God damn it...

I KNEW IT... I FUCKING KNEW IT. There's just no way around it now: Blizzard hates me and my brother. Hate is a strong word, and it's the only word that can describe how Blizzard feels about us and why they therefore treat us like crap at every available opportunity.

This link shows Blizzard's acknowledgment of a bug that has existed since the onset of the arena. Why does this prove that Blizzard hate us?

Power word shield does not work on feral druids.

Are you fucking kidding me?

... at least they're fixing it, but this totally screwed up our first week of arena ... my anger is palpable.


Alright, Guntir and I did extensive testing on the PTR and found that Primal Tenacity was causing the bug, we reported it, and a blue has locked the thread giving me hope that it will be resolved by release.

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New Comp

My friend is going to be playing my warlock a bit, and since my lock is on a different account, that's another raid member... we'll have to switch up our comp a little bit, but it's looking pretty good so far:


Also, we got a new tank in the guild - Antihope Unholy DK. He tanked heroic violet hold for us last night and did very well at it, so we tossed out an invite to him and he accepted.

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I'll Make This Quick

There exists a lot of complaining in the forums because of the change to dps in WotLK (that is, any dps spec can dps competitively to any other in comparable gear, regardless of class), mainly from rogues.

"Why should anyone roll a rogue now, we used to be the top single-target dps class in the game, now we aren't."

Here's why anyone would roll a rogue now: they like playing a rogue. It's the same reason I rolled a druid back in the day, and the same reason I have a rogue now... I like playing them. Now that rogues have to actually work to be competitive dps-wise, the whole experiment has fallen apart because rogues aren't easy-mode for raid spots.

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I Hate Ferals

It took me a while to remember this fact. 90% of the player base of World of Warcraft are terrible at PvP, and usually poor at grasping the full extent of the concepts required to PvP well. Let me put down a 'for instance':

"Ferals have none of the survival talents/abilities of other classes [long list of survival talents/abilities removed for reading sake... Bubble, etc], and therefore will be terrible in the arena as they will be the first targets and receive the train of death while their partners are ignored or cc'd."

This is just patently absurd. I understand that the previous seasons have been riddled with min/maxing their way to the top, but s4 really opened the eyes of a lot of players and showed how hybrid play can really be just as effective (and more effective) in scenarios where played right. For instance, restokin+rogue was an amazing hybrid team which trumped resto+warrior if both teams were played perfectly because of the slew of utility and supplemental dps from the restokin coupled with the longevity and utility of the rogue, not to mention they were the top 2 most mobile classes in the game. Given this understanding, my guess is that this person hasn't even looked into talents other than the ones which will increase his/her dps. Sure, if you take HotW then you can't take PotP or perhaps even Primal Tenacity, which will greatly reduce your longevity in PvP. However, by dropping HotW and perhaps Predatory Instincts, you can pick up these other really useful survival talents at very little lost dps.

"Ferals will have no place in 3/5-man arenas as their only utility requires them to stop dps'ing long enough to get a cast off, and that will never happen because their dps is so low compared to other melees that they need 100% dps time to keep up."

Again, patently absurd. Next to the Retadins before they were nerfed, ferals were doing the MOST damage in arenas consistently, with rogues a distant 3rd. The problem with rogue dps is that the only arena spec we saw was Mutilate, and while Mutilate rogues do a lot of damage, it's very crit-dependent and bursty. All we had to do was let the rogue get the opener on my priest, then I would get my opener on him and we'd win. I could cyclone/root through his evasion while my priest got away, then I could flat out-dps him and without Cheat Death, he would die. The ONLY time we had trouble with a rogue was when there were two of them, and we occasionally beat that team too... but back to the subject at hand. Roots and cyclone are both 1.5 second casts, which isn't super hard to get off in a PvP settings. Not to mention that since Maim doesn't necessarily break on damage anymore, you can use that as an effective CC as well because of the short cooldown. We had many MANY matches on beta that would require me to Maim one, root the other, and cyclone the maimed target for my priest to make his get-away, but it always worked out well, and half the time the other team didn't see it coming and would trinket maim only to get hit with the cyclone-train (as an added bonus, when they didn't do that and trinketed roots/cyclone, I would just switch up the casts and put roots on the cycloned target and vise versa).

Do I think that ferals will rule the arenas? No, not even close. I do think that our Priest+Feral team will be in great contention for a high rating though, simply because it's an unplayed comp for the most part and no one will instinctively know how to handle it. We already have strategies set up for a number of different likely popular comps, and we handled the good ones really well in beta. I realize beta and live are two different beasts, but if all plays the same, we could do really well.

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Dare I Dream?

Frequently, though less of late, I find myself reeling over the glory days of arena play, if one can truly speak as if the days were truly glorious. We have not played an actual arena match in about a month, and by a an "actual" arena match, I mean one in which we were trying as hard as possible to win, talking on vent the whole time, sometimes shouting about things under or out of our control. Essentially, this is what I refer to as the glory days; the sense of strife is what made them glorious. We were not the best, in fact we were far from it and never once broke into the 1900 bracket. We can very close at one point - our highest rating is listed as 1873 on the armory's statistics page, but I feel like we actually hit 1891 at one point. Either way, we were not even eligible for the previous season's shoulder gear.

Bah, that's not the point.

The point is this: I'm at work and I have very little work to do, actually. This economic depression we're going through has left my little company with few clients willing or able to spend and thus we are short of some work. In any case, I'm sitting here watching some of the old wow videos I have, mainly arena videos, and I'm watched one in particular that struck my fancy - Heidiheinken's Warmaster video. This video is dated at the beginning of season two (you can tell because he has a portion in there illustrating how best to kite warmasters as a warlock and that was removed about halfway through TBC), but the ideas are still valid today. I like this video particularly for two main reasons: firstly, it has Through the Fire and Flames during a mirror match and that song rocks; and secondly, he has subtitled the entire fight with tips, explanation, commentary, etc. concerning the warlock+druid duo (which he rocks).

There is a bit in there where he praises Lifebloom versus other class' heals in terms of arena viability. "Lifebloom is so good that it might be more efficient to simply heal through Curse of Agony rather than to dispel it. Lifebloom heals as much as Flash of Light if it gets dispelled, and twice as much over the duration of a three-stack. Lifebloom is a DoT on crack, but for healing. When you team a survivability spec'd warlock [23/38/0 back in the day] with a survivability spec'd resto druid, you have the most formidable combination in twos play against any other healer+dps team." The thing that impresses me the most is that he's absolutely right. His team was almost a year ahead of the curve, his druid figured out that the warlock didn't take enough damage to really NEED swiftmend, so he altered his spec and went with the equivalent restokin-type spec but played it defensively rather than supplemental damage. Essentially, his druid had about 300 more healing than any other druid in the game, had talents which made his lifebloom tick for way more than every other druid, and he had something egregious like 400mp5... when you team an infinite mana healer with an infinite mana dps/drainer, you get an amazing team.

This is what was fun about arena, trying out unknown comps, specs, styles, etc. Getting hyped over matches and gushing over this move or that situation and just getting pumped up crazy-style. This is why I am already excited about the start of a new arena season: we already have tried out some PvP styles and specs at 80 on the beta, so we have a bit of a leg-up on the competition in that regard, and we have a comp now with which I doubt we will ever see a mirror-match.

Feral + Disc/Holy

I know I've already talked about this comp a bit, but it really doesn't go far enough into the play-style to warrant its finale yet. First off, let's talk about the specs. The feral spec is missing some older, outdated, talents which one would normally see on traditional builds from different druids. The fact of the matter is, Predatory Instincts, while improved from TBC to scale, is still an outdated talent and not really worth the points. The same is true for Heart of the Wild as well, 10% more attack power in cat form would be nice, but it's definitely not worth 5 talent points, and it's DEFINITELY not worth the 3 required from Predatory Instincts as well. Instead, I have eight talent points to throw around into less popular talents which could bring more utility to the playing field. Talents such as Nurturing Instincts, Protector of the Pack, Rend and Tear, and a full 5 points into Naturalist.

Nurturing Instincts is a good talent, though people complain that 70% of our agility to healing just isn't enough especially when coupled with our limited mana pool. My contention on the subject is this: I would still put 2 points into Nurturing Instincts if it gave me no healing; I don't take it for the healing given, but for the buff to healing received. Nurturing Instincts increases healing received while in cat form by 20%, effectively making me take huge amounts of healing, which is good because cat form is reasonably squishy. This is the crux of the healer+feral 2s arena viability. That is, without this talent, there is no feral arena viability... but it's a moot point since every feral takes it by accident for the bonus to their healing... shmucks.

Rend and Tear and Naturalist are just two amazing talents, the former being overlooked by most druids in the forums because of its cost. Yeah, it takes 5 talent points to make it awesome, but it's reasonably awesome enough to warrant that cost. Many druids still contend that "Ferocious Bite is still too wonky to use viability in an arena setting" and I tend to agree, however that is again missing the point entirely. See, I like to play as a Shredder, which is to say that I use Shred as my primary source of damage, which is a multiplier attack. Don't get me wrong, Mangle is a multiplier attack as well, just not as big of one. Essentially, I take RaT because it has this little blurb with 5 points in it: "Causes your Shred and Maul to do an additional 10% damage against targets who are bleeding." If I'm doing my job right, my opponents are always bleeding, and a 10% multiplier for an ability which is a straight multiplier adds up to a gross amount of damage. Similarly, because I don't have to spend those eight points in PI and HotW, I get to take three additional points into Naturalist over other druids, which makes me do 6% more damage with physical attacks... which means another 6% multiplier for Shred which already has a laundry list of multipliers. I have had Shreds in the arena against DKs that crit for 5k damage under the proper conditions. We had one match against a resto shamang + dk in which the resto shamang would simply not run OOM because of water shield and naturally high mp5/spirit. Eventually, I hated a plan to simply burst down the DK whilst we caught the shamang napping on his duties. So, I saved up some cooldowns and got the DK to about 75%, 5-pt maim'ed him with Mangle, FFF, and Rake up, popped Tiger's Fury, hit Berserk, and went to town with Shred. 5k, 5k, 5k, 11k FB crit, dead. I think I had a clearcasting in there for the FB, because it would never have gotten so high otherwise, but it still was a sight that the shamang was ill-prepared for, and I suspect that our opponents once the arena is opened again will also not be prepared for.

The last "weird" talent I picked up was Protector of the Pack. Right now, this talent is a bit underwhelming in that it relies on the number of party members to determine how much damage reduction is applied. Currently, it would only give me 3% damage reduction while in bear form in 2s arena, but it was confirmed by GhostCrawler that the party restriction is being removed and it will be indeed turning Bear form into an honest-to-goodness defensive stance (with battle stance like damage output) at 12% damage reduction flat from the 3-point talent. Personally, I don't see why every druid wouldn't want this talent as 12% damage reduction is very nearly the 20% damage reduction warlocks got from soul link, except we don't have to keep a pet up and our damage is a little bit more intensive. Essentially, I'm rocking ~50% physical damage reduction currently in bear form, with this talent I would have an additional 12% damage reduction, I can pop Barkskin while in bear form for an additional 20% damage reduction, and I have Primal Tenacity which reduces damage taken while stunned by 30%. If we take damage reduction to be multiplicative (which I think it is as the damage is reduced, then the remainder is reduced, etc), then that would net me about (1.0 - 1.0*0.50*0.88*0.80*0.70) 75.36% physical damage reduction and 50.72% non-physical damage reduction while stunned in bearform with barkskin up. That should speak for itself in terms of utility and survivability.

Additionally, I bring crowd control utility, and innervate for my priest to the table. I can, at almost all times, root one opponent and cyclone the other, giving my priest enough time to make a hasty escape and get some well deserved healing and/or drinking into the match. This also comes very much in handy against double dps teams who try to target the priest (though that happens less and less now... which is why I went with the survivability talents for bear form so I can live through the double dps burst while my priest is cc'd). We fought a couple of mage+rogue teams that succumbed to trying to gib me while cc'ing my priest only to lose to us because of my amazing physical damage reduction, feral charge school lock, and my partner's grand mishmash of abilities.

The priest spec I linked has a few notables in it. First, and foremost, is Lightwell. Many disregard Lightwell as a useless PvP ability only because it requires the dps of the team to stop doing what they do in order to us it. However, we understand it as much more than that: it's an amazing heal in and of itself, but it cannot be crowd controlled. When the priest is eating polymorph and/or blind/sap etc, I have to live through the burst damage that the other team can put out, and this is where Lightwell REALLY shines. I take damage slowly, meaning that any amount of healing over time magics used on me will really do a good job, so while my priest is cc'd, I am surviving as best I can with 1) my ccs, 2) bear form, 3) lightwell. In a number of those matches I would simply root/cyclone the rogue, go into bear form and wait for the mage to start casting and I would feral charge him to lockout his dps school (or better yet, lock out his arcane school so my priest couldn't get poly'd again), and let lightwell keep me alive during the onslaught. More often then not those rogue+mage teams would help me more than hurt me by stunning me. In essence, they would stun me which would force me to take damage, but then it would be reduced by 30%, and I would pop barkskin immediately (usable while stunned) to take even less damage and I would usually be near enough to the lightwell to use it (also usable while stunned) so I would actually come out with more hp than before they started the burst. Eventually, I would kill the mage and we would win.

The other aspect of the priest build we're using is also high survivability. The spec has essentially four abilities which proc from an opponent's critting him, all of which cause him to either take less damage or get out a knockback-free heal, or something else equally amazing. At the same time, he has a slew of healing abilities and a number of talents which make them cheaper to use. He also has reflective shield and a few burst spells in case we really need to burn an enemy down while we have cc'd his teammate.

I cannot wait to get out there and try this comp out again, but for real this time.

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Alrighty... we're finally hitting 80 (most of us later than Guntir and Esqueleto... grats to you nubs; get a job) and starting to look at instances/raid content for gear. Essentially, we think that we should be able to muster enough for a Naxxramas 10-man raid, which drops reasonably good gear (much better than our s4 gear in every regard except resilience >_<). We will probably start running some 5-mans to get better blue gear to get ready for a Naxx10 run.

My friend Lelon who is in a big raiding guild on a different server (one of the server's first full clears of Naxx25, etc) has suggested that we could most likely rag-tag together 2 wings of Naxx10 with our current gear (and some respecs) and after a week or two of gearing up there, we would be able to clear the rest. The only question becomes raid composition.

We have a feral druid, a disc/holy priest (whom is suggested to go a pve holy spec for Naxx10 to make things easier), a frostfire mage, and a combat rogue (who needs to hurry up and ding 80 already). Based on this rue, it was suggested to me to use this composition when deciding that last few spots. We know a real jackass whom we like playing with who likes to tank, so we will probably use him as the MT of the raid if he's up for it (lookin' your way ghoster), but the last spots are basically unknowns to us. We have a small guild after all, and getting new blood has always been a concern of ours. To tally it all off, we are going to need the following:

1) BM Hunter
2) Ret pally (for Replenishment 100% uptime)
3) Resto druid
4) Resto shamang
5) Affliction lock / boomkin

Obviously the hardest spots to fill will be healers as they have traditionally been the bane of any raid makeup, although with guaranteed drops, it should be less of a problem. For instance, all the agi/crit mail would go to the hunter without any competition. Same with ALL the dps plate, it would mainly go to the ret pally (and get greeded by the tanking dk). The resto druid would get all the healing leather, the resto shamang would get all the healing mail. However, then we have the last slot which is going to step on someone's toes; either the lock rolls on the mage gear and there's some competition there, or the boomkin rolls on some of the resto druid's leather. I would rather see the boomkin in the raid as they bring the same stuff as the lock (for the most part) but don't roll against any other slot as much.

So, to all the guild leaders and officers, please keep your eyes open for decently geared people who would like to fill this roll. Naxx is on a 7 day reset timer, so timing shouldn't be a HUGE problem, but we would look at evening play, so most west-coasters would be preferred, but midwesters with no problem staying up late would be welcomed as well. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday would LIKELY be the scheduled evenings for 10-man raiding, with Saturday/Sunday as optional pickup days if we are slow or fast (the assumption being that we would start slowly and need to finish up a wing on those days with us eventually getting the first 2 wings done on Thursday, having a head of steam on Saturday and trying out the next wing).

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I finally have a reason to post again. Quick update: arenas are laggy as shit, if one clicks too quickly on the "enter arena" button they'll get rocked and kicked out, leaving arena matches 2v0 or 2v1 or 1v1 a lot of the time, and retribution paladins are completely out-of-their-minds-OP right now due to crazily stacking multipliers on crusader strike and really short cooldown-wielding long-duration-having cc (repentance).

Okay, now that we're up to speed, I'm specing my druid for a healing touch build today. This spec, to be specific. "But Healing Touch is too hard to get off in most PvP scenarios!" Shut up and stop whining, I'm a busy man, I don't have time for your nonsense. Here, let's break it down:

I found some stacking that I don't believe Blizzard has fully looked at yet. I was trying to compare Flash Heal to Healing Touch (with the Healing Touch glyph) when I noticed something on the WoWWiki page. Priest's have Flash Heal, which is a 1.5 second cast heal and so it gets 42.86% of their healing with it for scaling purposes. Fine, but when I looked at Empowered Healing (used to give them 10% more spell power coefficients for Flash Heal, now it's 20%... but WoWWiki hasn't updated, so we'll stick with 10% for this experiment), I noticed that the total percentage was NOT 47.15% (which would be 42.86% * 110%), rather it was 52.86%.

"Why is this important, and how does it relate to Healing Touch!?"

I'm getting to that... jees, keep your pants on (unless you're a lovely lady, in which case I wouldn't hold it against you to remove them... send pics). There is a talent in the Restoration tree called "Empowered Touch" which does something similar to Empowered Healing, except the coefficient addition was designed around Healing Touch being (at best) a 3.0 sec cast, so they weighted it very heavily... 40% additional healing.

"Whoa... okay... so if I get the Glyph of Healing Touch and Empowered Touch, I'm looking at essentially a flash heal with an 82.86% coefficient?"

Damn skippy. I went and tried this on my level 70 druid on the beta server (since all servers are down for maintenance currently) and with the spec I linked before, Healing Touch is a 450 mana, 1.0 second, ~3k heal with my ~1800 healing.

"Holy pooping jehova! That's better than Flash Heal talented with 2500 healing..."

Yeah. It is. I don't think Blizz has come to terms with what they have given level 70 druids for the remaining time, but truth be told, I might not use Lifebloom anymore. Rejuvenation, Healing Touch, and Swiftmend... with 400mp5 from Dreamstate... yeah... that just happened.

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Interesting Title 1

I have been a bit quiet, lately, and I blame this on lack of interest. The main problem vexing me at the moment is that we are in a world of flux. A realm of ever-changing axioms, if such can be, causes us great anxiety and confusion in the best of scenarios. Over the last few months I have been verbosely looking forward to the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion: Wrath of the Lich King. Truth be told however, there is not a whole lot that I am looking forward to. Sure, the scenery will be beautiful and the quests will be long and interesting, or rather as long and interesting as quests can be while grinding, but we are still moving toward a world that is completely and utterly held in the "end-game."

In the early days, when the cap was set to sixty, the dungeons that were explored and eventually conquered were epic in scope, length, and dedication required. One would have to rally thirty-nine of her closest friends together to even attempt to walk past the first pull, and it was the defining "high-bar" for many guilds and unattainable by many more. In these days, the grind was precisely that: a grind. One would only be grinding for the "end-game" that would yield them their highly sought-after treasures from the depths of the online world. In these times, I never looked into the heart of the world to find my treasure, rather it was in competition that my needs were sated.

My "end-game" was PvP. I never longed for the gear, I simply wanted to compete. Herein lies the problem: this is no more an end-game than it is a pacification. I view the game as more of a round-based first person shooter, rather than the massively multiplayer epic that it is meant to be. Maybe this is a problem with my outlook, or maybe it's a problem with the design of the game in that it is too appealing to casuals and it does not really cater to them. Either way, it feels like once I get to the maximum level, I end up "going through the motions" for PvP and enjoying the game less and less. I am hopeful that the achievements feature added today will improve my outlook, as I will again have reason to do ridiculous things (see achievement: LEEEEEEEEEROY!). Also, the talent changes threaten to break up the current state of 2s arena play in that more viable options may thrust themselves from the shelves of mediocrity and into the fray of competition.

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Oh well

Season four ends on Tuesday and the 3.0 patch is scheduled to drop then as well. We finished this season at 1863 team rating on the druid+warrior, so I will get my s3 feral staff which is nice. Additionally, I spec'd restokin for fun and we did ~15 5s matches with hunter+feral+disc. We did surprisingly well considering how neither the priest nor myself were spending a horrible amount of time healing. We're probably going to continue Resto+Warrior after s4 ends, but with the new talents we're going to try out prot+resto because of the hilarious amount of damage prot is getting and the amount of stuns mixed with restos survivability. Also, we can probably duo MC a little easier with him as prot and me with Wild Growth.

Also, BlizzCon starts tomorrow and promises to have more updates, I'll be back with those.

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Officially content.

Mangle (Cat) has had it's damage upped from 160% + x to 200% + y (where y > x).
Rake has had it's damage upped (and now scales ridiculously) from [AP / 100 + 190] + [1161 + AP * 0.06] to [AP / 100 + 190] + [1161 + AP * 0.18] and while this buff might seem minor, let's do some quick math. I have 6k attack power with SR up, that's 1771 total damage buffed to 2491 (720 damage buff... nice).

A blue claimed they would be looking into the positional requirement for shred, but I think I could do without that now... I'd still welcome that change with open arms... but I don't feel that I NEED it anymore.

Additionally, honor points will definitely carry over from TBC to WotLK, but arena points will be wiped.

Also additionally, October 14 is the last day of season 4 of the arena, and the likely (95% certainty) release date of 3.0.

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Warlocks are bad, that is all.

Let's talk about alts. Why do we make alts? because our mains are not super fun anymore. Why aren't our mains fun anymore? because they are lackluster in the aspects of the game we crave.

WAIT, this has just changed... it's official, my brother loves playing his priest and I love playing my druid and they SEEM viable together on a 2s team, at the moment on beta. Our whole world-view has been turned upside-down... we haven't talked about my warlock or his warrior until yesterday which was basically "I don't know if I'm even going to grind that warlock up, now," to which my brother responded "I'm in the same boat with my warrior."

I'm hoping that no one notices the amazing synergy between priests and druids right now, because as it stands, we feel like one of the more dominant 2s comps (aside from any shockadin+dps team... shockadins never oom because of Judgements[sic] of the Wise... a broken talent that returns 20% of TOTAL MANA whenever a Judgement[sic] is used).

Essentially, feral brings good damage, a snare, roots, cyclone, offheals, great survivability and escape mechanics, nigh-unrootability, nigh-unpolyability, and innervate to the table and the priest is quite possibly the best healer in the game (and can survive for a ridiculous amount of time given my brother's new-found spec). In fact, let me talk briefly about this spec: I don't think Blizz had any idea of the possible combinations of "upon getting crit" procs that a healing priest can muster. With this spec, a critical strike against him (or a false-positive that would have been a crit if not for resilience or talents or abilities) causes FOUR effects to proc: Blessed Recovery (a mediocre self heal over time effect), Focused Will (causes additional healing received and less damage taken, both percents, and this stacks), Martyrdom (causes no knockback on casts), and Blessed Resilience (the best one... causes you to receive NO critical strikes against you for 6 seconds). All things combined, he can't be crit for 6 seconds, gets additional healing on himself, can't be interrupted from damage, and gains bonus healing for a short duration. This spec is insane... it also has Reflective Shield (which is amazing against everything but ret pallies who have a bugged talent which gives them a chance to 1) ignore absorption effects and 2) accidentally do double damage when they ignore absorption effects) and Lightwell, and while we all laugh about Lightwell, it's definitely better now that it applies a HoT upon use and cannot be destroyed by enemies.

Right now, we basically pick either the weakest of our two opponents or the most damaging (so, in the case of rogue+mage, we can't decide which to attack... prolly mage with HEAVY cc on the rogue, but in the case of warrior+shockadin, we attack the warrior to keep him off my brother). The reason this strategy works is because I have reasonably good peels as-is with Infected Wounds, but if things ever get to the point where he needs mana, I can innervate him OR cyclone one and root the other while he runs off and drinks. Not to mention I have bash on a 30 second cooldown and Maim up all the time... I am probably the best team-mate in terms of peels right now.

This is what we are experiencing in arena at 80 on the beta realms... we're hoping that Blizzard doesn't notice us racing to the top, and that we make it to release in this way (or better... some blue posts keep surfacing saying how we're going to be buffed etc etc). If we do, we're going to spend a good amount of time at the beginning of the first season climbing in an attempt to reach the top with our mains, something that we have never done before. The only team that gives us a hard time at the moment is rogue+mage, which is to be expected when played well. Additionally, ret+shock gives us a hard time, but it is only because the shockadin has infinite mana without drinking... something I hope (and we all expect) will get nerfed.

Things are definitely looking up, and GhostCrawler says that we can expect some love on Mangle(Cat) and/or Rake in an upcoming build... so that'll be nice.

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Beta forums are down

and so I am here. Just as a quick reference, the last post noted that I could pull 2100 dps without much effort at all, well they have finally added proper armor to the training dummies, now I am only rocking 1600 dps, but so are rogues, so I don't really mind all that much. I have been doing a lot of maths with Toskk over in the beta forums (he does Rawr, the feral druid gear optimizing program, and also tons of rotation maths for PvE) and we basically came to a consensus that Savage Roar is probably the the best thing for druids in the end, and it scales (talented correctly) about as well as Slice and Dice in terms of weapon scaling. That's actually a HUGE deal considering that druid dps didn't scale before.

Also, I had some time to tweak the PvE rotation for dps, and came up with:

Savage Roar (14 secs)
Shred (12 secs left)
Shred (10 secs left)
Shred (8 secs left)
Rip (probably had at least one crit in there)
Savage Roar (repeat)

Additionally, those initial Mangles turn into Shreds if there's a warrior in the group applying Trauma, which will improve the druid's dps by at least 50% (from bleeds and Trauma).

We did some more disc+feral arenas last night. All things considered, we are pretty good. We hit 1600 fairly easily, although half the matches don't end right and don't award points at the end, so you have to leave the arena and call it a draw. We have 30 played officially, but my guess is that it's closer to 60-75 with a winning record. We play surprisingly well against druid+warrior and druid+rogue. Druid+rogue is especially fun because it's just a game of hurt and switch while we win the mana war. I start out attacking the rogue because he'll be the only one I can see, and I keep dps'ing and peeling him off my priest while their druid starts using mana. Next, I maim-into-cyclone the rogue (who should be at least 75% or lower) and switch to the druid, who will run away from the cycloned target, leaving him to fend for himself (and usually my priest is there to fear after cyclone and dot the rogue to keep him taking damage). Then I Maim and if he's low enough, I call out the gib and bust all my cds, else I cyclone and get back on the rogue. Druid+warrior is just "let the warrior kill himself dueling my priest, then when the druid pops to heal the warrior I kill the druid." Also, I kill druids surprisingly well since I have a snare and move just as fast as their travel form in my dps form. All things considered, ferals are pretty much the anti-restos in terms of escape-ability.

Sadly, there are some broken teams at the moment. Ret pallies have an AoE attack on a 10 second cooldown that heals for 20% of the damage they do, also they have a talent that lets 50% of their swings ignore absorption affects. Ret pallies are very difficult to deal with, especially on double dps teams, but the most annoying pallies are the holy ones. They never oom... ever. Like, on live a pally will EVENTUALLY run out of mana, in 10 years, but you can fight through that and hope that he eventually runs out. On beta, they simply don't dip below 90% unless they are spamming holy light, but even then their regen is simply stupid. Also, shamangs never OoM either thanks to water shield. It's pretty impressive how well water shield works: you can't attack a shamang because he'll get his mana back faster due to the water shield proc, and you can't ignore the shamang because he'll just drop combat and drink. I think both of these healers need looking into with regard to PvP balance.

Then there's my priest. My poor constantly OoM priest, he's out of mana first, and usually dead first... there just needs to be something done there. Currently, he does not have Rapture, but we're going to try that build out soon, so who knows.

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Someone on the beta forum perturbed me by claiming that ferals at level 80 could only maintain 1600 dps... I want to prove him wrong but I'm having a hell of a time trying to get my game running with a dps meter.

I'll post back with numbers.


Here I am:

As you can see I'm rocking over 2100 dps sustained for at almost four minutes. This is without me thinking much about the dps rotation except while I'm doing it, so you'll see some Rake's and one Maim, and probably some other retarded stuff. Long-story-short: feral dps will be fine against raid bosses, in fact it's comparable to mut rogues and mages right now.

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O Hi!

Again, I am back with more stress testing results. Firstly, let me note that Blizz is going to increase the damage output of Chaos Bolt in an upcoming patch. My first reaction to this was not "woohoo!" as many would guess, but rather one of "wtf?!" I feel this way because currently no one can actually train the max rank of Chaos Bolt. As it stands now, we can only train rank 2, and there are 4 ranks of the spell, and blizz is content just blindly upping the damage.

Bah, you got me into the forums again... anyway...

So, I did some more feral stress testing last night, and while I think feral will be stupidly fun on a real server, it's just mind-bendingly annoying on the beta server. The lag in Wintergrasp is amazing... I can't even express how bad the lag is. Wintergrasp is going to be lots of fun... but damn... that lag...

Anyway, I decided to see how high I could get some abilities in org on the training dummies (which, if you haven't seen them or heard about them, could very well be the best addition to the game; you have boss-level targets in orgrimmar that can be attacked and your damage can be tested... very awesome). I was messing with Ferocious Bite when I got this gem.

That's right, 15k damage on a ferocious bite crit. Either Blizzard doesn't care if ferals can really rock their burst potential that high, or they just don't know. Either way, I'm looking forward to being feral again.

Also, the strangest thing has happened, my brother is looking forward to being discipline. It's a little confusing thinking about him as a healer after so long as a dps class... but then again it will be hard to think of my druid has a dps class again after so long as resto. Anyway, disc and feral have a lot of synergy with one another and end up doing alright in world pvp, we will have to wait and see with the arena even though we have high hopes for it. For now, let's just all stare at that crit and enjoy it for a while.

This just in, GhostCrawler (class developer) has just announced that either LotP or ILotP will have a mana regen component, which will really help ferals in the arena game, as mana is really the crux of the matter. If we oom, we lose. Giving us an active mana regen on our one purpose (dps) is just what the doctor ordered. The only question then becomes "how do we make enough room for it?" Did you ever think you'd see the day where you had a feral build without HotW? The point is, 10% attack power scales decently, but not as well as 6% more damage might (and you get iLotP which would help a healer keep you up).

I just went and tested the numbers of this spec versus this spec. I was actually a bit surprised to see that the numbers come out basically the same (in damage terms) even though the latter spec has less attack power. The trade off really becomes a scaling issue; that is, if you use Savage Roar with the first spec, you're AP is going to increase by more, but at the end of the day, the second spec will still be doing 6% more damage, which looks like it will make up the difference in damage from attack power. Therefore, you get Improved Leader of the Pack and lose a little mana in the hopes that the regen from the ability outways the ~800 mana lost from not picking up HotW. This is really exciting. This is a talent that scales well and we actually have the choice to ignore it. I am very excited.

ALSO, something minor that's pretty cool and worth noting: battleground tokens (and other types of tokens as well) no longer take up bag space, they have their own pane on the character menu called "Tokens" which list all your various currencies. VERY cool, I hate walking around with eots, wsg, ab, and av marks taking up 4 slots in my bags.

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An Update from a Beta Tester

ME! Lawl. Anyway, quick updates first, then a long diatribe about feral:

Everlasting Affliction: neat on paper, broken on beta. The shadow bolts and drain life spells do indeed reset the duration of Corruption, which is awesome, but the spell damage coefficient part of the talent is not working at all.

Pandemic: neat on paper, just not very good at all in practice. Rather than truly making the tick of a damage-over-time-ability do double damage as a critical strike, they took a cop out and made it a proc on dot damage that would fire a little mini shadow bolt which mirrors the damage that proc'd it (it looks like Timbal's proc). The problem here becomes painfully obvious when playing with the training dummies in Org. First, it mirrors the damage instead of precalculating double damage and spreading it over the two attacks, so if your dot tick SHOULD do 700, but it gets half absorbed (or something reduces its damage), you don't get double of the original damage, but the final damage. For example, say you have been pounding this priest into the ground and you are about to knock his PW:S off and it has 650 damage left on the shield. Your corruption SHOULD hit for 700, but 650 gets absorbed by the shield, and Pandemic procs a "crit", which SHOULD be 1400 damage done, but instead the total damage done is 50 (650 absorbed) AND 50 from the Pandemic proc. 100 damage done instead of the 750 that should have happened on a shadow bolt crit instead where the critical damage is calculated first then the absorption effects are calculated. This is just a sloppy talent at the moment.

Haunt: Just not a very good spell anymore. It was changed from "returns health equal to 20% of the damage done during Haunt's duration" to "returns 20% of Haunt's damage in health." Oh, so it gives me back ~400hp with PTR gear and it improves my dot damage by 20%. It's kind of neat, but I don't see it being a break-out talent anymore.

Backdraft: nerfed from "increases the haste of your next 3 destruction spells by 30%" to "reduces the cost of your next 3 destruction spells by 30%." Probably decent for PvE locks, but I won't be taking it.

Improved Soul Leach: nerfed from "20% of the damage done is returned as mana" to "2% of your max mana returned. This is a double-edged sword because at least the change scales in a way we would expect... with mana. However, 2% of your maximum mana in full PvP gear is about 250 mana, which is less than the cost of every spell by about double. I am extremely underwhelmed with this talent. At least 20% of the damage done was tons of mana... which might be overpowered, at least it made me have to chose between some talents. Now, this talent (and probably the talent before it) is off the table.

Shadowfury: Instant cast now, stun is up to 3 seconds. This is just awesome. Very awesome.

Shadowflame: a slightly expensive spell that does decent damage and applies a decent dot... except for the range being less than amazing, this is a pretty decent ability. I'm luke-warm on it, and I will have to actually try out some PvP with it before I decide completely.

Demonic Circle and Demonic Circleport: This is exactly what destruction builds (and probably others as well) need in the arena... an escape mechanic. My 2s team gets by mainly on ignorance on the part of our opponents. They assume I am sl/sl, but if they don't, they usually train me and win because I have no way of making distance from a warrior/rogue. Currently, the teleport ability only costs 100 mana, which is rather nice, but it won't tell you in any way whether you are in range of teleporting, and 100 yards is smaller than one would imagine.

Pyroclasm: doesn't yet work with Conflagrate.

Ruin and Devastation: broken... can't put a single point into Devastation at the moment.

Chaos Bolt: there are only 2 ranks at the moment, so the damage is pretty non-existent. Also, I haven't tested the "piercing" aspect of the talent yet.

The rumors about Spellstones and Firestones becoming temporary weapon enchants (or like them anyway) are either only rumors or not yet implemented.

LET'S TALK ABOUT DRUIDS. I guess I'll start with feral since that's where I spent the most time.

Berserk: A really neat ability, however nerfed from "immune to all cc/snares/roots for duration" to "immune to fear for duration and cannot use Tiger's Fury." Personally, this is just Blizzard being bastards. They found that Berserk was exactly what the doctor ordered on feral, and it made them a little too good. So, instead of nerfing the duration or something that could be handled, they simply changed the entire mechanic to be "when the druid pops Berserk, cc-train him as hard as possible." Also, it breaks on shifting out of cat, which makes Berserk cause the druid to be susceptible to even MORE cc options than usual (poly, entangling roots, etc). All thing considered, this talent needs some love before I'm completely sold on it, but I have so many points in my feral build as-is, I will probably take it for grinding, if nothing else. Also, this is basically Adrenaline Rush for druids, so dps+druid is a viable option if you time your cc-zerk just right. Something tells me that shadow+feral could be rather viable with fear+roots+cyclone.

Infected Wounds: Best. Talent. In. Feral. Tree. Now that it only stacks twice to get that 50% speed reduction, ferals are quite the opponent against ranged dpsers. We can keep close proximity with hunters and wreck mages by shifting out of their rooting abilities and cat-leap with their blinks. Also, 20% attack speed debuff on top of the movement speed debuff? Ferals will take all three talent points here. Period.

Rend and Tear: takes some getting used to the dps-cycles, but in PvP, my guess is that timing won't be an issue. Set up a nasty little finishing combo such that one has 5 combo points and is dps'ing one target. My brother and I were working on this: a good fear-bomb will knock your opponent out of combat with you, and you can start a nice little "pounce-fb-tiger's fury-shred-shred-shred" combo that will USUALLY kill most non-plate-wearing classes. Oh, I also had a 5 point ferocious bite crit for 12k against a target dummy, and those are raid-boss stats.

Feral Charge (cat): The cooldown is too long and the minimum distance makes it unwieldy. True, rogues have to contend with the same cooldown, but they get a damage bonus on the ability as well. Personally, I like it even though the animation is a little odd looking. If the minimum distance were removed, it would be an amazing talent, as is it's just "great."

King of the Jungle: Yes. Finally, ferals have a cooldown baseline ability in Tiger's Fury and it's damage has been buffed significantly to warrant the cooldown. Additionally, KotJ makes it an amazing combo-ability, since a feral druid needs to keep certain abilities up to do GREAT damage, they will spend 100 energy rather easily putting up a bleed and mangle and getting to 5 combo points, so the quick "gimme 60 energy and a heap of damage" ability is a welcomed change. Additionally, it's on a short cooldown where we could actually use this a few times in an arena match.

Primal Tenacity: Definitely saw this working at wintergrasp. My brother spec'd disc and he was having NO trouble keeping me up during the stuns, and the fears didn't last nearly as long as they used to. In fact, I kept hitting my trinket when a fear had only one second remaining... guess I'll be saving trinket for Cyclone.

Savage Roar: Amazing, I was rocking 6k AP with this badboy up, and it lasts a GOOD long while. The problem with this is keeping it up during a FB-combo. It gets difficult getting 1) SR up, 2) a bleed on the opponent, 3) FFF on the opponent, 4) Mangle on the opponent, 5) 5 combo points on the opponent. If you can manage those five things (you can even ignore 4), you can get some ridiculously high FB crits. All things considered, it's nice to have something where if one opponent is going to get away, instead of giving up those 5 cps you might have, you can just pop SR and switch targets.

Omen of Clarity: Doesn't proc as often as it used to, but at least it can't be dispelled anymore.

Nourish: Damn... best heal in the game.

Revive: 'bout damned time.

I have been furiously posting feedback on the beta client, and rigorously posting in the beta forums to try and address the feral mana issue. Ferals only have 6k mana, and shapeshifting (talented) costs 900 per shift. It's just too much for ferals to be viable in PvP because they end up losing all their utility as a cc'er and a quick spot-healer. Although, they claim to be focusing on that and they hope to have a solution out in the next build. Also, they said that they will likely enable barkskin's use in feral form, which would be nice.

Couple other things that are awesome: 1) macros follow your account... no more actionbars fubar at work, 2) feral swiftness working indoors is amazing, 3) Furor letting my cat keep all his energy all the time is amazing. Couple other things that are NOT so awesome: going my infinite-mana ToL/Dreamstate spec, I only have 33% physical damage reduction as compared to the 28% I have without it on live. And because I am not gemmed for mp5, the starter resto set has 650ish mp5 out of the 5 sec rule, and 280 in it. At least ToL can't be sapped and lifebloom lasts 10 seconds. Also, 5k Nourish HITS are amazing.

Lastly: November 13 is two days before my birthday, and it is also the announced release of WotLK. It's going to be a good end-of-the-year.

On a side note: we went to a party over the weekend and my gf made out with another chick. Is this awesome?

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I got in... so did my brother... how random is Blizz?

Anyway, I decided to copy my druid account over, so in a couple days when the copy finishes (wtf right?), I'll post some stuff.

Things I want to test out:

1) ZerkZerk
2) FeralSnarel
3) Passive OoC
4) King of the Jungle
5) Spell power changes (Lots of healing gear, mind you)
6) Resto spec (ToL in particular)

EXCITED... I was going to post something this morning about how depressed I was, but I got busy and closed the browser... also I'm not depressed anymore. Looking forward to testing this biznatch.

Okay, so I got my druid over... but I'm STILL patching. Gotta thank Blizz for completely missing the point of distributive patching. I'm sitting here at work with our dual T1 lines, trying to download this patch (which is 3.0.1... not a build number... I guess it's all of them???) which is 2GB big. So, I search around for patches, and there are a bunch on torrents, so I get my client up to 8714 (3 patches) and I hit a brick wall. The ONLY torrents out there now are the "3.0.1" patch variety. SIGH.

At least it's gone down from 2GB to 1.15 total... as if that were a good thing. Plus, I still have to install the client, then patch at home. It looks like playing the beta servers TOMORROW might not be out of the question... but it is for today.

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Oh Lawdy!

I don't usually gush over abilities/talents that haven't been locked into existence yet, but this one has to be noted.

Everlasting Affliction is a hilarious talent that is the 45-point-tier of the Affliction tree, and causes all damage done by (meaning every tick of) Corruption, Unstable Affliction, and Siphon Life to increase the bonus spell damage received by 5%.

Okay, so let's use Siphon Life, and 1000 spell power as a base for the test. 81 damage every 3 seconds for 30 seconds, and it gets 100% bonus spell power for the duration. That means: (81*30/3 + 1000) * 1.05 (SE) * 1.1 (SM) and let's say you don't have any other buffs up (Haunt, ISB, etc). That's base damage of 2090 over 30 seconds... not bad.

BUT WAIT, every time it ticks, it gets stronger. Okay, let's divide that by 10 to get the first tick: 209. Now, the second tick is going to have 5% more spell power, so - (81*30/3+1000*1.05)*1.05*1.1/10 = 214. That's pretty good, I went off and crunched the numbers and found that the very last tick of Siphon Life(max rank) will tick for 273, which is almost 70 additional damage from the first tick. This gives us a complete bonus of 298 damage, very nice.

Hold up, getting extra damage from dots is nice and all, but wasn't there another part of Everlasting Affliction that was pretty neat? Oh, you mean the "your Shadow Bolt and Drain Life abilities have a 100% chance to reset the duration of Corruption" and Corruption gets this nice +5% spell damage thing as well? Yeah... that's pretty ridiculous. Let's go over the math here. Same exact stuff, except we have to change the numbers up a bit. For one, they are changing Improved Corruption (because Corruption is going to be base instant cast now) to be 20% more damage done by Corruption. Also, we get 5% more damage from Corruption from Contagion, and again we are not using CoE or any other shadow buffing abilities.

Okay, so the math rolls like this: (1080+1000*1.26*1.05^T))*1.05*1.1*1.2*1.05/6. That's Corruption's total damage, plus spell power times the coefficient for Corruption with Empowered Corruption times T, the tick multiplier which starts at zero (which makes it multiplied by 1 for all you non-math-wizzes). Then we multiply that number by our multipliers (Shadow Embrace, Shadow Mastery, Improved Corruption, Contagion) and divide by the number of ticks to get the tick damage. The first tick will do 576. The last tick will do 683. That means that this 5 point talent deep in the Affliction tree will give us 359 additional damage from a full Corruption duration.

However, there is no "full" Corruption duration anymore, we can keep tacking on time because of Everlasting Affliction. If I hit the opponent with a shadow bolt while corruption is up, I get a whole new timer, but the same Corruption, so the multiplier keeps stacking. If I only get it to go around twice, it will be ticking for 855. If I continue to keep Corruption up, it will continue to grow. This is where the stupidity of the talent comes into play. The Blizzard devs have not implemented an upper-bound for this yet. So, on beta we are seeing locks going up against those mobs in Blasted Lands who become immune to death unless you have the quest item, putting a Corruption up, and keeping it up with drain life. After 1 minute of Corruption being continually refreshed, it will tick for 1096. This is completely bonkers... look at this graph that shows the damage Corruption would do in a 5 minute boss encounter.

I'll let you think about this... the numbers speak for themselves in my opinion.

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Titles, mounts and rare items should be the reward for doing well in arenas....not the equipment you need to compete. You don't see olympic atheletes competing for brand new Nike gear....they compete for medals....Nike supplies the gear to make them competitive.

Man, I was in the WotLK-PvP forum and came across this gem. At first, I thought of all the derisive retorts I could make, but then I think the poster's point started sinking in. This is probably the heart of the matter which I have been complaining about since the onset of season three (and probably a LITTLE bit before that). WHY am I competing to get gear which will be used for competition? It just makes no sense. I have finally become one of those jaded resto druids who has a warrior in full s4 (save for s2 shoulders and a s3 mace) team mate and we just laugh at some comps in 2s. I especially laugh at feral druids, though we don't see many of them. I have become that which I hate most... a cynical annoying druid in good gear who feels he is elite because of his purples.

I remember when I was feral in the arenas. Admittedly, the time was short-lived, but it was most certainly fun. Now, I'm having less fun being a heal-bot (though I am having some fun, admittedly) and mocking those who strive to make a name for themselves as a terrible specialization at the present build. How am I not a FotM druid? Sure, I have been around since the beginning with my druid as my first 60, but I have forsaken my feral ways just to advance myself to a plateau of gear that does not in any way help me play the way I want to play. I even remember saying "I'm just going to go resto until I get all my feral gear." I have had feral gear for a GOOD while now... a full s3 set (save for the helm with is the engineering helm) with the s2 mace... and where has it left me, continually upgrading my restoration gear. Well, NO MORE.

From this moment on, I guess I'll be upgrading my feral set. The nice thing is that I'll have some arena points laying around, since I have nearly no confidence in any of my teams getting to 1950... and I don't feel like upgrading from s3 to s4 pants and spending 500g getting the pants enchant. The good news is that when 3.0.X finally gets shipped out to the real world, I should have a decent feral set to try out with my brother's spriest or his pally... whichever he chooses to be the lucky one. Interestingly enough, I think that pally+feral could be a decent combo since ferals bring decent damage to the table along with never getting snared, so the pally can feel free to use BoF on himself, rather than the druid, who will be doing some snaring of his own.

Oh well... why am I getting gear by competition, for competition??? It is because I love competition. I'll keep coming back so long as the arena has SOME semblance of fairness and it still gets my heart pumping.

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Well well well...

We are readily waiting for 3.0.2 to hit PTRs. That's right, Chaos Bolt, Backlash, Fearl Improvements, CRAZY Resto improvements, all hitting the PTR with the intention being that we would see a Live release of talents/skills/inscription before the actual WotLK release. To say the very least, I'm salivating. From what I'm hearing, Chaos Bolt builds are AMAZING burst dps, even against priests sporting 500 resilience, though Pyroclasm is not working with the current build of beta, and neither is Molten Core, so that frees up some room for Soul Leech and Improved Soul Leech, among other talents.

Also, guntir is talking about spec'ing disc instead of shadow at 70 IFF the spellpower changes go through and his dps gear is the same as the disc gear (give or take some spirit, etc) in terms of healing, and if that's the case, then I'm going to be spec'ing Haunt for the amazing dps and self-healing to couple with the drain team, it'll be weird.

On top of that, RESTO is insane right now. The Balance tree was completely revamped in the lower tiers, probably for synergy for healing builds because there simply aren't enough good healing talents in resto to spec 61 point in there (let alone 71).

OKAY, here are the builds:



Haunt (edited, they buffed a talent that requires 5 points in it now)

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What the hell am I supposed to do with arena points!?

My warlock is rocking 4/5 s4, s2 shoulders, s2 weapon, s4 offhand, and s4 wand... he's not going to hit 1950, we can just forget that, and it's unlikely that we're gunna hit 1800 unless we get a HUGE string of NOTROGUE+healer or double-dps. Currently, we do 10 matches a week or so and we get 5-8 rogue+healer teams, so going up isn't really an option. I thought that warrior+shamang was supposed to be amazing now... why don't we see them, or warrior+druid, or warrior+healer anymore... we just see rogues.

Rogues rogues rogues.

So anyway, rocking about 1000 arena points at the moment, I guess I'll wait till I get to 5k, then see what's up. Maybe I'll buy the other set... who knows... who cares.

Okay, next week I will have enough points to buy my s3 healing main hand on my druid. This is awesome, as it is the last REAL upgrade I will be getting for a while. I dunno if we'll ever hit 1950, but if we do, then we're likely to hit 2050 as well, as we were convinced that 1800 was doable based on the fact that we were 100 points lower. However, if I get to the point where I have no upgrades (and I dunno if I'm going to be upgrading to the s4 pants, as it's a lot of gold to be sinking into a measly upgrade, might just try and bubble 1800 long enough to get the s3 feral staff). Who knows, it's all crazy at the moment, and people are talking about 3.0 hitting live servers within the month...

wouldn't THAT be interesting.

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A Whole Lot of Nothing

That's what's been going on in the WoW world. Actually, that's not entirely true. Technically, what's been going on in the live WoW world is nothing, but on the beta servers, amazing buffs have befallen the warrior class. The arms tree got quite a bit of love, and they will definitely be a force to be reckoned with if you are a melee with high dodge (ferals or rogues) because of overpower having a 1 second cooldown fully talented now (yes... this is ridiculous and true). Although, I will admit that mace spec is probably going to have gone the way of the dodo by WotLK because the stun portion was removed from both the warrior and rogue versions of the talent. In my opinion, this is a good thing; arena matches were simply taking too long because of the requirement to stun an opponent at amazingly lucky times (yes, I am a hypocrit, my warrior has a s3 mace and we need that to stun the opposing druid at 50% in caster form so we can ms-execute ftw... but only because our opposition also needs that to win... it's difficult really). However, in addition to the arms love, the fury tree has gotten some amazing buffs in the last push.

Titan's Grip has been moved to the 51 tier, and it no longer has the swing speed reduction. That's right... you will essentially have a warrior and his less-geared-warrior-friend beating on you if your opponent is a fury warrior. Also, they moved down Heroic Leap to a lower tier, but it is still on a long cooldown. Additionally, there is now a two point talent deep in fury that causes your white swings to apply a 25% healing debuff to your target, stacking twice, 100% of the time. Holy moly, insane damage, good mobility (as I hear that heroic leap can do the Shadow Step bridge fake-out in Blade's Edge arena), and a healing debuff that doesn't cost rage?! Has Kalgan gained 100% control on the class developers and just buffed his class out to ridiculous levels?

*All signs point to 'yes'*

I'm still shuddering at the thought of getting hit with whirlwind by a fury warrior... it'll be like having 2 mutilate rogues on you...

Developers said they were going to continue looking into Shadow Priest's damage output (hopefully in a PvP setting), and ferals are "far from done." Only time will tell if that's true, but here's hoping. Also, no one has quite caught up with the notion that 1) resto druids will be stacking spirit on PvP gear, 2) resto druids will be on par with shamangs for armor, 3) resto druids will still be the most mobile healer, 4) resto druids are getting the best single-target heal in the game, and 5) coupled with all the spirit on gear, ToL is getting buffed ridiculous, and the spec that I mentioned a while back (The ONE Spec) is still looking like it might fly under the radar collecting all those facts into one awesome spec. Dreamstate+swiftmend+ToL+2/3ImpToL. Essentially, making the resto druid who specs that nigh-impossible for melee to take down, and giving the druid nigh-infinite mana with good burst heals and good heals over time.

I still like the destruction build, as long as Chaos Bolt is the final 51-point talent. Also, backdraft (each casting of conflag makes your next three spells cast 30% faster) is still up in its current form... the OP form, and Shadowfury has been buffed to be a singularly reliant spell now, as it can be cast on the run and stuns for 3 seconds instead of 2 now. It is still unclear as to whether Pyroclasm and Shadowfury share diminishing returns, but if they do not, then destruction will be quite the formidable spec indeed. Also, thankfully the sl/sl builds are getting nerfed in terms of damage absorption, but buffed in terms of damage output, so it seems like it will be less of a mana-drain theme and more of an outlast/outdps theme, which is fine with me because it means that we'll be able to kill them that much easier. The other thing is that the sl/sl build looks like it will be turning into an SM/FS build (shadow mastery, fel synergy). However, with the added damage, it seems they they will definitely be taking a hit on survivability (15% damage reduction from soul link instead of 20% and no more +5% damage done by you and your pet, but shadow mastery instead, so it's a slight increase to dps). The one thing that is going to be true is that druid+warlock mirror matches are going to be terrible, because the felhunters will 1) never die and 2) never oom... and neither will the druids if they use my ONE spec.

Also, I see dagger rogues coming back into the fray, but I think they will be a lot squishier (as they should be) in this expansion. The term "glass cannon" comes to mind, but right now they are merely "cannons" at worst, and "cannons made of IMPENETRABLE TITANIUM" at best (okay, maybe that was prior to the Cheat Death nerf, but they still survive a little bit better than they should with that talent... or maybe their damage just isn't proportionate to their survivability... I don't know).

So we played a few 5s matches over the weekend, and we also did some 3s (which started very poorly as hunter+warrior+druid and ended rather well as mutilate+warrior+druid). I doubt that our other 3s team will ever get above 1700, but if we ever get a string of warrior+healer+anything, then who knows. We fought a couple and just mopped the floor with them, which seems like it is working as intended, right? Warriors are supposed to be susceptible to magical attacks, but resilient against other melee. It seems like that should be the case, but sometimes warriors just eat up casters because they cannot get a cast off with the overwhelming melee up in their grills. Oh, I have been recording those matches to include the wins in the destro video... there are some funny ones where we time everything just right: warrior charges guntir, warrior dies. Okay, so there was a shadowbolt+shadowfury and a starfire+moonfire crit in there, and MAYBE guntir used sw:d at the same time... it's really hard to tell from my perspective as they just hit the warrior, numbers appear, and he dies. Admittedly, the opposition usually looks just as confused as we do.

The number one thing about making a video is the music. You need NEED NEED to have good music, or your video is a failure. The next thing that is needed is the editing. If you don't have smooth transitions, effects that compliment without detracting from the action, and fun effects as well, then no one will enjoy your video. So, I'm looking at a lot of videos as reference right now. Menismyforte is a shadow priest whose video is a lot of fun to watch, and he has this one 3s match segment in which he gets chain-feared while his resto shamang and warlock take down a druid on their own. He put in some text on the screen that says something like "I'm being helpful -_-" which I thought was a funny touch. So, we had a match where it came down to all of us versus a shamang (or druid... or something fast) who couldn't believe he was going to lose to a triple dps team of moonkin+shadow+destro, so he refused to give in at the end.

Oh man... good thing that blogs don't reflect time, this is has been unended for a good 5 hours. Anyway, I was just looking at the boomkin talents, and our 3s team is going to be hilarious (if not good). Improved Moonkin Aura will give 20% spell haste when I critically hit with a spell for 8 seconds. Essentially, if I crit with conflag as a destro lock within the moonkin aura, I will have 56% faster spells, which means that I can get out shadow bolts in 1.4 seconds... jebus.

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WotLK Updates

Gear has been added; pretty impressive gear, too. They have added the blue sets for a bunch of class, and while they are the same models and colors as the s4 set, I think it is probably safe to say that the stats are, if not spot on then at least, close to what they will resemble once completed. The odd thing is, the priest dps set has critical strike rating (spells AND melee now, recall) whereas the healing set has spirit. Otherwise, the stats are exactly the same. I am guessing that the kodohide versus wyrmhide is probably the same story. I suppose the truly interesting thing here is that Blizzard really meant what they said when implementing spell damage and healing the same. The interesting aspect will be whether healing will be the same (minus some talents that improve it) as a dps spec. That is, can an elemental shaman heal just about as well as a resto shaman, but they are simply missing some of the tools necessary to be a really good healer?

I am afraid that it is a bit too early to tell, in my estimation. However, it does look like the itemization for feral druids has been pushed through, as their gear looks remarkably like rogue gear (agi, stam, crit, resil). In fact, they are spot-on the same... interesting. This is interesting... very interesting. Also, Savage Roar was buffed (again), and this new version of the spell is set to 40% additional attack power for a HUGE duration. I have seen feral druids flasked and buffed up to about 5k attack power in raids... Savage Roar would take them over 7k ap now... and on beta I'm hearing that feral druids (with the new talent trees) fully raid buffed can expect over 10k attack power. Is this a good thing or does it simply show off the flawed design of dps kitties!? Who knows? The only thing that is certain is that the wave of tears we received in the onset of The Burning Crusade is just going to get worse.

"WHY DOES DRUIDS HAS 10k ATAK POWERS!? I HAS ONLY 3.5k ATAK POWERS!!" - some nub warrior

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Oh Happy Day!

So, after feeling a bit under the weather on Friday, I wake up bright and early on Saturday feeling rejuvenated. I am still sick, but definitely in better spirits about it. So, I log on, and start doing some bgs thinking that I will need a weapon to replace my blue feral staff from Botanica. I just get an inkling... a feeling like I really want to do some real PvP. I started looking into Power Auras when my brother finally woke up. So, I say "hey, log on to your warrior, I want to test this new addon... it'll help with spell reflect for sure!" He logs on, we test it out, I get it to my liking, and I say "hey, let's just do some druid+warrior 2s."

So, reluctantly he agrees and I log on to the druid. We are at basically the low 1700s at the moment, and we start facing up. We get mage+priest early, and just flat out dominate them (I'm not entirely sure how the expect to win against a team that can out-heal their dps, avoid their mana drain, drink at a moment's content, and reflect 1/3 of their burst). We lose to a truly amazingly geared warlock+druid, but beat a comparably geared druid+warrior. At this point, we are feeling pretty good as we have just beaten one of our toughest matchups in "comparably geared mirror match." So, we just keep on rolling, we lose to a mage+rogue because of my poor positioning, so we talk about it a little bit and come up with a better plan for that team. We face druid+hunter, but we outgear them and so we stomp them pretty badly. Then we face warrior+druid, but they outgear us and we win because the druid was having lag problems. Also, we stomp priest+mage a few more times, I guess they can beat something because they kept losing 13 to us every third match or so.

So... we fight mage+rogue and win using the new strat and also due to an AMAZING bit of playing by kurrin: I'm getting low, the mage has LoS on me, I get kidney-shot... this is getting bad when Kurrin pulls his AoE fear out of his ass and gives me a breather to get out of LoS on the mage with the rogue low. The fear hits both of them, but the rogue and the mage both trinket out, the point was to give me enough time to break LoS on the mage and get some more hots and abolish up, which I did. THEN, almost immediately after the mage trinkets, he's figuring to start the gib-train by poly'ing Kurrin, which Kurrin notices and spell-reflects at the last second. We had the match at this point, because Kurrin was free to waltz over and smash the rogue to death without worrying about burst from the mage. We win this match and it takes us to 1789 team with 1785 personal ratings each. We have not been talking about it, and we sure as hell were not going to start now.

We get the same team, but this time it was on Lordaeron, so we expect the match to be MUCH harder because of the LoS issues being harder to maneuver. For instance, we start against mage+rogue really defensive and I position myself as far away with as many obstacles between the mage and myself as possible, immediately abolish myself and rejuv, followed by as many lifeblooms as I can. Usually the mage will blink out of the charge stun, so doing this trick early is best because the rogue will open up on me with all my hots up and the mage cannot make LoS on me until after KS is spent. Anyway, we end up playing as hard as humanly possible for us, and with about 1000 hp left in kurrin and innervate going with 200 mana on me, we kill the rogue and start ducking LoS on the mage. We take the match. However, we still needed 15 personal rating at the very least and we had been getting screwed with 15 point matches that give us 12 personal rating up to this point.

Vent: "come on... come on... come on... YES!!!!"

1800 personal rating on the button.

Kurrin is now sporting the s3 mace with Executioner... and it makes a huge difference.

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WotLK Healing

I feel like every expansion to every game that forces the issue of sacrificing favored play-styles for achieving improvements will always suffer the same fate. That is to say, when The Burning Crusade was announced, the first thing the druid community talked about was the Feral aspect because, deep down, we all want to play as feral. Sure, there are some druids who enjoy playing balance, and there are some who actually enjoy playing restoration. I cannot fault my druid brothers and sisters for the way they like playing, and I cannot even talk ill of waxing over the feral tree when many of those supposed ferals respec'd restoration a long time ago (as I did this myself). The thing that does bother me is the people who are in my situation and do exactly what I am doing.

Oh yes, I love me some feral. I will probably spec feral the day the new talent trees are released, but that does not mean that I will stay feral once I hit 80. See, here's the thing: feral is only good with certain other classes/specs. For instance, right now, feral is ONLY decent in the 2s bracket when teamed with either a healer of some sort (and the healer better be damned good) or a rogue (although, anything teamed with a rogue is a good team). Probably, the WotLK arenas will be comparable in that ferals will only be good paired with other synergy classes. For instance, ferals do not team with resto druids well at the moment because of the diminishing returns of the same crowd control abilities. Similarly, ferals do not team well with most other dps classes (like rogues do) because while ferals bring good damage to the mix, they do not have the utility or control of a rogue. So, while shadow priest+rogue does well in 2s, feral+shadow struggles.

Similarly, I really only PvP with my brother, at the moment, and we have very few options for teams. We can either do druid+warrior, druid+priest, or (soon) druid+pally. None of these combinations really has any synergy going for it, so we spec for what we got. I spec restoration and play with the warrior because it's the best spec to do arenas with the combinations we have. SURE, I could totally spec feral and roll with the shadowpriest and PROBABLY maintain a 1700ish rating, but then the warrior would not have anyone to team with (nor would my warlock). So, this means that we're stuck doing what we're doing. On the other hand, my brother and I are both grinding up some alts at the moment. I am grinding up a shamang, and he a pally, and we both plan on making them healers eventually. This will give us a little leeway for spec'ing and playing a little differently.

Personally, I like shamang+warrior better than druid+warrior at the moment. Shamang+warrior tends to beat druid+warrior simply because of comparable mana conservation and purging Innervate while water-shield is too amazing. So, that frees up my druid to do whatever he wants, without completely destroying the warrior's chance at upgrading his gear (though he already has 3/5 s4 with enough points to buy the s3 weapon at the moment... and before we know it he'll have 4/5 s4 with enough to buy the s3 weapon). That means I can spec feral and team with the pally, or spec feral and try out shadow priest + feral again with better gear and respec my lock to sl/sl (with decent gear) and hook him up with the pally for an easy-mode 1800 rating. It all depends on how my brother wants to play it, but the point is that the alts will definitely open up the door to more options.

Okay... a good while later I realize that my tangent has been completely too long-winded. THE POINT I was trying to make is that while we look forward to our favorite specs getting buffed, we might not be playing them in the long-run. This is not a bad thing, just something I observed that may end up being exploitable. I recall at the beginning of season 1 seeing many other feral druids fighting it out for arena superiority. However, by today they are all but extinct, most of them have respec'd to resto (like me) or have fought through and made a name for themselves (Deep, Azoth, etc). So, I was looking into the likelihood of having to spec for healing at one point or another, and I came to

The One Build

Why do I call this "The One Build" when I have not even captured some of the more notable talents in the resto tree? Very simply, this build has it all: the ability to soak up physical damage through armor, heal through all damage due to cheap and effective heals (Lifebloom and Nourish), have buffs that scale (Nature's Grace scales with crit, etc), be able to outlast other healers due to Dreamstate, gain additional healing done through Lunar Guidance, Tree of Life aura, and Empowered Rejuvenation, have a decent damage return from Thorns, a chance to daze attackers while Barkskin is up (which can be cast in ToL now), gain additional mana efficiency from the improved Omen of Clarity (it's passive and can proc off spell casts now), and you can provide additional dps against teams which are not melee heavy.

The big hitters in this spec really are Swiftmend, Dreamstate, and Improved Tree of Life aura (only 2/3, but still 66% more armor from items SHOULD get a druid up to 8-10k armor depending on itemization). Essentially, if I had Dreamstate and Swiftmend, I would be an unstoppable healing machine, and Improved Tree of Life makes me just think about laughing at Rogues, as their damage will be nothing against a 10k armored healer who uses HoTs primarily, will never be more than 1-2 wound poisoned, and will never OoM. Dreamstate will, with my current gear, get me above 350/230 mp5, which means that I will actually regen more mana while casting than the cost of Lifebloom, and because we do not expect to see super upgrades to item stats (like we did with Stamina in TBC), I can probably safely assume that mp5 will be this high as compared with spell costs and the mana pool, and if that's true then Dreamstate will make druids the most mana-efficient healers in the game for PvP.

The most interesting aspect is not that this spec exists, it's that the spec exists and no one is talking about it AND the developers seem to think that it will be fair. Personally, I would not expect this to stick around through the final release because of how overpowered it would be if I had it right now. I feel like a lot of resto druids would be more focused on the other talents in the resto tree rather than the ability to get MOST of the good talents and all of the amazing talents.

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The Bizz

There are a few things I would like to address in this post. First, why the hell do we only face counter-comps!? It makes no sense. Okay, both our teams are bubbling around 1700 right now, the warrior+druid is a little higher, the warlock+spriest is a little lower. However, we have faced teams who are around our rating with the same delta... so we should be facing the same pool of teams. MAIS NO, we face nothing but healer+rogue and druid+warlock on the warlock+spriest team, and nothing but better-geared warrior+healer on the druid+warrior team.

Disc+rogue is the absolute counter-comp to our destro+shadow team, unless the disc priest is terribad and gets gibbed before realizing that I am destro... and the rogue has to help by attacking guntir instead of me. Also, Prayer of Mending is PROBABLY the killer of our team, it forces us to pile our damage instead of spreading it. Don't get me wrong, we can pile on the damage, but if I cannot throw dots on the rogue as well, then there is really no reason why the priest has to be in line of sight, so he is not in line of sight if he is not terrible... as I said before. Also, sl/sl+druid is just unkillable. Soul link just keeps the warlock from taking any meaningful damage, so we cannot drop a gib on him, additionally, druids are so hard to keep in LoS that even if we DO get him down to 20%, we don't usually have enough to knock out that last 20% before ns-ht OR swiftmend take him back to 60% and the hots top him off.

Similarly, warrior+healer is not impossible on our druid+warrior team, but the other teams all have their s3 weapon, and we do not. So, in terms of attrition, they are likely to do better. I can survive against a warrior, that really is not the crux of the problem. I can kite them all day and night, but the good ones will bounce between us, so I will have to non-stop heal and never get a moment to drink. Again, this would be fine if the other team did not grossly out-gear us. The matches usually boil down to "I'm out of mana, their druid has 1000 left, both warriors are at 50%," which we inevitably lose because of the gear discrepancy. I am truly convinced that we can beat most of the warrior+healer teams we face, if only we were comparably geared.

I don't have a problem with counter-comps... it makes the game work. Rock-scissors-paper (or as close as Blizz can manage) is a fair system. My only problem is that we did 13 games on the destro+shadow team, and we we went 6-7. So, we ended up facing a different warlock+druid team 7 times. That's not entirely true, actually, we also faced disc+sl/sl, which is a MUCH harder counter-comp than druid+sl/sl because the priest has PRoM, as I stated before. We ended up taking 6 wins, mostly against the comp that we counter hard. We absolutely destroy warrior+healer on this team, and we only merely beat warrior+healer when they are both good. We had two matches against a pally+warrior in full s4 with s3 weapon and shoulders, one which we won because the warrior got cocky and decided to stick on me a little too long out of LoS. The other was on Lord, and they were playing tight the entire match, spell reflecting at amazing times, switching targets, breaking LoS, etc etc. Eventually it came down to the warrior at 50%, me at 25%, and we dropped a gib on him, the last sbolt of which was spell-reflected... and fizzled or something because I don't think it did damage to me... I will have to watch that video again.

We also stole a win from a terrible warlock+druid because the druid was standing out in the open in the beginning, so we got full dots, a blackout proc, shadowfury, deathcoil, spell lock, silence, gib (MB:D + SBB... new lingo for our gib which is "mind-blast+shadow word:death" and "shadowbolt+shadowburn"... I need to get that good 100-0 1 second gib video posted so I can refer to it in my posts with an onHover event to show off the gib in action). Also, we stole a win from a full s3 restoshamang+warlock which ended the same way... we put the long-lock on the shamang and gibbed him before he could ns-hw.

/takes a break

I just did some math for the new destro build and talents... you know what is going to be a spell that people won't see coming? Immolate. That's right, that base spell from level 2 is going to be a monster. Why?!? Well, with CoE up, and my Nightfall/Chaosbolt spec, Immolate will HIT for 2k, and Chaosbolt will hit for about the same. Wait... what... I am going to have to spells on 1.5 second casts that HIT for 2k on a crit-build?!?! It's bonkers right? So here's what I'm seeing: start the match with a mini-gib to get the opponents on the defensive. Essentially, toss up CoE, corruption, then Immolate into IMMEDIATE conflag for good damage output (should be about 3.5k without a crit... and has a 26% chance to stun and increases my casting speed by 30% for 3 casts), immolate again, chaosbolt, shadowbolt. Those three casts will come in the order of 1.05, 1.05, 1.75 seconds for a total of 3.85 seconds of casting. THEN, I can drop shadowfury for another 3 second stun (of course this will be pending on whether pyroclasm shares diminishing returns with Shadowfury... if not then it might be gg at this point), cast shadowbolt followed by a spell-lock on the healer and a deathcoil in the same animation, which should be followed by the gib (mb:d, SBB). Against teams who don't know about the gib... this will do something like 20k damage in 5 seconds (with guntir's help, of course). Also, if he lives through this part of the gib, conflag is back up, and under 5 seconds, so it has an additional 20% crit chance.


I'm working on getting the video ready, we have a lot of ideas, and a lot of good footage. I have a rough draft ready to go out, but I don't have it here or on the net yet, so it will be a bit before I post it.

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Things I Am Looking Foreward To (Druid)

I realize that this blog is titled "Bored Druid Musings" and I spend an awful lot of time talking about my warlock, but I go where the news is. Essentially, there is nothing new to report on Druids as of late, and I was contented with the position they were in beta. That is to say, if WotLK were released today, I think that all druid specs would have a good base from which to advance in both PvE and PvP, and they would scale better than they currently do. Do I think that the talent trees are perfect? No, there are some things that need changing, and some abilities need revision, but for the most part, I think that the current beta build holds much promise for hybrid classes. That being said, there was a beta patch on Friday, and as I write this blog, mainly, while at work, I did not have a chance to reflect on some of the changes (this is also true of the warlock builds... they changed the 45-tier and it's amazing now... but another time).

In one of my younger posts on this blog, I touched on some of the pros and cons of being a druid (of any spec), and here they are summarized again for your enjoyment:
Feral Pros-
1. Mobility / Speed
2. Damage

Feral Cons-
1. Mana reliance
2. Lack of utility
3. No snares/slows
4. No cc
5. No procs

You can go back and reread that earlier post if you want to see my reasoning behind these, but I am going to simply assume that I am right and move forward.

As of today's listed feral changes, they have addressed cons 3, 4, and 5 with Infected Wounds, being able to begin casting while shapeshifted with auto-deshift, and we are being giving items and procs in form. To a lesser extent, they have added provisos for 1 and 2, as well with Berserk reducing the shapeshifting reliance on snare-breaking and Savage Roar bringing utility to all melee classes in the party. As for the pros, the mobility/speed issue is being revamped to work indoors, which is good, and the damage output is being increases for ferals across the board via the "un-nerfing" of ferals by adding maul and mangle(bear) back to savage fury, King of the Jungle, Tiger's Fury being buffed in general, Berserk, Rend and Tear, etc.

All things considered, the feral builds will be amazing... but split. What do I mean by that? Well, one of the key aspects of being a feral was that currently, a full feral build could be either a tank or a dps, but not amazing at either. Prior to the Feral nerf of 2.3, ferals were great dps and great tanks in the same build, but after the nerf (and many many many scaling issues), dps fell behind and tanking was mediocre. A lot of the core feral talents have been revamped to scale, which is a long-due change, but additionally, the multiple talents have been added up and viewed as a whole of "how can we simulate the difference between tanking and dps without having 2 separate talent trees like warriors."

So, the conclusion was that there will be good tanking abilities, and good dps abilities, but they will be separate. Take Shredding Attacks, for example, and notice that it only really improves Shred, which is a core dps talent. True, it does buff Lacerate, but not enough to warrant taking that versus a different talent for a "tank-only" build. If you want to tank Sunwell, you cannot take this ability (in the new talent trees) because of all the other good talents for tanking; the same is true with Brutal Impact and many more.

However, there are some changes that I do not envision going so well. For instance, the agi:crit ratio has been dramatically reduced from 25:1 to 40:1, which will mean that instead of sporting around 40% crit at the top tier of PvP gear, druids will likely be getting gear with only agi/crit rating on it and be HOPING for 30% crit with LotP up. What does this mean? Well, for one it means that we have the option of opting out of Primal Fury for PvP (when your specials crit, you gain an extra combo point) because of its relatively questionable utility in PvP now. Instead of walking around with 30% (or more) crit against resilience-capped people, we'll be walking around with 20% perhaps. I believe that 10% does make the difference, because at low tiers of resilience, the skill will be amazing still in keeping combo points up for useful abilities such as Maim, Savage Roar, and Ferocious Bite (which MIGHT not be terrible now against bleeding targets with Berserk up and running). It is also unclear which will be the best finishing move against low-armor classes between already-bleeding-FBs because of Rend and Tear or Rip, since Rip will now scale at 5-cps. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised seeing double dps teams with a feral and they try to time gibs along the lines of "5 combo point rip, get up 5 cps again, START THE GIB, Berserk, Ferocious Bite (80% crit), King of the Jungle, shredshredshred, FB again," etc.

Okay... I can go on and on about the Feral talents and abilities until we're all blue in the face... but the point is this: I cannot come up with a good PvP feral spec. That's right... I can come up with 50 specs that I consider amazing on my warlock, but I simply cannot grasp a great feral spec that has everything I want. I am not in the boat of "well I want to tank AND dps... what to do what to do," but rather, I am in the boat of "I want to dps in PvP... but how best to do that given all these options." There are just so many good talents that it is becoming impossible to decide between them...

Okay, kitty will definitely need all the crit talents because of the agi:crit nerf, so that means Sharpened Claws (duh) and Master Shapeshifter (harder). The latter means a minimum of 12 points into resto... with probably 13 being the reality of "fewest points spent in resto" because of Omen of Clarity being passive and marginally better [question mark]. It's hard to tell if "only procs off white attacks" will mean much in short fights, though it was always a boon to see "pounce, fff, shred, [ooc] shred, [tick] shred" when opening a fight. I suppose that it will be a definite knock on burst damage, since yellow attacks restart the swing timer, but then again, maybe they plan on our white damage scaling a little better because of this... who knows. Okay, so far the spec has a good base, 0/15/13, with Feral Swiftness (which works indoors... horray for WSG again) and OoC/MSS. Also, we're basically done with points in the resto tree... let's focus on the feral tree now.

This next tier (the 15-point tier) is arguably the best and most bloated tier for ferals. At a total of 9 possible talent points to spend at this teir, and arguably all of the talents being, if not amazing at least, useful. However, I have to go with the best talents first, in an attempt to only spend 5 points per tier... so we'll go with Shredding Attacks and Predatory Strikes. Also, PS does not irk me as much as it used to. Currently, it is "+150% of your level in AP" for a 3-point talent, which is just meh when compared to Shredding Attacks and Primal Fury. However, in WotLK, Primal Fury is a little less appealing, and PS is completely needed for HotW... so this tier is a no-brainer. Plus, PS now scales with the FAP on the equipped weapon... which is amazing.

Okay, we're at 0/20/13 now, and looking pretty good. We definitely need some of that sexy new feral charge, but it becomes unclear where to put the rest of our points for this tier. Savage Fury is getting un-nerfed... but cat form is getting so much that we might not need to dps in bear form anymore. Additionally, if you plan on going double-dps as feral (or even... plan on playing without a healer in arena most the time), then you can skip Nurturing Instinct. Personally, I like where FFF is put now, and the armor ignore is HUGELY becoming a melee stat du jour. So, let's put one point into FFF, 2 points into Nurturing Instinct (I play solo a lot, so healing is nice), and 1 point into Primal Fury. The next tier is a no-brainer... 5 into HotW.

At this point things are getting disheveled. We have a nice looking 0/30/13 build going, but now we are missing some talents that I think will be ground-breaking. Let's see... we'll just keep moving down until we have our 51-points in there, then see where we stand with the rest. At this point, LotP is necessary, but for PvP the new Primal Tenacity wins out over iLotP. I put 3 in PT, 1 in LotP, and Survival of the Fittest is SO buffed from it's original, that we can put that 1 point remainder in there right now and get the equivalent of two points of the current talent. Next, we are a dps build, so we need to put all 5 at this tier into Preditory Instincts, and Mangle. Finally, we get those talents we really needed all along, we have to take all 3 Infected Wounds. At this point, I put the last point into the remaining point of Primal Fury.

Next, we take all 5 of Rend and Tear because those Ferocious Bite crits will be in the 8ks at level 80. Then we take Berserk. Okay, we're sitting at 0/51/13 with seven point remaining. WHAT TO DO!?!?!? Well, firstly, I like King of the Jungle so much, so I put 3 points there. At this point, we have 4 points to spend, and 4 places to put 2 points (actually, 3 places to put 2 points, and one place to put 3). Personally, unless you are going to be taking AoE of Cleave damage in a raid, then I do not think that iLotP is all that useful anymore, so I will likely be skipping it entirely. Also, I do not think Improved Mangle is all that useful because a feral's main source of damage is from Shred, not Mangle, and while it would be nice to have a 29 energy Mangle, it certainly is not a make-or-break talent. Also, Savage Fury being buffed is nice, but I just do not see enough PvP-centered abilities for Bear form anymore, and thus can ignore the extra damage. This leaves me with either putting points into SotF, Primal Precision, or more Naturalist. Essentially, SotF is 4% more stats, which is a rather nice passive effect, however Naturalist is 6% more damage done period. At this point, with the stat allocations for 80 virtually unknowable, we cannot run the numbers to see which would be a better investment in the long run. Admittedly, we could take 2/2 or 1/3 and get the benefit from both of them, but on the other hand 10 expertise and 80% energy refunded when FB does not land is amazing sounding.

I suppose that, for now, I will just bite my lip and go 2/2 into SotF and Naturalist. That would give me this spec, which seems like a good dps spec... maybe it is just too early to tell... or maybe I just have been out of feral for so long that I cannot be sure anymore. I will just have to wait and see what the expansion brings.

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