My Brother, My Keeper

So, after doing 20 matches yesterday (10 on one team, 10 on the other) and facing mostly druid+lock teams (which we can't beat when the druid is nelf... which was all of them), we had a long discussion about the game and the state of ourselves. The conclusion was that at present, the game is a chore more than fun. PvP is not balanced in any way and that's the only reason we play the game. Most likely, we will be taking a hiatus, for how long I cannot say.

As depressed as I was when I went to bed last night, I was feeling amazing today when I came into work. I do not know why. It's probably because I know that I cannot give up WoW since there are no other games out right now that are really worth playing (with my brother, I'll still play CS, HL, HL2, Portal, etc). So eneewace...

I start checking my wow sources (because I'm thinking of spec'ing feral again when my brother stops playing) and see nothing but QQ from the druid community. Apparently, the shamangs got a buffed flametongue weapon that applies a "Reduces healing by 50%" debuff for 5 seconds which refreshes on every hit. My first thought was "wtf... why do shamangs get an ms debuff instead of ferals."

Then I thought... because enhancement shamangs NEEDED a buff. It shouldn't be "instead of ferals" but rather "why do shamangs get a needed buff while feral druids are ignored?" That question makes more sense. ANYWAY: I did some more research and found that there is dissension among the community as to whether it's an ms debuff OR it's an affect that reduces a HEALER'S ability to HEAL by 50%, rather than reducing a targets ability to BE healed by 50%.

If it is indeed an ability that reduces a healer's ability TO heal... then shamang+warrior+healer will be a FORCE to be reconned with in 3s because warrior will apply MS to the healear, and shamang will apply flametongue offhand to the healer, and the healer will have to heal thyself for 25% healing... that's not right in ANY medium. If it is the other side of the coin, however, then shamangs have an overdue ms ability like every other class in the game now (rogues, warriors, hunters). Hopefully it makes its way to feral soon too.

Shamangs would be a formidable 2s partner if they get an ms ability, as well, since they aren't completely mana dependent, shamanistic rage isn't purgeable, and windfury lasts forever and isn't purgeable. Shamangs also bring more dps to the table, and earthshock is arguably better than pummel in terms of an interrupt because it doesn't require melee range. Who knows... maybe my gf's brother's shamang will replace my brother when he quits.... maybe my brother will stick around to play some druid+shamang+warrior with buffs... who knows...


Holy lord... now Toughness (shamang enh talent) reduces snare time by 10/20/30/40/50%... this makes them a ridiculous 2s partner.

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Kinda Depressed...

Yeah... I think it is because I've come to the staunch realization that I am losing interest in WoW. Basically, I started dabbling in CrossOver on my Mac a few weeks ago, and last week I finally got it working to a point where I declared it "usable." So, I installed Steam as my first task, of course, and then installed all my favorite games there: Counter-Strike, Half Life, Half Life 2, and Portal (which I had never played but really wanted to).

I beat Portal, and it was immense fun. I've also been playing Counter-Strike again (I suck so bad after taking my 2 year hiatus), and all those fond memories of spwning came flooding back in an intense euphoric reminiscence that was just great. After beating Portal and proving, once and for all that I'm horrible at CS now, I installed and started playing Half Life 2 again. Mother of God, I didn't remember the game being this much fun the first 2 times.

Admittedly, the first time I played it was between classes in my first year of college... so I didn't get the full appreciation of sitting up alone at night killing zombies, and the second time I played it was on my Linux box running bland Wine... and that froze a lot... A LOT. This time, the only "freezes" I encounter (because I am using Wine... but CodeWeaver's version) are usually directly after auto-saves when text is starting to load on the screen and audio is played at the same time. This does not happen a lot, but when it does, I can quit and restart right where I left off pretty simply and quickly, which is nice. Next, I'm probably going to buy episode 1 and episode 2 and play through those, because I've never played them, but I have read some reviews and they are all positive.

WHAT ABOUT WOW!? Man... it makes you realize how bad you really have it... playing great games. World of Warcraft was a lot of fun for a long time, but now it seems like I'm only playing enough to get my arena points for the week, and I don't even care if we go up or down. I realize, when playing HL2, that I'm having more fun than if I were playing WoW, and it starts to dawn on me that WoW USED to be fun... there USED to be goals that were reachable and worth going for. I have come to the realization that I'm never going to get a team above 2000... it's just not going to happen because I don't play enough. My brother is in his final semester of school, and I don't really want to go anywhere without him... so we don't have a lot of time during a given week to get matches in.

Sure, maybe in a few months when he's graduated and settled down with a job, etc etc, we can pick up arena on a better scale... but as for right now, it's just not competitive. We don't play enough to counter the fact that every other team we play is druid+hunter (which neither of our teams can beat... ever), so we take out 5-5 weekly record with a shrug, and he goes back to studying. Before, I would continue doing battlegrounds, or hit my daily quests, etc... then I realized that neither of those things are fun anymore. I don't need the honor... at all, and daily quests are the worst installment in WoW to date. IT IS NOT FUN GRINDING... for money or otherwise.

I oft find myself thinking about starting gimmick teams just for the shear amusement of it. I think "5 druids would be hilarious" or "nothing but druids and retadins" or something stupid like that. Yet, it's hard to tell if anyone out there would enjoy it as much as I do. There's always a factor of "they aren't your friends, they just want points, no one will join a gimmick team for real" that creeps into my head.

Sigh... my friends either 1) don't play competitive PvP, 2) aren't on my server, or 3) have such bad classes that teaming with them would be the worst team construction ever... moonkin + pally + feral + resto + enhancement shamang. There is nothing in that lineup that strikes me as a good team. In fact, I can't figure a good lineup with a moonkin in it other than 5 moonkins... which would only be marginally decent because moonkin aura doesn't stack (what if it did... lawl... 5x moonkin auras = 25% spell crit... that would be good... would it be OP??? No idea).


I don't want to do 2s anymore... I hate 2s. It's become too rock-paper-scissors and not enough actual thinking or gameplay. So, I think I'm going to focus more on 5s. 3s suffers from the same problem that 2s does... there's one team that's better than the rest, and you always face it half the time. The same is probably true of 5s too, but I know that I can bubble a 1650 rating pretty easily with a decent setup:

resto druid + pally/disc priest + enhancemang + warrior + rogue (or another warrior/shamang)

It's a windfury team... I had a 1700 team that I was on with this setup... basically against most drain teams, you just eat one of their classes alive before they've drained the pally to 50%, and I can keep CoT off him. Also, innervate on the pally just messes drain teams up. This isn't a traditional outlast team, since we only have 2 healers, but I double as a dps sometimes with wrath-spam and offensive cyclones. I've talked about this team makeup before... it's okay.

sl/sl lock (mine), disc priest (my bro), disc priest, pally, hunter

This is a combo outlast team and a drain team. Everyone except the pally can drain mana, and each disc priest can switch to mana burning when the pally is healing without much worry or cc. Eventually the hunter and the lock will dps something down with the healer's oom. I don't know about this one, but I don't really care either.... so I have the advantage there.

Oh well, I want to do this... but it's hard to work it in... getting peeps you know online with gear is hard as hell...

guess i'll play some cs in the meantime...

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Dashed and Tattered Dreams

BAH, you can't mound in moonkin. Also, with all the talents in the balance tree, I simply don't hit more than 100 damage harder. The only difference is that I crit 9% more of the time with starfire and wrath, and when those hit they do 200% damage, instead of 150%. Because int->crit was nerfed for druids on the ptr as well (yeah, stealthy, I know), my crit is a paltry 16% in moonkin, so nuts to that.

I liked the big damage, when it happened... which was rare. 3000 starfire crits are nice, and I'm sure that if I had a respectable crit rate and respectable damage gear (I'm wearing my resto gear), it would have been a more enjoyable experience, but I think that the druid class is too hybridy to spec fully into one tree... I didn't even USE Force of Nature because of how put off I was by the damage in moonkin.

My wrath currently hits for ~800, with moonkin it hit for ~900... and I lose the ability to cast my heals. Long story short, no, I will not be spec'ing moonkin.

Though, if feral got a snare, I should would fancy the opportunity to go feral again...

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If I can mount up on the ptr while in moonkin form, then I'm going to spec it when 2.4 releases. Just for the lulz. My brorrior (warrior+brother) and I were doing bgs this weekend for honor (which I don't know what I'm going to spend it on... considering that I have all pvp purps of the latest season) and I was just spamming wrath and starfire for fun. Starfire can put out some frost-bolt-esque damage in healing gear without the good damage talents.

I am doing about 1400 starfires at present, which isn't great, but it is basically spammable because most classes just ignore you if you're casting Starfire. With the 10% damage increase, that bumps it up to 1540, and the addition spell damage talent probably gets that up to 1600-1700 hits. Additionall, in bgs, for some reason, you can crit people... so I'd be walking around with a measely 20% crit rate. In any case, it would be funny and I want to see the lawl-trees.

This is just a musing... I've gotten warrior+druid as far as I want it to go... it was fun, but now that the warrior is in full s2 (he opted for the quick s2 rather than s3), I don't feel the need to be his heal-bot full-time anymore. I want to focus more on 5s just for the fun of it, rather than the competitive side. Doing 1500s 5s would be fine.... we'll see, it has a lot to do with where Moonkins are going on the ptr. I've got 38 minutes before they come back up and I can test the Moonkin riding... which I saw a pic of, but may have been photoshopped. Hopefully, it wasn't...

BAM Starfire.

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Snares and Shifting

There have been a lot of complaints for the feral druids lately (probably because 2.4 is still getting changed almost bi-weekly) concerning the fact that they are the only melee class in the game without a snare, cooldown or otherwise. It seems that the main opponent of feral druids getting a snare is ignorance on the behalf of everyone who has never played a feral druid. This comes as no big surprise to yours truly, since I had been feral before switching over to resto to arena with my brother's warrior, who had just hit 70.

In essence, there are two main reasons why others do not want feral druids to have a snare. The first is obvious: if it is a base ability, or an ability that is shallow in the feral tree, then restoration druids can get it, which would make them The second reason is because there is a common misconception that because druids can shift out of almost all snares and crowd control abilities, and the ferals have an ability that makes them move faster (coupled with a set bonus that makes them move faster), they do not need a snare.

The second argument could not be further from the truth. I am not saying that feral druids do not get to move faster in cat/bear form that everyone else because it is true -- they do move faster than everyone else (15% from talents, 15% from 4-pieces of gear +8% from the minor run speed enchant makes for 143% movement). However, without a snare, a druid still is susceptible to other class' snares making them too slow.

For instance, if a rogue shivs crippling poison onto a feral druid, then switches off to a different target, the druid will be moving at 43% speed (still better than every other class moving at 30% speed, but enough so that the rogue can get away). Even hamstring will knock the movement speed down to 70%. If a warlock used CoEx on the druid, he'd be moving at 100% speed (normal).

The argument, then, is "so what? just shift out of it and you're back at 143% speed again."

While this might be true, it is a large cause for concern as a melee class. Shifting resets a druid's swing timer to the weapon he is wielding in caster form (usually 3.6 or more), and that isn't fixed until the first swing is landed. That is to say that if a feral druid were to shift out of cat form and back into cat form immediately, he would be subject to 3.6 seconds of not attacking with white damage, and he would have to wait for the server response before energy gains.

Additionally, other melee classes with snares also have mobility devices that aid them in getting to their enemies. Warriors have intercept, rogues (the good ones, anyway) have shadowstep or improved sprint, paladins have blessing of freedom, shamangs have... okay, shamangs don't have any love in this department either... at least they have earthbind totem... ferals don't have anything. Ferals don't have a readily available means of getting from their snared position to their opponent other than using their limited mana supply (usually about 8 shifts per match before innervate) to shift out and back just to get back to the opponent, who will (if they're smart) snare the druid again.

This is, really, the slippery slope for melee classes. When you finally get into range of the thing you're trying to attack, it snares you and walks away. Ferals don't have any problem with dying, they have a problem with not being able to attack anything because of snares, then their partners die off. This is fine in battlegrounds, I used to roll around by myself, and when things attacked me, I would kill them. However, when someone would ignore me to continue healing their friends, or continue killing somebody else, I would have trouble staying with someone.

Warriors and rogues will tell me that I just need to learn to play my class, but they would be less than enthusiastic if they could only apply crippling poison or hamstring 8 times in an arena match... because that's what moving at 143% speed and getting out of snares at 1/8 your mana bar is.

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Arena Drinking... why?

Why nerf it SLIGHTLY? Night elf druids will still be able to get 5+ seconds of drinking because of shadowmeld. Why not completely remove it, it's reasonably clear that the intention is not for anyone to sit down and have a drink in the midst of a fight, but they are allowing it to continue because they think that no one can get 5+ seconds of drinking, or they are being completely ignored and therefore can afford time to drink, or are going to lose because their team mate is going to die soon anyway.

As a warrior+druid team (and not being a night elf, myself), we are at a distinct disadvantage against smart mirror teams that have nelf druids. The reason is because each warrior is going to charge and steam after the other's druid. I can run from a warrior nigh-indefinitely when there is LoS in my favor (Nagrand and Blade's Edge, to a lesser extent), but when I can't run without getting hit a lot (read: Lordaeron... hunter's paradise), then I'm inevitably going to lose the healing/mana game. This is simply due to the fact that a nelf druid can nature's grasp / root / cyclone my warrior, drop combat, drink and stealth.

It will take my warrior ~5 extra seconds searching for, and trying to hit, the opposing druid, in which time the druid has gotten a nice cool drink while I have been continually running.

Anyway... druids are still going to be the number one 2s healer unless shadowmeld is nerfed (or drinking is completely removed from arena). Honestly, I think Druids are not super overpowered in arena, I just think that the ability to drink more often than any other mana-using class is broken. In most matches (except against pally+warrior when the warrior is attacking my warrior... which is the mana-intensive fight) I don't even drink. I've had the same 10-stack of water (originally 20) for the last 5 weeks. I'm starting to think that people complain about NELF druids and lump them into the "druids are op" slogans.

Personally, I think my matches that I win are hard-fought, but some matchups are easier. If water was removed from the arena, I would think the QQ'ing about druids being the best healers would go away again. Pallies have the easiest time healing and conserving mana bar none.

Conclusion: remove arena water, give me back my fast running, give me back my lifebloom coefficient, and you'll see a more balanced 2s arena concerning druids.

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Viper Sting

Let's talk numbers. Truth is in numbers. First, let's discuss the differences.

On my warrior+druid team, I can deal with mana burn. For the most part, mana burn doesn't really get cast because my warrior is busy giving the priest an enema with his sword, but if it DOES get cast, I'm usually breaking LoS so often that I'll only get hit with it once a match, and usually it doesn't matter because the priest will be dead for mana burning instead of healing himself.

Also, I can deal with mana drain. A warlock will not be shadow-bolting (or incinerating) while channeling a spell, and since every sl/sl lock has the improved distance talent, I use this channeling as a very expensive root, of sorts. For instance, last night we faught a high rated priest+sl/sl team, and we won. The priest was on a pillar enjoying his enema, and my warrior was just pummeling his heals, mortal striking, like you do. Anyway, I would sit behind one of the posts on either end of the bridge, toss out my heals, and when the lock finally got line of sight, he was standing on the ramp cement, so I would start running (just not quite under the bridge, but offset a bit so I can easily and quickly get up the ramp on the other side). Basically, the lock would continue channeling until I was half way between the pillar and the ramp on the other side, which was usually ~3 ticks (600 mana). I'd throw out my hots on my warrior, dispel the curse on him, etc, and wait for the lock to show up to rinse-and-repeat. I didn't have time to drink, obviously, but my mana consumption was still a far-cry better than the damage that the priest was eating. Long-story-short, we won that match pretty steeply.

We don't always beat priest+sl/sl, but it's easier than every other healer+sl/sl (other than shamang, which is probably comparable to priest). ENEEWACE... viper sting... man...

Okay, I have pointed this out: mana burn makes you stop dps'ing, you aren't mind flaying, mind blasting, etc. Mana drain means you aren't throwing out sbolts or incinerates or fears. Viper sting, on the other hand, lets the hunter continue dealing damage, trapping, etc. I don't care if it DOES have a cooldown, it's still the best mana drain in the game.

After 2.4 patch with 400 resilience:

Mana drain: 240 / tick; 5 ticks (but today's ptr posted it had been nerfed from 300 to 200 / tick, so maybe it'll be 160 / tick)

Mana burn: 800 / burn (costs 355 mana for the priest)

Viper sting: 371 / tick; 4 ticks (plus the hunter will still be dumping damage into people, so you have to burn mana healing while stung).

If the current ptr sticks, and the warlocks are nerfed down to 200 / tick before resilience, I won't really have to worry about the mana drain any longer, so I can heal to my heart's content. Priests, again, I don't worry about much anyway. Hunters... will still be unbeatable teamed with a healer with cc (like a druid).

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More Nerfs

Bah, I go out sick for a couple days and the whole world falls to crap... So, lifebloom has been nerfed, along with natural perfection. The actual extent of the lifebloom nerf is unclear atm, but all tolled from the forums is seems slight (e.g. going from 840 live ticks to 790 live ticks), though the exploding coefficient has been increased to compensate... which seems odd if nothing else (e.g. 1400 exploding live to 1600 explode). Natural perfection hurts a little more since the percent of damage reduced has gone from 1/3/5% to 2/3/4%.

The natural perfection nerf does hurt more, since Blizz is destroying our survivability as a healing class. We cannot run away, if anything I would have thought natural perfection to be buffed, not nerfed. However, since Blizz doesn't understand the difference between priests and druids (both healers), they assume that the two talents that are similar should be nerfed similarly. This could not be farther from what is needed. Priests do not die because of a multitude of abilities, not just one talent that reduces the damage they take by 15%, but by that, and pw:s, and ps, and fear, and inner fire.

Druids don't have power word: shield, druids don't have pain suppression, druids don't have an aoe fear, druids don't have inner fire. All tolled, we have running away, and natural perfection. Nerfing natural perfection is a slap in the face, and now we cannot run away (yes, that's right, I got my druid over to the ptr.... hamstrings and shivs... sorry, 'warriors' and 'rogues' can stay on top of us indefinitely now). So our damage mitigation (which was essentially the only thing keeping us up on the ptr now, and it wasn't doing that good a job) has been nerfed by 3%.

"OH, QQ, 3% IS NOTHING, L2P" - Some forum troll

Fine, I'll let go of the 3% damage mitigation from the nerf, but not before I get an ability that ups my armor while in caster form by 1000, and an aoe cc, and a damage reduction ability equal to 60% damage reduction, and a damage absorption ability. Since I don't have any of those things, 3% damage reduction is a big deal, and I need all the reduction I can get.

Rogues got buffed... interestingly. Mutilate now gains 15% crit from the improved backstab ability. I may actually switch my rogue over to a mutilate build for grinding, since it IS insane damage. First, I'll have to find some daggers worth using... then there's a spec to consider... who knows. By the time 2.4 drops, I will probably already be 70...

Oh yeah, feral got an actual buff. Naturing instinct is no longer a take-it-or-leave-it talent. Instead of strength, it is no agility, and it also increases the amount you are healed by 10/20% (per talent point). Man, if ferals had a mortal strike ability and a snare, I would totally roll feral again with my brother's (now permanent) disc. priest... though they only changed that tiny aspect of feral play... there's still a lot more needed for me to reconsider it as viable for arena play.

Ghost wolf is talentable to instant cast... that's interesting... shamangs are the new druids, methinks. Lawl, no not really, since ghost wolf doesn't remove movement impairing effects.

Demonic Knowledge is SLIGHTLY nerfed, but again, it's 3% spell damage nerfed... 4/8/12% from 5/10/15%. That usually equated to something like 125 spell damage, now it's more like 115... my guess is that warlocks won't be qq'ing too much... I know I won't be.

Hunters are still the best class in the game... no nerfs yet... only buffs. Now improved mend pet will remove 1 effect (magic, curse, poison, disease) when used, though I doubt this is a pvp buff... it might be. The only class that beats out hunters for mobility and damage is a rogue, but where a rogue loses is utility. Hunters bring just about the same damage and mobility as a rogue, but with twice the utility in the form of a pet on the healer all the time, a mana drain, snares, and a cc.

My guess is that the best 2s team will be of the hunter+healer variety after 2.4. Why? The answer is simply because mana drains have been nerfed HARD for priests, buffed for warlocks, but warlocks cannot compare to hunter utility, and BoF can only be on one of 'em. Since viper sting (at best) has a 35% chance to get dispelled (yes, that's right... if I cast remove poison, it has a 35% chance to actually remove viper sting), a paladin will spend more mana trying to remove viper sting (on the ptr) than viper sting will purge on its own. Currently, paladin+hunter is the best makeup out there for 2s... and I don't expect it to change much.

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I'm Sick

and possibly dying... very slowly...

Would I play a 60-capped server (without any TBC content)? I dunno... maybe. I remember playing in the morning, drinking my coffee, solo'ing BRD... doing shit that people just didn't really do. Also, fuck raids. I don't care if you wanna do them, fine, just don't bug me or criticise the way I play the game.

No, I don't want to spend 4 hours a day trying to beat a script that someone like me wrote. This is all that is coming across the wow-circuits right now: has 10 million hit points, here are his 5 moves, here's how beat him, here are his loots. Freaking dumb, if you ask me. I like weapons... so I might do some PvE with my rogue (if my buddy can get me into his BT-level guild-runs) to get some pimpin' weapons... but for the most part, the epic weapons only drop from raids.

Okay... I'm tired... and sick. I want to go home and sleep until I feel better. I might stick around, just because I feel bad about taking sick days... but if I keep coughing like this... I'm going the fuck home.

Okay, let's talk pvp. We were rolling 3s (warrior+enhmang+druid) pretty hard. We beat a 1900 PMR team 4 times, though each match took a good long while. Priests can really take a beating now adays. Anyway, we were doing well until we found the new king-of-3s: WPaP (warrior+paladin+priest). So... two healers, but one is dedicated to simply mana burning... and nothing else... our team cannot beat that team... ever. Even after 2.4 nerfs mana burn, we will STILL lose to this team more times than not.

Soooooo, we ended that team over 1600... but we should be in the 1800s if we don't face WPaP... we can take just about every other team. Then my enhmang says "we should get our alts some points." I try to explain to him that our alts have a 1750 2s rating this week, and will get points, but he says his lvl 70 warrior isn't gunna get any...

It gets better. His warrior HAS a 3s team... it's a 1300 rating... okay, let's start over.

My warlock was teamed with my brother's shadow priest. For fun, and out of agrevation, we both respec'd: me to soul-link, him to discipline. He's wearing all s2/s3 shadow gear, but he has ~490 resilience and 800 healing. This isn't great... but it's also better than how my druid started... so we won a couple games as that in 2s and decided to stick with it.

Back to the warrior, he convinces us that the 3s team will get him points, and will be funny if nothing else.

"What weapon are you sporting?" - My bro to the warrior
"Apexis Cleaver... it's the best blue axe in the game..." - The warrior
"... er ... K" - My bro and me
"ERM... is that an Icy Enchant!?!?!?" - Me

ROFLing ensues


But no, he had an epic mount. Anyway... we went something like 14-2. It was hilarious... the teams in this bracket either don't talk to each other, or they have amazingly bad makeups, or they are horribly geared... or SOMETHING. I have no idea, but seeing me and my bro in full s2/s3 rolling in with a warrior in s1 gear apparently made all our opponents crap themselves in fear.

That bracket is much more hilarious than playing at higher rated brackets.

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... might make a viable Dreamstate build now ...

880 mana normally, 810 with Moonglow, add in Dreamstate for the added ~50 mp5 while casting and the new boost in int-spirit-regen AND the druid innate regen formula buffed for 2.4... we MIGHT be talking 200 mp5 while casting... which would make a regrowth build pretty viable considering it would be a 1.3 cast half the time and 1.8 the other half...

I'm just thinking out loud, er, out ... interneting ...

but man... I know that I'll be seeing what rey's mp5 is on the PTR with Dreamstate... I think that if we CAN bust out 200 mp5 in pvp gear without sacrificing much... I might go a regrowth Dreamstate build... hmmmz

I'll post back here with some screenshots if it looks good or I find some interesting things...

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The QQ posts in the druid and PTR forums are PALPABLE.

Neth has announced that the feral set bonus would indeed include the 15% cheetah form speed increase as well as cat and bear, and the resto 4-piece bonus has been changed from -0.25 seconds off healing touch to 0.2 seconds off of regrowth. I can live with this... regrowth needs its mana consumption lowered a bit, but otherwise a decent change that will be interpretted as a nerf.

Really, it IS a nerf, but I'm so sick and tired of running in PvP. I know it's what we do best... but I'm ready for some healing as opposed to running. Priests can't really run, but they have pain suppression and power-word:shield to combat that fact, also they have a talent that makes them ignore spell knockback. Paladins have bubble, plate, a shield, and zero knockback with concentration aura up. Shamangs have... well a shield and some totems and some knockback resist... druid have "run away"

Hopefully they buff our survivability a little bit to help us live longer through the beat-down. More info as it comes.

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Okay... other news

Fine... I'll ignore the glaringly horrible nerf that druids are issued on the ptrs... let's talk about the buffs.

Mana drain buffed (wtf... from 200 a tick to 300 a tick). Someone will have to explain this to me.

All mana drains are now reduced by resilience, woot. Even though, it's probably comparable to dots, which means that they're reduced by the amount of crit reduction, something like 25%.. so that means that from live to ptr, warlocks have had their drain mana buffed from 200 a tick to 225 a tick against 500 resilience... oh well, that nerfs priests and hunters... only really hunters and warlocks needed it... maybe priests... no idea.

EDIT: wow apparently the mana drain nerf is based off the damage multiplier from resilience, not the crit chance... so that's a HUGE mana drain nerf. nerfed
HOLY POOP, that's amazing. 450 resilience = 22.83% reduction in mana drained. That means that 300 per tick becomes ~230 per tick... but it also reduces Mana Burn and Viper Sting.... I'm DOWN with this change.

AV group queue... neat? Just means that guilds will roll us in AV again.

Nether vortexes and primal nethers purchaseable by badges... great... every warrior will have skillherald now...

Apparently pallies got nerfed too, their holy 4-piece is changed:

- Paladin healing 4 piece Arena/PVP set bonus changed from "Reduces the cooldown of your Hammer of Justice by 10 sec." to "Increases the healing from your Holy Shock spell by 30%."

That helps... it'll be hard to say until we play it... but I finally got my druid on the ptr... so feedback... here it comes... if they don't change the 4-piece bonus, it might be worth looking into wearing 2 pieces of balance to get that bonus resilience... extra resilience means more mana drain resistance now...

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WOW... just wow...

This is a diatribe that I'm going to have trouble not spilling obscenities into over and over again...

Concerning the Kodohide set:
"4-piece bonus: Reduces the casting time of your healing touch by 0.25 seconds."

... wait ... what? I'm sorry, there was something insane buzzing in my ear, I thought I heard someone say "-0.25 seconds off healing touch," then everything went hot-white and I came to my senses with a dead coworker next to my desk, and blood all over my hands and knife...

Okay... so it is official now: Blizzard developers do not play druids. They don't know anyone who plays druids, they don't know anyone who KNOWS anyway who plays druids. They didn't know that druids were in the game until asked about fixing feral itemization at last year's BlizzCon... and of course the reply was "... is that like two handed swords ... or ... what?"

This scathing summary can only really be done as a satire conversation at this point:

"My pally+warrior team keeps losing to druid+warrior in the 2s bracket." -Tigole

"... what is a druid?" - Dev1

"I don't know... but it heals, kinda like a pally, but they can run away as a cheetah, or something, and have heals that they apply to their target... and have no cast times..." - Tigole

"OOOOH, yeah, we threw them a bunch of something they call 'hots' because all their direct heals cost more than Holy Light and only heal comparably to it... why, are this 'hots' becoming a problem?" -Dev1

"Maybe... but if I could just HIT them, they'd die so fast... they're only wearing leather, I hear... so they should go down faster than a shaman." -Tigole

"I see... what if we removed travel form?" - Dev1

"See, I thought about that, but my crazy cousin plays a druid, and he assured me that that would result in ~2 million accounts canceled." - Tigole

"Shit, there are that many of them? Well, we can't have that... what about just reducing travel form's movement speed?" - Dev1

"Well... it's been in its current state since beta... and no one has complained about it until now..." - Tigole

"LOOK AT THIS, some idiot made their 4-set bonus INCREASE it's speed by 15%... we'll just nerf THAT" - Dev1

"THAT'S PERFECT, what will you replace it with?" - Tigole

"Replace it? Can't we just remove it?" - Dev1

"You idiot, they'll know we're on to them... just change it to something else... make it so they're more like paladins... reduce the cast time of one of their bigger heals, that ought to keep them from rioting." - Tigole

And thus, I had to go to Blizzard and kill everyone in the building that day.

NO NO, time is not yet upon us... if anyone can get into the PTR, log on, and leave ~10,000 feedback messages on your armor informing the devs just how retarded this change truly is. I haven't been able to copy a character over yet... but as soon as I can... it'll be nothing but feedback posts for a while.

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Soul Link

Yes, I'm bitching about soul link again. YES, cripes, yes... I just don't understand how Blizzard feels that doing as much damage as every other spec, but having 20% natural damage reduction at no cost is fair in any bracket of PvP. I know that destro is the spec for PvE, I get that. It makes sense, the crit specs are for PvE... fine.

Giving a spec 20% damage reduction clearly makes it viable for PvP, fine, but allowing that spec to also gain 2/3 of the damage viability as the Affliction spec makes me want to scream. "Yeah, you got the 20% damage reduction, here have the other 2 instant dots that Affliction specs get, Love Blizzard."


Okay, fine, I get it that currently we're not likely to beat sl/sl+healer on our lock+spriest team, fine. However, our warrior+druid team should be able to take that team on on a fairly regular basis. Warrior trumps warlock for damage, the only difference is that the lock can spread all his dps across both targets, whereas the warrior has to focus on the druid. Sometimes, if the other team plays well and makes the druid run from the warrior near the lock, they can time their ccs well and force me to burn lots of mana healing AND get hit by mana drain.

I just need to work on our placement against that team. I need to spread far enough that I can get a vantage on my warrior, and keep max range from the lock. Heals at full range, and cyclone's range beats fear's range, just need to keep from getting feared all the time. Additionally, I'll need more spell penetration against that team. The lock will have 70 arcane/nature resist, so roots and cyclone get resisted a lot... annoying.

Sigh, as soon as my rogue hits 70, he should have some good weapons and the rep for 3 of the blue PvP pieces, so he'll have some resilience if nothing else, and my brother's spriest will still have ~500 resilience and >800 spell damage... so that team should be able to take off. Against healer+sl/sl, the healer usually gets beat down by rogue. Rogue adds a degree of control to the fight that warlock simply cannot bring. Stuns > fears.

Also, crippling poison is amazing... people just don't realize that...

I can't decide whether I like vile poisons or improved poisons better... resistance to dispel affects is good, but being able to apply them better is also amazing...

BAH. I'll probably come back with this post later... when I'm less angry.


Okay, I'm back. I went and read up on the current best strats against sl+sl / healer. Against druid or pally, we're supposed to kill the felhunter first. This should be simpler now that my warrior has a better weapon, with Thunder it was completely out of the question... and we tried... a bunch of times. Sadly, a warrior just can't drop a felhunter with full s2 gear and Thunder... it's just not gunna happen against a healer who doesn't suck or a warlock who realizes that his pet is dying.

OKAY, so we kill the pet, then the lock isnta-summons him back (or the voidwalker if he's smart). If he summons the voidwalker, I can finally use rejuv on myself, which is better and easier than lifebloomX3 when you're trying to keep a warrior up. If it's the felhunter, we just do it again. NOW, when the pet is dead twice, we can focus on the lock without soul link or master demonologist or demonic knowledge. These abilities are key for locks with healers, otherwise they just die... quickly... even with heals.

If the lock pops out the voidwalker, we just switch to the healer because void walkers will take 30 minutes to take down and are easily healed, we can't focus the lock because he'll have 30% damage reduction AND armor... such garbage. However, as I said, voidwalkers don't do much damage, don't dispel, and don't spell lock. So, I'm free to use regrowth if needed, don't have to worry about cyclone getting spell locked, can use regrowth on myself, etc. Very good stuff for us... even though the loc still does stupid amount of damage and take none. Essentially, I'll just be rooting and cycloning the lock at this point, and insect swarm'ing the void walker to try and down him in the mean time.

Also, voidwalker won't have the stupidily high resists that the felhunter will have... okay, I wrote a whole strat out and then went back and deleted it, then wrote out a whole new plan, then deleted that... sigh, we'll cyclone the voidwalker and beatdown the lock to 50% or so prolly (before cyclone DR is immune), then I'll switch to cycloning the lock, and have my warrior switch to the healer until the lock is immune, then switch back (because it's been > 20 seconds) to the pet and kill the lock.

Can't do this against felhunter... just gotta kill it again.

Once all the pets are dead, need to stay on the lock and save pummel for trying to raise the pet. Against a druid+lock this will be hard, because the lock can summon while my warrior is cycloned/rooted. So, I have to save my cyclones for when my warrior is cycloned. The lock starts summoning his pet again, I have to cyclone him until my warrior can get back in range.

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I Miss....

Counter-Strike. It's been almost 2 years since I have actually sat down and played Counter-Strike. Mainly, the reason is because I ended up giving up on building PCs a while back. I had a horrible experience building my PC of choice, gave up on it, and bought a Mac Pro. While I really love my mac, there are just some things that I cannot get around that are bugging me:

  1. There are almost NO video card options available to me.
  2. There are a number of old-school games that are ONLY available to the Windows platform.
Meh, just those two things, really. So, I've been pretty aggressively working with Wine to try and get Counter-Strike into a running state. Thus-far, I have gotten Wine working perfectly under Linux distro, but in all seriousness, I don't feel like running Linux on my Mac box... it would just be too depressing. Additionally, I love Mac OS X and do not really want to leave it behind. There are build techniques out, currently, that will allow Wine to be built and run on Mac OS X (Intel boxes only, yay for me!), but there is a bug with linking OpenGL library at run time, which causes all the programs that use OpenGL rendering to bomb out on the Mac.

BAH, I only want to use it for OpenGL rendering. There are, of course, solutions out there that work. CodeWeavers™ has created CrossOver© which uses their own version of X11 and OpenGL to link up, but it uses a really old distribution of Wine to get this trick to work... also it costs ~$60 which is more than I'd like to spend on something that does not completely keep up to date and uses "hax" (in my opinion) to reach the end-goal.

Before Mac OS X - 10.5.2 was released, there was a long discussion in the mailing lists between the Darwine (wine on mac) lead resourcer which, after many days of scrutiny, lead to the Apple developer acting as correspondence to conclude that it must be a linking error with the X11 shipped with Mac OS X and that it was done for various reasons. The Apple developer then said that he would pass it on the X11/linker devs and hopefully they would be able to do something about it. However, 10.5.2 was released this week and it did not include an updated X11 or any better linking solution, so I fear that this bug may have been put into the "Master In-Pile" and forgotten (or worse - written off as "meh, w/e, it works for what we want").

Sigh, I suppose I could give CrossOver another chance, I tried it as beta a while back and was unimpressed, though many of the bugs I encountered were unresolved Wine bugs, at the time. Things like "microphone input transmission does not work in Counter-Strike" and "AC3 audio positioning does not work properly in Counter-Strike" and the like just made me long for the working Windows version. I just do not see a lot of improvements being put into CrossOver, let alone upgrading to stay parallel with Wine releases.

Bah, let's talk about something else.

There is a LOT of shamang complaining going on right now in the forums. Apparently, some twit CM decided to make the asinine statement "shamans aren't under-represented, every other class is just over-represented." Way to go CM, that was dumb... so now there is a 22 page locked thread in the shamang forums with many other statements with just as retarded a sentament a la "You don't have a small dick... everyone else's is just much larger." Additionally, the shamangs have posted in OTHER forums stating that they won't post in their own because they don't want that thread to leave the front page.

Oh, the sad state of WoW.

In other news: the mana regen formulas have been updated on the PTRs, and there is a new addition that states something along the lines "the higher your int, the more mp5 you will get from spirit". There is a working model formula on the elitest jerk forums that seems pretty close (having to do with a square root function on int and multiplying it statically against a few control numbers and then spirit... interesting). Essentially the numbers were something along the lines of "if you're a druid have have 500 int and 500 spirit, your mp5 was boosted by about 50 while not casting, and about 20 while casting" which is alright by me, though it will mean something along the lines of "you have gained 4 mp5 while not casting and 1 while."

Hey, a buff is a buff in my opinion. Also, that spirit thing isn't the big deal, the big deal is that they flat buffed druid regen so that every mana-class has the same regen as a priest. Priests had the highest regen since the inception of WoW, now everyone is the same. The overall numbers show that druid regen has been increased by about 10% base (before mp5, etc). This is a good thing in my opinion, though it will undoubtedly piss off other mana classes with high regens, because their buff will seem minuscule compared to druids'.

ALSO, another change is that drinking has been back-loaded. I know, this is weird, right? Apparently, many druids only got to the 2200+ bracket because they can disengage fighting for 3 seconds and drink gaining something like 1000 mana back in that time before having to fight again... now the proposed change back-loads drinking so that for the first 6-10 seconds the mana gained is much less than on the live realms, but then after 10 seconds the mana gained increased linearly for the rest of the duration, equaling the total amount on live. I have not yet decided as to whether this will hurt me in arena, as I don't drink that often in any case. Usually, the only matches I drink in are against pally+warrior, but even then I usually only drink once or twice.

I don't think that arena drinking is very fair, personally I would like to see drinking in arena completely removed save for mage water and food. Meh, I'm in the minority here, I believe. OH, another thing to point out - Hortus stated that though the patch notes were released and 2.4 was on the public test realms, Blizzard is doing things differently than they used to. Previous PTRs would have released a candidate patch to the test realms, it would go through some minor tweaks and patches, then get officially released, then a month later a minor point patch would change a few things, etc etc.

Now, Blizz is trying to release incrementally to the PTRs instead of to the public directly. So, Hortus has stated that more changes are likely coming down the pipe and would hit the PTR before a final release candidate would be passed to the live servers. So, my boasting that druids were not nerfed directly in the 2.4 patch is not yet true. Only time will tell, though, likewise other druid buffs might be still coming for 2.4, and that would be good for the feral and balance specs for sure. Also, I would still love to see a front-loaded Regrowth to have some much-needed burst healing in the 5s arena. Hoping, hoping, hoping...

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Soooooo Hungover

Yeah, it happens. Anyway, while I was recouping, I went over the 2.4 notes again. I'm just a little confused as to why every class was questioned for feedback when the devs have so clearly not listened to any of it. There was a 100+ page sticky in the druid forums that discussed many times in detail some of the more annoying facets of druid play:

  • feral druids are the only class in the game who do not get weapon procs
  • feral druids are the only class in the game who have to spend mana to use bandages
  • feral druids are the only melee class in the game with no snare
There are hundreds more (and I've listed a number of them in previous posts), and the devs decided that adding a 0.0009% damage increase to Lacerate was the right move. I know I know, no one else got buffs or changes either, it just seems odd that they would ask for this feedback, then not use it a month later in the next big patch (2.4).

Okay, moving on to PvP talk again. Another patch, another non-druid-nerf patch... as predicted.

I did 3s this weekend with my brother's warrior, my druid, and my gf's brother as an enhancement shamang. We started off well, rolling 5-1, but then we got his team out of the abysmal 1450 bracket into the 1600 bracket and started hitting some tougher teams. Our bane seemed to be the two-healer+warrior teams. Shamang+pally+warrior in particular was difficult. Eventually, our bursty damage would take down the shamang, but not long after our shamang would get dropped, then it became warrior+druid vs. warrior+pally, and we're notoriously bad at that matchup for some reason. We probably went 4-4 against that team at the end of the day.

Also, we got from 1467 (I think) to 1692 (or something) and plummeted all the way back down to 1622. I'm not completely concerned about it, but I want to help my gf's brother out and get him some gear. He does surprisingly well for only having 1248 unbuffed attack power and 200 resilience. Most noticeably, he does decent damage because of his better-than-average PvE weapons. Personally, I feel like as he gets more PvP gear, the team will only do better and better. It is remarkably easy for our team to ghost a priest with a purge-bot on him.

Priest casts Power Word: Shield, dispelled, priest casts Pain Suppression, dispelled, priest succumbs to warrior+shamang windfury damage, the match is now 3v2. I doubt this will hold true in the higher brackets, but I think it has some potential. RPM, for instance, will give us some trouble, I'm guessing. Though, if our shamang ups his game a bit and starts playing a little smarter, then he'll bring a good force to the team. I would see the mage poly'ing my warrior to start, then the rogue jumps the shamang and the mage unloads fat damage on him too. Meanwhile, I heal as best as I can, and the rogue walks over to either switch targets (dumb) or blind me (smart).

After blind, I trinket and continue healing. This is where smart play will help. The mage will need to counter-spell me to finish the burst train on the shamang. So, my shamang needs to drop Grounding Totem right then. If counter-spell gets burned on a totem instead of me, their burst is almost done. By this point, my warrior will have a good amount of poly dr up, and will have intercepted the priest and started the beatdown. This lets me know that the dispeller is now in trouble, so I'm free to root the rogue and cyclone the mage, allowing my shamang to trinket and get on the priest as well. The priest, being a priest, will have started running around the pillar hoping to get some lucky "out of range"s on my warrior and the shamang and will be spending a lot of time out of LoS on the mage, so the mage's damage will be negated for a while that way.

NOW, I can switch cyclones and roots on the rogue and the mage and keep them out of the fight for a good while, and I don't have to heal as much, so my mana will be doing well. This is the point at which the rogue will have decided that I need to die, and started chasing me. Without a warrior to help the spamstring rotation, the rogue will never catch me / get me below 75%, and what's worse is that by the time he reaches me on the other side of the map, I will have a full duration roots to use on him behind a pillar with CloS and trinket both on cooldown. Most likely, he will have burned imp sprint earlier to get over to me, so he's just flat out stuck at this point, and I can go back to harassing the mage until the priest dies.

I know what you're thinking... yeah, we faced one or two of these matchups yesterday. We won more than half of them, but we lost to SRM every time. Why? Simply because bloodlust made the mage and the rogue drop such poop-inducing damage on the shamang that even ns-ht couldn't keep him up half the time. Bloodlust, adrenaline rush, blade flurry, slice and dice, along with 1.75 frostbolts and 1.75 waterbolts on a frost-rooted shamang with 200 resilience equals a dead shamang very quickly. I figured out that I need to cyclone the mage MUCH earlier in the fight so that the shamang foolishly pops bloodlust and the mage will be "immune" to it.

Another thing that made us lose that match a lot was charge and LoS issues. My warrior would charge a mounted shamang, and my warrior would end up where the shamang WAS, so out of range for hamstring. Then the rogue would cheapshot my shamang and put the beat-down on him while my warrior was running around trying to hamstring the shamang (which he would always eventually do, but it usually required intercept). So, my shamang kept thinking (probably because of lack of PvP experience) that he needed to stay mounted (right move) and jump off the bridge in blade's edge and get a pillar between he and I while snared to the point of regular movement speed while mounted (wrong move).

Sigh... we need to practice more. I told him, quite a bit for a long time after the match, that he needed to just continue running towards me on his mount without breaking LoS and that I would cc them the best I could and keep him alive through their onslaught. He, of course, claimed that would have made him dead, and so I explained how I can't heal through that kind of burst when he LoS's me and not the mage (or warrior... some times) and the rogue is constantly on him. Long story short, he seemed to understand the plan, and thought it was decent enough to try out next time. Sadly, we didn't get to try anymore yesterday. I want to play that team a lot more in the future, I think it has potential at an 1850 rating run if nothing else. Also, seeing priests explode is hilarious. Okay, priest is at 90%, there's shield, he's at 80%, there's pain suppression, 75, 70, 65, 50, pain suppression is gone, 10, dead. It's amazing how when PW:S and PS are finally gone my warrior and enhancemang combo renders the priest into a fine pink mist.

... I definitely want to see more of that ...

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The New Spec

Hoooooleeeeeeeeee poop. Did I mention that I liked my new spec? If not: I like my new spec. So, we played some 2s last night on warrior+druid and went 10-0 for the first time ever... it was nice. We even beat some teams that we have lost to numerous times in the past: disc+sl/sl, druid+sl/sl, druid+warrior, paladin+rogue (though we don't usually lost to this one anyway, but the rogue got the jump on me, so it was a surprising win), rogue+sl/sl (which we also beat on the spriest+warlock team), and spriest+rogue.

What's different this week? Well, I tried out the new spec 25/0/36, and it lends some surprising front-end dps that seemed to knock every team we faced back onto their heels a bit. For instance, our very first matchup was against warrior+druid mirror. Well, not exactly mirrored, my guess was that the druid was some variation of 8+/11/36+, and I guessed right. They saw exactly what we saw, a warrior with MotW, and thought "here we go..."

Little did they know our tactics. So, right off the bat the warriors charge each other. At that very moment, I popped out of cat form and started lobbing wraths at the warrior. I must have gotten off 5-6 before the druid decided I should be cycloned. At this point, their warrior was down to ~30% whereas my warrior was at about 75-80%. Whilst I was cycloned, their druid use his ns-ht to keep their warrior up, and as soon as cyclone ended, I threw lifebloomX3 and rejuv up on my warrior, cycloned their druid, and started casting starfire on their warrior. Long story short, I did ~25% of the damage in the match, and we ghosted their warrior during the first cyclone of the druid.

I think that this added utility damage is what my spec brings to the table. I give up feral charge (an admittedly good spell interrupt and root ability that costs 580 mana >_< and has a minimum range) for faster wrath, Nature's Grace (which is awesome, and I'll get to it in a moment), and 116 damage and healing from Lunar Guidance. So, I'll give it a try for a while and see if our luck continues, I may need feral charge eventually (we didn't face a single paladin+warrior team last night, and paladins almost always mean JoJ, which almost always necessitates a feral charge escape from his warrior).

Another thing about our team: it's very susceptible to double dps teams. Shadow priest + warlock, for instance, is one of our banes, but we did very well in dropping that team like a bad habit last night. We saw that the lock wasn't Soul Link, which means that we could kill it quickly. So, my warrior rides in, charges, and starts laying the beat down, and I pop and start pummeling him with wraths. We get the lock to about 50% before my warrior needed healing, so I get a 3x lifebloom and rejuv on him, then I get silenced... fine, I'll just take the pet far away and root him, done, came back and refreshed the 3x lifebloom, swiftmended, rejuved, feared. Trinket, lock dead, easy mode.

We also faced rogue+shadow priest, which is a really strong team if played well. These guys needed to work on their timing a bit. So the rogue opens with garrote on my warrior, which is suppose is a good plan, but now my warrior can fight back instead of dealing with cheapshot. So, I pop again and start the wrath spam with the spriest equidistant from the fray and me...


We get the rogue to about 50% before he realized I wasn't healing the warrior (now at 75%), so he blinds me and my warrior switches targets over to the spriest, I trinket and by this point, the priest had mindblasted and sw:d the warrior to ~50%, but as a good druid, I had Abolish Poison up the whole time, so after I trinket out of blind, I bust ns-ht on him to ~85-90% and immediately get silenced. They ALMOST timed it right. So, the priest fears me before he dies, and my warrior is at like 30% with the rogue at 50% and my warrior isn't doing too well. This is where Nature's Grace becomes my favorite ability. As soon as fear ends, I see he has like 1 tick left on rejuv, so I bust swiftmend on him, then just start mashing '3' (which is my regrowth). Crit, crit, crit, crit, full health. It was like spamming an 880 mana FoL that heals for more. I was amazed (and oom, but it didn't matter).

OKAY, I can't take all the credit, while my spec is good, imo, it's not the only key to our success from last night. My warrior finally got a better weapon that Thunder (lawl), and replaced it with the arena sword. There were a number of times I would be watching the arena live frames while wrath spamming and see my wraths do 1/10 the life of our target, then I'd see my warrior swing and do 40% of their hp. After those matches he'd say something like "lawl, did you see my swing, sword-proc, ms combo do half his health?"

How can I deny that I love that!?

Just as a follow up... the reason I think this spec is working so well with this team is because a lot of teams will expect that druid+warrior means that the druid will be healing exclusively and only providing cc utility. I believe that our opponents will expect that I will try and stay hidden for as long as possible, and only pop out when my warrior needs help. So, I use this thought of theirs to my advantage. I start casting offensive spells when other druids (on druid+warrior teams) would remain stealthed hoping their warrior does something amazing. So, I'm not wasting time, really I'm using the time in which druids usually hide. It throws off a lot of rogues to see themselves taking 1k wrath hits 3-4 times on their way over to me, especially with my warrior still beating on them. A couple times, the rogue CloS'd in a confused fashion while still beating on my warrior, which simply means that the rogue was going to die soon, OR if he had a healer, that my warrior would intercept the healer and commence the beat down while I rooted/cycloned the rogue.

Against rogue+pally, by the time the rogue decided that he better be beating on me, he had 10% hp and followed me around a pillar while my warrior was beating his pally down. I just ended up moonfire spamming the rogue down to zero before he got back into LoS for the pally. Sure, at this point myself and the warrior were at 50% hp, but NOW I become a healer in the match, and without a solid dps on the opposing team, I can get my warrior and me back to 100% with ~660 mana (because it doesn't take a 3x stack to do it if you've got time and they've got a lack of dps). Not to mention the fact that I've got innervate should I need it.

I can't wait to try this 'new' team out some more.

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The State of Druids (possibly again)

Okay, it's been too long since I had a horribly long and thought-out diatribe describing what's wrong, what's right, and what needs to be done for each of the given specs of the druid class. Is this some simple task that I take some sort of perverse pleasure in? Well, yeah, probably; if it gets preachy and loses all train of thought midway, feel free to stop reading and assume that my internal workings have gotten stuck in "bureaucrat" mode and the points have long since been forgotten.

A) Feral Pros

  1. Mobility / Speed
  2. Damage
B) Feral Cons
  1. Mana reliance
  2. Lack of utility
  3. No snares/slows
  4. No cc (I'll touch on this in a moment)
  5. No procs
C) Balance Pros
  1. Damage
  2. Physical damage mitigation
  3. Good utility cc
D) Balance Cons
  1. No silence / interrupts
  2. Roots not usable indoors
  3. Roots breaks on its own damage
  4. No pet bar for Force of Nature
  5. Crit-centric damage
  6. Meleekin
E) Resto Pros
  1. Good healing
  2. Mobility
  3. Good utility cc
F) Resto Cons
  1. No burst healing

Okay, there is most certainly stuff I left out, but that's what errata is for. Time to explain why I feel the way I do, and what I propose should be done to correct these problems so that Blizzard can ignore them.

A1 - Speed is important, and mobility is arguably MORE important, however when a feral druid is on the team, he's there to bring damage above everything else, and while druids can escape roots and snares by shape-changing, ferals have a small mana pool and can only do this so many times. While a druid has abilities that make his cat-form speed faster than every other class in the game (while not sprinting), any one snare will slow him down enough that his speed means nothing anymore.

A2 - Nothing to say here, feral druids do damage comparable to rogues, but require mangle and shred talents and combos to be viable, whereas rogues can spec a multitude of different ways and still be viable at damage.

B1 - Ferals are still too mana reliant, they have to pop and heal, have to pop and cyclone, have to pop and root, have to pop to do anything. Essentially, anything other than attack (including bandaging which no other class is penalized for) costs the druid ~550 mana. How can this be fixed? Simple, replace Predatory Strikes with Mangle (it really shouldn't be the 41 point talent, it's good, but claw should have been mangle from the get-go) as a 1/1 - 21-point talent and make the 41 points talent a passive ability that says something like "Shifting out of Cat or Dire Bear form gives you the buff, which reduces your next Cat or Dire Bear shapeshift cost by 75%. Lasts 5 seconds."

B2 - Everything that a druid can do utility-wise is done in the caster form, so the solution to B1 is also the solution to B2.

B3 - If you give a druid a slow in feral form it will have to be accessible to ferals only (meaning, that balance and restoration druids can't have access to it viably), so it should be a talent at least as deep as 21. In fact, that is my solution, change it so that all feral forms have Feral Faerie Fire trainable, and replace it in the feral tree with a passive slow: "Causes your Rake ability also gives your opponent the debuff [physical], slowing its movement speed by 30% for the duration of Rake." Why only 30% when compared to crippling poison (70%) or hamstring (50%)? Feral druids would have also picked up the self improving 30% speed buff in feral form, so an additional snare of 30% will keep the opponent in range.

B4 - Like I said in B2, everything that a druid can do cc-wise is done in the caster form, the solution to B4 is ALSO B1.

B5 - Feral druids are the ONLY melee class in the game who cannot benefit from weapon procs. This is unfair, and needs to change.

C1 - I don't play balance (never have past 25, really), but I know that balance druids can pump out decent damage. The balance tree is bloated, but there are a multitude of decent talents in it to make up varying play-styles.

C2 - Physical damage mitigation in moonkin form is key to the build. This is the same damage mitigation as Dire Bear Form, except the druid can continue to put damage down on people while in it. The problem with this (and every other physical damage mitigation in the game) is that going against a mage toe-to-toe will hurt... a lot.

C3 - If nothing else, this is the one form druids have in which crowd control abilities can be used directly with no truly averse cost. Yeah, it costs mana, but that's the name of the game... at least it doesn't cost an extra ~550 because you have to switch back into the form you deal damage in a la feral builds.

D1 -With no silence, or an interrupt that is instant, every other magic wielding class in the game has an advantage. Warlocks have a pet that is pretty much a standard of pvp-play which a school-lock that is auto-cast. Mages have the skill counter-spell, which can be talented to 8 seconds of silence on the main school of magic. Shadow priests have a straight 5 second silence. How to fix it? There's not clean-cut way to fix it. Adding a talent will simply bloat the tree even more. The solution I think is best is to give the entire druid class a silence like priests have, but make it require moonkin form to use so restos and ferals aren't buffed similarly in this manner.

D2/D3 - This just needs to change, the damage needs to be removed, and roots needs to be usable indoors.

D4 - There needs to be a pet bar for Force of Nature, it's just too unstable to be reliable in PvP without one, also, it can be gamed pretty easily by runners or agro-pullers. Additionally, they are very susceptible to dying quickly from AoE damage.

D5 - Critical strikes have been all but made obsolete by the induction of resilience in PvP play. However, the only viable option for balance druids is to stack critical strike and hope to get exceptionally lucky, or just spam wraths and hope the constant train of damage does enough. How to fix it? My solution is to make the balance tree more like the shadow tree for priests, rather than having a lot of talents that improve critical strike chances, they have a number of talents that give base multipliers to damage. So, whatever the 4% extra crit from Focused Starlight would relate to in total dps increase against someone with zero resilience, it should be turned into that type of damage percentage increase (yeah, that was hard to write, I'm guessing reading it is even harder: if 4% extra crit to starfire/wrath increases overall damage by 4% against someone with zero resilience, the talent should be changed to "increases the damage done by starfire/wrath by 2/4%"), etc.

D6 - Meleekin!? Come on Blizz, this was clearly some test you tried to do that isn't working well. Change the meleekin idea to a full-blown caster. Change increasing attack power to "gives spell damage" and change "Chance on melee hit to restore mana" to spell hit.

E - There's nothing to be said about E, resto druids have good healing, mobility, and cc options. One thing I think should change is that while in feral form, there should be no mana regen, but that's about it on the nerf-front.

F1 - Druids simply do not have an option like flash of light. Lifebloom is only comparable to FoL when a three stack is applied, and then only in the long run, and then FoL still wins out for mana efficiency and healing done (because FoL can crit whereas lifebloom ticks cannot). How to fix it? My solution would be to change Regrowth: lower the mana cost to ~600, remove the HoT portion in favor of more front-end healing. To keep this from empowering the feral or balance speced druids unfairly, it could be incorporated into the Improved Regrowth talent (which is deep in the restoration tree).

So there you have it... a bunch of buffs that I think the druid class is deserving of, and one nerf to resto that I think is apt. Flame on, but I would love feedback, even if Blizzard will ignore this entire thing (as they have been doing so nicely for I/Emposter for so long).

Wrap Up:
  • Feral druids are the only class spec in the game who have to spend mana to use bandages
  • Balance and feral druids are the only class specs in the game who have to spend mana to mount.
  • Balance druids are the only offensive magic casting class in the game without a spell interrupt or silence or school lock ability available to them.
  • Balance druids are the only class in the game with a pet, but no control over them (save for mechanical yetis and the like).
  • Feral druids are the only melee class in the game denied weapon procs.
  • Feral druids are the only physical damage dealers in the game without a slow/snare available to them.

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Just an update

So I went with the 25/0/36 build for 5s last night, and I was pleasantly surprised with how will it survived and healed. Also, the additional damage seemed to surprise the opposing teams just as much. I would start the match in cat form and prowling (of course), and we would decide on targets for crowd controls and focus targets, etc. Then once the main dps'ers on our team, which I'll get to in a bit, started their stuff, I'd start cycloning a dps target, and start the wrath-spam on the main target.

Of course, I'd have to throw some lifeblooms into the mix, and keep CoT off the paladin as much as possible, but I had more time than I figured I would casting wrath. The very first match we played, we ended up ghosting the first target before my target got out of cyclone (apparently saving his trinket for the "real" ccs lawl). I only got two wraths and a starfire into the mix, but at 5.5 seconds and ~2600 as the off-healer, their paladin couldn't keep the shamang up.

It wasn't the greatest night for 5s. I'll be honest, I had never met 3 of my team-mates before we started doing arena last night. For some reason, my rogue cannot keep a team together long enough to have good strats. So, every week we walk into the arena with a new makeup, and have to learn how to play with one another again. This week, it was rogue, mage, mage, paladin, me (resto druid).

Some surprising survivability in rogue, mage, mage. Between cheat death, and two iceblocks, no team could burst down any of our dps. The only losses we sustained last night were against drain teams (which isn't completely surprising). Hmm, something just came to me...

I like the idea of having two mages... it suited us. It was a LOT of damage output coupled with a LOT of survivability. I'm having a thought: replace the rogue with a shamang, either enhancement or elemental (preferably elemental). Bloodlust would almost guarantee a gibbed dps out the gate. Essentially, if the mage gets their polymorphs off, then one of the dps classes will have come out of hiding to attack me or possibly the shamang. At this point, if the shamang pops bloodlust, then the mages, the shamang, and our pally (also, I suppose that I am included in there some how) will be casting ridiculously quickly.

1.75 second cast frostbolts (and waterbolts would be flying quickly too), 2.1 second starfires, 1.5 second lightning bolts (yeah, fine, 1.4... but it's still 1.5 on gcd), and fast holy lights since likely some people will be being beaten (ouch, lots of "be"-words) on. Still, I'd love to see the dps output, if one guy goes down quickly, then it becomes 5v4 and the 5-man team is a 3 dps and a 2 healer. It has all the makings of starting as a 4-dps team, then turning into an outlast 2 healer team once the dps advantage has worn off.

I really like this idea, I think I'll give it a try... we shall see. I'll report back with how well this works.

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Sigh, I simply can't bring myself to spec out of swiftmend... my healing gear makes it a staple for healing. So, if I go the balance/resto hybrid, it will have swiftmend, which means I can only get as deep as Nature's Grace and Lunar Guidance. Lunar Guidance is wicked good (basically +116 spell damage / healing), and Nature's Grace is awesome for those Regrowth crit into Starfire at 2.5 second cast combos.

Let's face it, critical strike specs are dead inside of PvP play, so spec'ing into Vengeance simply isn't worth it anymore, so I am free to pick up the 70% ignore knockback on wrath and 15% chance to stun with starfire talent in its place, and take that +10% crit and damage on moonfire talent. The only thing is that I don't foresee this working well with the warrior.

Most the of the matches we play, they start attacking the warrior, then move over to me. So, I will be able to get off a starfire at the beginning of the match, and maybe a wrath, but basically they will be damaging the warrior too much for me to dps the entire time, so I would have to switch over to healing.

However, pairing with the spriest might make this spec work out better. Essentially, if they are after me the entire match, then I can run and heal myself while the spriest is just mana burning and dotting the entire time. Against most teams, this would be key. Additionally, if they focus on my spriest, then I can just spam wrath until the priest needs heals. Either way, that's a lot of damage output tied with the healing...

we shall see...

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The Ooglar

I love the points the Ooglar makes a lot of the time. Ooglar is written by a Gladiator feral druid, a Merciless Gladiator resto druid, and a soon to be Vengeful Gladiator feral druid.

What's wrong with feral? Lots. I've been over the list, you know what's wrong with feral. However, I don't think I put it as eloquently as the Ooglar's author does. My favorite quote is this:

- At the moment, shifting out to Rejuv / Lifebloom is retarded, because they heal for next to nothing; unless you've stacked +heal. If you're stacked +heal, shoot yourself in the groin.

I really miss being feral, but looking at it, I just don't have a good team mate to roll feral with. The Ooglar points out that feral can be an effective 2s team paired with an ice mage, which I can see because feral is comparable to a rogue, and rogue+mage is horrendously powerful right now. Currently, my 2s partners are limited to a shadow priest (which we tried feral with, and it's just not as good) or a warrior.

Warrior really is not a dps class, warrior is a damage+utility+melee-outlaster class. This makes my druid specs hard to play with. However, currently Deep is playing a balance/resto hybrid spec in resto gear that is reasonably hilarious and surprisingly good. I was actually considering spec'ing that and rolling around with my shadow priest again for fun. It would certainly be hilarious if nothing else.

I don't know if balance/resto hybrid will work with warrior as a team-mate, but it doesn't really matter. I'm seeing that team winding down, I'm tired of the same contrived play style, so we're going to focus on 5s more. The 5s brackets allows for more hybrid-like specs for druids, since we are off healers at best, and usually just there for nature's swiftness healing touching whomever has been targeted while the pally was cc'd. After the cc-train on the pally has ended, and the opposing team's target is still alive (while one of their team-mates is dead, hopefully) I can start the cc-train on them, and dps/lifebloom during cyclone's duration.

I don't know... it might be funny, we'll see. I'll post later with something that I'll try out... but it's hard to walk away from feral charge and/or swiftmend, considering how much utility they each bring to the table.

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I was sick yesterday, so I didn't have a chance to post. Additionally, I was furious from our PvP exploits from the night before. Needless to say, I have shunned my druid since then...

I'm just unclear on how people can complain about resto druids in the 2s bracket. Sure, my druid+warrior team can beat a slew of odd combinations (mage+healer, rogue+d/h-priest, damned-near-anything+shamang), but there are just some teams we can not beat. We can't beat a soul-linked lock with almost any healer unless it's a priest... and he has to be pretty dumb. We can't beat any rogue+mage team... ever... in fact my spriest+warlock team can't either... mage+rogue is insane...

We can't beat:
soul-link + pally
soul-link + druid
soul-link + shamang
soul-link + rogue
soul-link + mage
soul-link + spriest

We went up against a team that had a ret-pally and a soul-linked warlock, BOTH were wearing the season 3 shoulders, and we couldn't beat them... the ret pally hit me for 1200... straight away did more damage than my warrior... I just don't know what to make of it...

Oh... right, I was writing one of these blog entry things... sorry, my back started one of its painful omg-my-painfully-amazing-pain bouts. Anyway... we're reasonably convinced, at this point, that the druid+warrior team is bonex'd (which just means in a world of hurt) now that new and better FotM 2s squads are becoming popular. Mage+Rogue is my favorite. Although, soul link will never go out of fashion, so long as it remains where it is in the tree (should be switched with felguard imo, felguard+siphon life isn't as op as soul-link siphon life is).

Anyway, the brutal whamping of our "good" team made us grind even harder; I did up 2 levels on my rogue yesterday between bouts of vomiting to hit 60. Let me tell you, for those of you who haven't rolled up an alt lately, that going from the budget land mount to the epic land mount is something amazing. It makes EVERYTHING easier.

So, the plan now is to get my rogue to 70, get him some arena gear via honor, and to pair him with the shadow priest for some quick arena points and, hopefully, and 1850 rating to get the main season's weapons. Also, we're going to pair his paladin (when he hits 70, currently 40) with my warlock, and will have respec'd him to soul-link and siphon life (unless insane nerfs have flowed down the pipe that makes that a bad spec... unlikely).

Oh well, if nothing else, my rogue is my farming toon. 20-stacks of thorium are still selling for ~20g (and quickly), as are large brilliant shards, though I cannot imagine why. So, the idea is to gear him enough where he can do my druid's old DM-East runs, in which you down the satyr boss, the water boss, the belf and her imp, and (newly added for the rogue) the satyr boss in front of the exit cave with the 2-3 Rich Thorium Veins. I never used to do the last satyr boss because he was a waste of farming time, but since the rogue has mining, it will make more money to do it, than to skip it.

I can hardly wait... the only bummer now is breaking the news to my g/f that my rogue is now 4 levels higher than hers... I wish she would play more, but I really want to hit 70 and start the real farming... oh well, maybe I'll play my 58 shamang with her rogue... I don't particularly care if the shamang ever gets an epic mount... or even to 70... so at least that way I can play that with her without fear of running away with it.

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