a relative. So I'll just put this out there right now; this column's probably on the weird side. I took a long look at all three Druid specs over 2008 and saw a few sad things, a few happy things, a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants, and now I'm channeling the famous Mary Tyler Moore episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust," and that has to stop because I do not believe Mary Tyler Moore ever played a Druid.

If you're completely uninterested in reading an account of any spec that's not your own -- although that would make me weep into my little cup of generic label cough syrup -- here's a set of quick links to each:

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Humor, The Burning Crusade, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath of the Lich King: Druid round-up


Welcome to Wrath of the Lich King, my fellow Druids -- and welcome, I hope, to another expansion full of great things for the class. In general I believe the future is very bright for each spec, and with dual specs coming to the game, it's going to be a lot easier to enjoy the Druid's versatility without having to finance your class trainer's boat payments.

THE DRUID CLASS IN WRATH

  • Restoration: Resto, covered here, has probably taken the biggest blow in terms of both PvE and PvP viability in the form of a Lifebloom nerf and the disappearance of now-classic PvP specs, but we still got a lot of big buffs. Tree of Life has been vastly improved and we've gained both a flash heal (at 80) and an AoE HoT. Unfortunately, Wild Growth may be facing a nerf in the form of a cooldown soon, but nothing's certain yet. I don't want to sound too down here. You will notice the Lifebloom nerf in the post-3.0.2 world, but resto's gained a tremendous amount of raw healing output coupled with its customary mana efficiency. Stay tuned; healing is likely to undergo some major changes soon.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Guides, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

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

Breakfast Topic: A knock on knockbacks

The game-changing Echoes of Doom patch brought in a slew of new abilities and some of them included this nifty little feature called 'knockback', which effectively knocks back enemy players and NPCs. It's a whole lot of fun, particularly if you're knocking them off the bridge in Dun Baldar. I've been on the nasty receiving end of a knockback that sent me to my death in Eye of the Storm. I think it's a lot of fun, and it really does create some interesting conundrums in Arenas.

Of course, not everyone is thrilled by them. Our very own Allison Robert, bear tank extraordinaire, has torn out about half her hair (poor Allie!) in frustration from knockbacks messing with tanking. She implores you to use these abilities with restraint for the sake of her sanity. It's a level-headed request that Blizzard hears. They've recently hinted at new Glyphs that will remove the knockback effect from certain spells such as Blast Wave, Typhoon, and Thunderstorm.

How's your experience with knockback effects? Have you used it to kill enemies in Battlegrounds? Used it to escape some pesky Rogue slicing and dicing your butt? Maybe you've even used it in *gasp* an instance and rearranged the mobs that the tank so painstakingly positioned through the pull. How have you been (ab)using knockbacks? What's your take on the new mechanic? Yay? Nay? Art-fay?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

A plea on behalf of frustrated tanks everywhere

Several classes and specs have gotten "knockback" abilities as part of patch 3.02 and the game's transition to Wrath of the Lich King, and I've had fun watching these skills be deployed in battlegrounds to extensive and quite possibly evil use. It's pretty funny watching an elemental Shaman defend AB's lumber mill now, and the AV bridge? Even funnier.

And yet...as I laughed, I started to cry inside, because I knew that these skills would also be deployed in 5-man groups and raids to much less amusing effect. And man, it's a real burden being right so often.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, PvP, Instances, Humor, Classes, Battlegrounds

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

Typhoon bug dominates the Wrath beta

Remember a few content patches ago, the PTR had a fun little bug where Warlocks had the spell effect of Seed of Corruption castable rather than the spell itself? So Warlocks had an infinite range, no cooldown, no global cooldown, mana free, instant Seed of Corruption? Remember the chaos that caused? Well, guess what? It happened again!

No, no, it wasn't Seed of Corruption this time. It happened with the new Druid spell Typhoon. Specifically Typhoon Rank 5. It's already been hotfixed, so don't bother trying it now- you missed out. If you want to see exactly what people were doing with this spell, just check out the video above.

I had a chance to experience a little of this firsthand, and it was impressive, to say the least. A Moonkin rolling up to an enemy faction's town and laying waste is just hilarious to see, though not so much after the tenth time. Remember, this thing didn't even trigger the Global Cooldown. Druids were running around with macros that cast this spell ten or twenty times simultaneously. Nothing could even hope to survive, especially when you got a bunch of them together. Five or six Moonkin in Naxx-25 was just absurd.

If you want to see more of the bug, the tipster that supplied the above video has a whole bunch of them. Balance Druids, I hope as many of you got in on this as possible. Everyone gets a turn to be horribly, hideously overpowered. That was yours.

[ Thanks, Bular! ]

Filed under: Druid, Bugs, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath Beta patch notes: Balance Druids


Now that the Wrath of the Lich King Beta is live, and the patch notes are up, we have some solid information on Druid talents as they're being tested. Here is what the patch revealed:

Balance tree
If you were to invest three points into your Brambles tier three talent, you will not only have the current 75% boost to damage caused by Thorns and Entangling Roots, but your Treants will have their damage boosted by 15%.

In addition, all damage caused by Treants, and any attacks done to you while Barkskin is active, have a 15% chance of dazing the target for three seconds. Actually, Force of Nature, which summons your Treants, is having its cooldown reduced from three minutes to two.

This will be a nifty talent for Moonkin in battlegrounds and arena, although it won't be enough to convert all of those Restoration druids to the ways of the Giant Chicken.

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

Not quite a set - Typhoon

We've looked at a couple of the Tier 2 look-a-like sets in the past (the Green Wrath and Purple Judgement sets for those keeping score at home) and I felt it was time to continue. Maybe it's just me, but I really like when my armor set LOOKS complete. My shammy is currently striding about Shattrath in his Tidefury set, and I've had quite a few nice comments on the character's overall look.

So, if you're as strangely obsessed with completing a look as I am, I hope you'll find these articles on non-set sets appealing. If you prefer gear with the best stats over looks, you may not be getting that here.

This time around, I'm looking at a Shaman healing set, which happens to mimic the look of the Ten Storms tier 2 set. The graphics really don't do it justice, as you'll actually get little bolts of lightning playing around the shoulders and head when you put this gear on. As everything in the set has a slightly nautical naming convention, and the colors give off a deep-sea kinda vibe, I am now dubbing this set "Typhoon". Feel free to spread that around, folks.

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Filed under: Shaman, Items

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