Feral + Warrior

Okay, I worry about this makeup quite a bit, actually. Here is what I foresee concerning opposition makeup:

  • Shamang+warrior (getting lots of love since 2.4 was released). Mostly, the pull of this team is that a good restoration shamang should be able to withstand any healer+dps team for a long time. It really is the old restoDruid+warrior team of yore, except that the shamang can wear plate+shield, has earthbind totem, and water shield. Also, a warrior with windfury truly is the king of dps, and is one of the scariest things to see. The plan of attack will be to gib the shamang. This is going to be hard, but hopefully hamstring will keep the shamang in my range. I haven't played this team yet, but the counter I see is earthbind totem / hamstring. While I, as feral with the 4-piece bonus, still outrun the shamang in ghost wolf (assuming earthbind/hammy is on me and hammy is on the shamang), my warrior will struggle to keep up. However, I think that I can probably kill a shamang solo if he has mortal strike applied at crucial times. I foresee intercept becoming used more as a get-away from the other warrior (or an interrupt on the shamang) and a simple stun to get MS applied again. If the warrior is on me, we might have some trouble, but we need to kill the shamang, then I'll worry about healing through the warrior.
  • Druid+Warrior (still rather favorable, though not the best anymore). Likely, the warrior will open on my warrior, so we're going to start off by trying to gank the warrior... which will fail. Then, when the druid shows to heal, my warrior will intercept to him, I will root their warrior, and resume the chase on the druid. Since I am faster than resto druids' cheetah form while in my dps form, I should have no problem keeping the pressure on him, while, at the same time, eating Nature's Grasp procs for my warrior, who will essentially bring MS to the mix and keep hamstring on the other warrior. This team should be less of a problem with our combined damage output and mortal strike. Not to mention that there are now twice the interrupts for cyclone-casts, and feral charge will be completely useless sinse we will both be on the druid.
  • Rogue+Healer. This will be tough, but basically the idea is to try and gib the rogue. Evasion will only take the rogue so far, and rogues are susceptible to damage... which we excel at dealing in large amounts. Paladin will be the toughest team mate for this, with shamang coming in next. Since cheat death is less effective in this patch, gibbing rogues is probably the best bet since they are squishy and let my warrior mash overpower with his base 40% crit.
  • Rogue+Dps. This team will be harder... their CC will likely own ours in the face... probably the same strat as before, except against spriests (which will be the main target)... we will try and gib the rogue and hope to resist some fears and save trinket for blind. Our team will probably excel against mage+rogue, simply because feral druids eat mages alive better than almost any other class. So, my warrior will charge in, get rooted, then the mage will blink away and start casting polymorph... at which point I will pounce him and start the rape-fest. By the time pounce wears off, I will likely be under attack from the rogue and my warrior will have intercepted the rogue. I will continue the pressure on the mage so he cannot polymorph my warrior (if he DOES get one, he'll have to trinket and hope to not get blinded... if blind goes to me, it's the only trinket I need to use because I can shapeshift out of poly). When the mage iceblocks, I will pop out to drop some heals around and hopefully my warrior will be close to killing the rogue by this point. The mage will drop iceblock early (if he's smart) to counterspell me, at which point I will have to take my chances and kill the mage and hope my warrior kills the rogue. If it comes down to me at 50% and the rogue at 50%... I'm not completely sure I can take him... so I'll have to get some duels in before wednesday.
  • Lock+Paladin. Against druid, this will be the same strategy as warrior+druid, hopefully we gib the druid before we're too low on life, then I pop out to drop lifebloom x3 with me 1100 healing and that will (hopefully) keep us alive long enough to down the lock. Against paladin/shamang we will intentionally gib the pet twice and try to burn the lock down before dots kill us. Against priest, we will likely focus fire on the priest because ms + double dps usually outruns priest healing rather effectively.
Well, these are the matchups I expect to see in our lowly 1600 bracket. We may see more "coming of age" comps like restokin+rogue, or restokin+lock, but we don't play outlast against anything anyway... so those makeups shouldn't factor in too much (we don't care if the druid has infinite mana... his life shouldn't be endless against our damage and mortal strike).

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Wait... I'm Thinking...

Feral... man...

Here are some interesting tidbits about ferals. We completely and utterly destroy healing classes that are forced to cast spells which are not instants. Priests? Yeah, I eat priests alive. Ignoring, for a moment, the sad fact that every class but druids have some ability to get non-knockback-able heals, I still have a 1 second attack speed, and so if I do start attacking a shamang who does not have earth shield up, he is unlikely to get off a lesser healing wave between my attacks, maim, warstomp, bash, and feral charge. I have a lot of abilities to interrupt/silence casters. As a melee damage dealer... good, I should have a lot of abilities to lock down casters. However, there is absolutely nothing that I can do about restoration druids. Nothing, they will get themselves up to a 3-stack of lifebloom, then let thorns kill me. There is simply nothing that can be done against druids as feral.

Additionally, I do not have any way to slow anything down, so a good resto shamang will (now) have an instant-cast ghost-wolf to get away from me. They will frost shock me, ghost wolf, and run to a far away (yet still heal accessable) locale, and resume healing... yeah I can shift-shift to continue the chase... but that costs 600 mana of my ridiculously limited mana supply.

Okay, enough of the QQ... we all know that I want a snare deep in the feral tree... that's a moot point.

Here's something fun I did yesterday in AV. I zone in to see that we're winning 385 to 285 (usually the case) and now we're turtling at IBGY (always the case now). So, I start heading over to IBT to try and get it back when I end up just getting into the fray with allies. I pounce a paladin and start my beat-down rotation when I see another druid prowling over. He pounces the paladin too, and we unleash the kind of rape that is illegal in the united states: non-concensual-animal-on-man-rape. I started laughing over hard amazingly hard we raped this paladin. However, the fighting continues, so we just kept the same strategy on all our poor victims. After we clear out IBT, I mount up and head for SHBK because I figured we should capture it for more honor in Turtlerac Valley.

He whispers me: "We should stick together: we're a big bag of rape."

Lawl... yes we are. He may be from a different server and in worse gear than me, but he knows how to play feral. He even has a healing weapon to swap to when we pop out. So, we are defending SHBK from a dual lock combo coming up the steps both with voidwalkers out and soul link up. We focus one down, and we're both at 50%, so we both pop 3x lifeblooms on each other (this is just stupid... how can this be legal) and we're getting something like 1200 hps with 3x lifebloom and rejuv up on each other and ourselves, shift back into cat, and absolutely rape the other lock. It was amazing. I actually support the idea of 2x druid for 2s now. Feral+feral won't be good, it will be amazing....ly bad most the time, with the rare occurrence of greatness when we don't get cc-focused to death. Against, for example, healer+warrior, we could ghost the healer more times than not before the warrior killed one of us, then we pop out to full heal each other and kill the warrior. Against spriest+rogue, however (or worse, warlock+rogue) we would most certainly lose because one of us would be cc-trained the entire match while the other just died... although, the ability of feral druids and running makes it a hard argument that PERHAPS the one being attacked could live through the onslaught until the other is done with his cc...

Who knows. I am actually anxious to see how feral+warrior pans out (I'm guessing poorly... but you never know). Also, I'm TRYING to organize a 5s team of warrior+enhmang+feral+pally+priest for 5s. Each one of the dps has abilities that buff all the rest. Also, windfury for warrior is amazing, and when we crit, we get heals, and when the shamang crits, we all get more attack power... there's a lot of melee synergy on that team. Also, with the introduction of resilience = less mana burning... we might actually stand a chance against drain teams. This might actually be fun again.

Gotta get back to work... but that team might actually work... who knows.

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Oh boy... I went stupid last night and respec'd feral. Here are all the things I remembered and still love:

1) Cat form moving at 145% speed while pwning fools
2) Cocky healers dying to me because they refuse to heal anyone but their warrior
3) Mages 1v1
4) Shred crits that do 1/5 a health bar
5) Shred crits that do 1/4 a health bar
6) Shred crits on greens that do 1/2 a health bar
7) Ravaging a sitting clothie within the first tick of drinking

Things about feral I didn't know until this time around with better gear:

1) Ravaging a sitting druid who capped the wsg flag 20 minutes ago and now is taking 100% damage while I have zerking (I got a 9k crit... it was pretty stupid hilarious).
2) Weapon swap for full heals while pvp'ing

Things about feral I remember and still hate:

1) Parried shred
2) Dodged shred
3) Out of range
4) Out of range
5) Out of range
6) You must be behind your target
7) Out of range
8) Parried shred
9) Nerfed bear form mangle and maul :*-(

In regard to #9, I still drain some of my booze on the floor before each new drink out of respect for the old bear pwnage that, alas, will likely never be again.

Okay, what am I going to do today... prolly try a farming run of DM east... we'll see. I used to do it in blues... purps should make it rather easier. This is because I need LBS, GEE, and some Essences of Air (I think) for the old +25 agi enchant to weapon... which is amazing to me to still be only 10 agi less viable than the newest agi weapon enchant. Oh well, I am gunna try. Also, need some more honor, sadly, I ran out of WSG tokens first after turn-ins, so I will likely be grinding that this weekend for the mark-honor stuff. I almost have enough for the back, leaving the 15k for the neck. Then it will all be down to arena gears... which I need the weapon first (sigh, ~3200), then the s3 gloves for the bonus (sigh, another ~1100), then the helm (goodbye awesome engineering helm... you've been good to me).

So... with the rate at which my team is sucking, it will be ~8 weeks before I have all that gear... unless I get to playing some 5s... which I may be coerced into doing. It doesn't even have to be a good 5s team... just enough to knock a week off or something. Plus, 5s is way more entertaining (and much less head-splitting) than 2s.

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Damn It!

NO, I did NOT spec feral yesterday... and, yes, I realize that makes me a liar. I was excited all day until I got home. I realized a few things: first, I would be a horrible feral if I did not have the 4-set feral bonus, simply because ferals need the speed (and my blues have zero resilience on them); second, I could only have the 4-set bonus OR the weapon yesterday, not both; and third, I still had quite a ways to go for getting the clock, neck, boots, and idol.

Luckily, my father's practices seem to have passed to me somewhat and I held off specing feral immediately when I got home because I really wanted to see if they had fixed the important bugs plaguing feral (no, not the range bug, I never expect that to be fixed): Nurturing Instincts had to work right and the season 3 glove bonus had to work right for me to even consider specing feral again. Both those seem to be the case, so now I am saving up points again. I bought the s3 legs and s3 chest for feral, which puts me at 4/5 feral (s3, s3, s2, s1) and the engineering helm. I did the repeatable mark turn-in to grab some much-needed honor and picked up the boots, so that puts me up to only needing the neck, back, and weapon (and the s3 gloves... but that will happen eventually). Nice, now the feral gear is starting to take shape. I only need 22,848 more honor, and 3261 arena points before I can spec feral again.

Here's the kicker, though: last night I get invited to do Karazhan with my girlfriend's brother's group, so we clear through Illhoof (who did not drop the hentai-staff sadly) and I ended up with 18 badges once the smoke cleared. If I can knock out arena quickly today, I might be able to finish up that Karazhan run and get my feral idol, which would be very good for me as it would mean I would not have to stay resto unless I wanted to. See, this is the whole thing. The only reason I stayed resto yesterday is because I knew I would probably not get a Karazhan spot if I were feral... that's just the way the cookie crumbles. So, I figure that I will finish this Karazhan run, get my 20 badges, buy my idol, and probably spec back over to feral... even with the blue weapon, neck, and back. Then, I will simply grind my way up to the gear I need. The honor stuff will be easier because honor grinding as feral is actually fun (as compared to resto, which is annoying at worst and boring at best), however the arena gear will be a little rough... but I am prepared for that...


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Say Hey!

WHAT!? Oh noz, 2.4 dropped today and I'm still quite a distance from my full feral epics... but I said I would spec feral if the patch dropped today... quite a conundrum. On the one hand, since we merged the teams, I can suck on the feral+warrior team for 3 losses, then win 7 on the spriest+warlock (which we're pretty good at doing, atm) and not worry too much about the team rating. With all the changes to personal rating, it would also be slightly better to do it now, as our personal ratings on the warrior+feral are about 1600 since we had to scrap the other team. So, the highest personal rating on that team in play would be ~1600, so we'd play against 1600 rated teams instead of 1800 rated teams. This could also be a problem, however, because we will likely gain and lose team points based on the team rating, not the personal rating. So yeah, we'll play a 1570 team, lose to it, and only lose 15 personal rating, but the team will lose 45 because it's 300 rating higher... this could be a problem.

Well, I'm spec'ing feral when I get home, and I will have to run some battlegrounds anyway to continue the honor grind (which should be easier because of the 4marks-400 honor quest and instant-honor now), so I'll see if I think feral is viable.

I'll keep this updated.

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If 2.4 Lands Tomorrow...

I will be spec'd feral by the end of the day.

I have made up my mind, I am determined. Feral needs love, and the only way I can show that is by playing it and complaining non-stop. We are legion.

At least I will have better gear than before when I was feral... if nothing else I should be impressed by the new numbers and better game-mechanics (also, I have healing gear I can switch to if need be now).

I have been toying around with the idea of spec'ing less straight-up damage and more utility+damage play. I remember life before Control of Nature... it was basically the worst thing ever. I am not sure I can live without it at this point. I imagine that in 2s I will be the focus target most the time (on a warrior+fdruid team) and they will either be double dps or dps+healer, and sometimes the dps will be on you, and you NEED to cyclone someone and cannot waste the 1.5 seconds to cast barkskin (not to mention the mana). So, I came up with this spec as the answer to that. It has control of nature, but I had to give up Primal Tenacity which is really useful in pvp a lot of the time as fear completely destroys feral druids and I only have but the one trinket. Also, I lose the impact that Naturalist gives me. 10% increased physical damage is amazing, but it would only be 4% increased physical damage if I pick up Control of Nature.

This decision will be a hard one. I am probably not going to go this spec immediately, but if I find myself the target more so than the cc-receiver, then I might try it out.

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Party Time

My determination has never been more resolute.

I went to a friend's birthday party on Saturday with my girlfriend, my brother, and some friends who did not really have ties with the person whose house we were attending. So, we meet up with a handful of my fellow graduating computer science majors and drink until the early morning hours. Of course we talk about WoW because more than half of us have played it at one time or another. In any case, a friend of mine was talking with my brother and myself and we were discussing our arena ratings, etc, when I mentioned that I would be switching back to feral after being resto for much of s2 and all of s3.

"lawl, stay resto for pvp." - Him

Something clicked inside me. I cannot exactly describe the emotion, but anyone who was spec'd feral before TBC will know what I am talking about. I am talking about that resonating anger that comes from someone telling you that your favorite way of playing a game is bad. It fills you with determination to prove them wrong. I can remember the days of 60 being told that I could not tank in raids, even though I had 50% more hit points than our Nefarion tank and twice his armor. Sure, I could still be crit, but I would only take as much damage as one of his normal hits --

as an aside, let me briefly discuss my amazing tanking gear setup. I had blues and purples from all over. Anything that had stam and lots of armor was the right way to go. I had the Lava Belt which is a pattern gained from revered marks from the Thorium Brotherhood... which took some grinding, I had the Molten Helm, same thing, but you could not get bother as a leatherworker, you had to have someone make it for you. I still have Thrall's Resolve and the Ring of Protection. The only two druid tanking rings pre TBC. I had the Smoking Heart of the Moutain and the Mark of Tyranny as the best tanking druid trinkets in the game. The list goes on and on. When the smoke cleared, I had 75% damage reduction from armor in my fire resist set (about 300 FR).

-- Okay, this fanatical druid love is what I am all about. I do not get into the game and say to myself "how can I hate myself today... I know, feral druid!" Rather, I remember playing the game to spite everyone else (this is probably a psycological disorder I have... the only time I am having fun is when I am putting it in the face of everyone else at the same time >_< ). Also, people vastly underestimate the utility play of feral druids. This underestimation is usually a gross upper-hand when it comes to competitive player versus player action because I can usually put out more damage than my opponent is expecting and I can also heal better than my opponent is expecting (significantly more true in the 2.4 patch due to naturing instinct), and I have Cyclone, which (while getting nerfing in the 2.4 patch pretty significantly) is horribly useful at stopping everything dead in the proverbial tracks be it healing, heals, damage or opposing crowd control.

Bah... Oh well, I get the Merciless Gladiator's Maul tomorrow, and I am slowly, but surely, making progress toward my last honor gear pieces (boots, neck, back) while at the same time amassing LPSs for enchants and badges for the Idol of Terror. Speaking on the badge front for a moment. I got keyed for Karazhan last night by finally doing Black Morass, so I may be increasing my badge-earning ability. If karazhan ends up being simply a gross badge-run, then that (and Zul'Amen) will net me ~30 badges every 3 days if I can stomach the PvE until I have enough saved up. What am I striving for? I have no idea. I only need 20 for the idol, and I only need 60 more if I want the improved back, as well (which I kind of do because armor penetration scales against armor... which scales with swing speed... which kitty form has). In the back of my mind I keep thinking that I want the Staff of the Forest Lord, but I know that 150 badges would be a long time off, and the stat increase is not nearly substantial enough for that kind of badge requirement. A side-by-side comparison shows that the badge staff would be ~175 more attack power, 33 more stam, and +0.2% crit. However, it would come at the cost of 18 hit rating and 33 resilience. All thing considered, I feel that the Merciless Maul is probably the better of the two for pvp, just because of the resilience aspect.

I also need to continue saving arena points to get my last two (three if I do not wear the Deathblow goggles, but the extra stealth detect is nice from time to time) feral pieces. I need the chest and the legs, and those are the two expensive pieces. Also, I am still disadvantaged in that I have the s2 hands and the s1 shoulders for feral. I need the s3 hands most definitely since the Maim bonus is another great use of utility. Also, the s1 shoulders for feral just are out of date, I need more stats from that slot in order to stay competitive.

... I have long road ahead of me, and if 2.4 drops tomorrow, I will be ill-prepared to make a move one way or the other. Resto druids will be like wet tissue to melee classes with some mobility, and feral is only good so long as it can put out great dps and provide excellent utility... neither of which I can do tomorrow ...

"You are not prepared." - Illidan (may have been right, after all)

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I Wish I Could Name My Pet "Trogdor"

I am listening to a BBC podcast regarding piracy (with special interview with Peter Sunde of The Pirate Bay), so if my train of thought wanders, I am sincerely sorry.

SO, the rape... yes... No, not my druid. There is zero rape going on concerning my druid, sadly. My warlock though, oh man, there is RAPE involved. I touched, briefly, on my new spec on my warlock in my Illusions post. However, I do not think that the sentiment truly came across -- that is, I do not think that any of my readers truly understand just how strong this build/team is. So, I'm here to rectify that ignorance.

The 9/41/11 build that I am currently using has many strengths in 2s play. The first of which is obviously soul link. There are a number of good things from soul link: you share damage with your pet, thus reducing the amount of net damage you take, you get a 5% multiplier on your damage done, and the most powerful aspect of soul link is that your opponent is almost always going to choose to attack your teammate. "Why?" you ask -- because you just absorb too much damage to be a real target at first. Also, instant cast corruption is always amazing, but pairing it with shadowburn is the best combo in the game. Additionally, because everyone is busy not paying attention to you, you are free to spam shadow bolts with your 5% multiplier on soul link, and your 5% multiplier on Felguard, which ends up being better than shadow mastery. The last amazing aspect of the spec is Felguard.

Now, I have shared a laugh at the expense of the "nubguard" spec in the past, and maybe it was only because they did not have great damage gear at the time, or resilience had not been piled on, but for whatever reason, I could kill a nubguard-lock as a feral druid more times than not, soul link or not. Now, because warlocks have amassed resilience and just a ridiculous amount of spell damage, "nubguard" might require a renaming to "rapeguard" or "deathguard" as that is all he really does. Rapeguard has a few interesting aspects to his play. The first of which is the fact that he does surprisingly good damage even against plate-n-shield toting paladins. It turns out that while this is nice, it is not the best aspect of the Rapeguard. Intercept, on the other hand, is indeed the best aspect of the Rapeguard. Putting Intercept on auto-cast (which is stupid on paper but amazing in play) turns out to demoralize and destroy healer+dps teams (even druids because of cyclone/roots). If the Rapeguard is attacking one target, and the other hostile starts a cast, and the Rapeguard is in range and has LoS (usually the case for healers), he will automatically intercept to the caster, then run back to his target and continue the rape-fest. This turns out to be amazing for catching Flash of Light in clutch situations when my shadow priest is mid-mind-blast or other cast and cannot stop to silence the healer. The intercept stun gives just enough time to finish his cast, then silence the healer, which improves our damage output and control over the match by a large amount.

Okay, I can talk about his play, but let's put it into perspective. Let's say that you played mage+spriest, but your mage did not have counter-spell and was spec'd fire. Now, that is not a good team, honestly, it is not. The mage does not have enough options for getting away from a dps to cast a spell (which does considerable damage... it just cannot be cast). Okay, that sucks. However, let us now change the game such that the mage gets to bring any 65 warrior he wants, only the warrior cannot have MS, and must wield a fast two-hander, but on top of that, he shares damage with the warrior, and so long as the warrior is alive, the mage's damage is increased by 10%. This is essentially what my warlock is. We roll a 3s team in the 2s bracket. We do insane damage because my Rapeguard is chasing down whomever I like, he intercepts other hostiles when they start casting (especially useful against warlock+druid when the warlock starts to try and banish because Rapeguard intercepts banish, and I usually fear the warlock during the stun).

Rapeguard: "You just got raped."

The amazing thing is that this team seems to excel against all the cookie-cutter teams with gear at this point in time. This team absolutely destroys druid+warrior. This team beats rogue+lock most of the time because of the dot-rape coupled with sbolt bombs landing on the rogue. The closest match we had to losing outright was against a ret-pally+rogue because we just did not expect the pally to start swinging a s3 sword. The rogue died from dots with me and the pally at 50%, and paladins cannot kill a Rapeguard warlock with Hammer of Wrath, it just does not do enough damage. So, some light-weight drain-tanking and a win there, but still much closer than my cavalier recollection makes it seem. We beat up on sl/sl+pally pretty hard because we do not stop raping the pally when he bubbles. We beat spriest+rogue, though that was just a weaker version of sl/sl+rogue. The only losses we have sustained on this team are from disconnects, and one team who actually beat us (during the first 7 games we played it, but I do not remember what the makeup was, something like disc+rogue but we just played poorly and deserved to lose... I do not remember and I am not worried that it will happen again).

... Trust me, Rapeguard ...

We did EotS with these two last night because it was the daily. While my brother, the Shadow Priest, always leads in killing blows, I am always leading in damage done by at least 25% of my damage. We just make the win that much easier for our team. We sat mid, and pushed out whenever someone got ballsy enough to step up, which did not happen much after the first few 5v2 attempts failed. We capped 3, then we pushed to the fourth graveyard and farmed hks. It was amazing how well the two of us could hold back an entire team.


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Oh Heroics

I did heroic ramparts last night with my girlfriend's brother (tanking on a warrior). The run was... less than amazing. We had to PUG it because his guild was mainly doing TK at the time, so we had major scrublets as dps and they were reasonably bad. Oh well, I won a pattern drop which sold for 222 gold on the auction house (and I needed that gold pretty desperately), a shard, and got 3 badges. I do not honestly understand the complaint of hardcore PvErs who say that giving away amazing badge loot in 2.4 slaps their accomplishments in the face. Getting badges seems hard. It took me 3 hours to get 3 of them... I'm not going to spend 150 hours total getting an amazing feral staff... it's just not going to happen.

Anyway, I was promised that this type of run is rare, and it will be much faster in the future. That, and I do not think we're going to be doing ramparts anymore because he (gf's bro) got his tanking belt to drop, so we'll probably move over to heroic mech for the 5-badge drops. Admittedly, I may finally finish the kara keying chain to get keyed for that... 22 badges dropped on a run that should take no more than 3 hours sounds pretty amazing to me. I do not really care the mode of getting said badges... I'm not planning on getting the 150-badge weapon, it would just take too long. Instead I will settle for the idol, then get back to honor grinding.

Though, I am not happy about that situation either... it seems that the honor cloak and the honor neck are only minor upgrades to my blues. I am starting to remember this... vaguely. Maybe that was my main problem before, I was running around in blues and purples with 200 resilience and 10k health. While those stats may be fine in the generic sense, on a double-dps team, it just will not make the cut. Anyone, I have replaced the two blue rings I used with their purple honor counter-parts, and I am about 1000 honor away from replacing the blue wrists with the vindicator's wrists (a substantial upgrade in its own right). In terms of "what's left", there is the neck, the cloak, the pants, the chest, the boots, the wrists, the weapon, and the idol. Like I said, I will have the wrists tomorrow easily, and this coming Tuesday will mark the s2 weapon for me (we combined teams and so my druid has a personal rating of 1525 now >_< ). After that, I will be spending my arena points on s3 feral chest and pants, which leaves the honor grinding down to neck, cloak, and boots. That means that I need to make ~45000 honor starting tomorrow before 2.4 lands... and that is no easy challenge even for an amazing honor-grinding machine like myself. Especially when one considers that I have to continue running heroics to get enough badges for the idol.

Grawr... it's a long grinding road ahead of me... at least feral is still in the distance. I wrote very early on that the defining characteristic for my brother and myself is that we both are gluttons for punishment. We are stubborn, we stick to what we like, even if it does not work to our advantages, and we love the fact that we are doing what we want, even if it means losing... which we hate. We are only truly happy when we're miserable... which is, in and of itself, miserable... which is probably why I am looking forward to grinding honor/badges/arena-points and then finally trying a horrible team make-up that will struggle to get above 1650...

I am a glutton for punishment.

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I like to delude myself on occasion. It is not because I like getting my hopes up so they can fall farther, rather it is because getting one's hopes up is enjoyable. It is fun to look ahead and hope (and in rare occasion: expect) that the future will be okay.

I don't expect that fdruid+warrior will be a 2s contender come 2.4, nor do I believe we will magically hit 2000 with it (I'm not truthfully expecting to hit 1850 with it). However, I do think that it will be more fun than rdruid+warrior. As a resto druid, you spend the entirety of a very long match running, healing on the run, cc'ing on the run, and trying to live through any team with a rogue. This is the crux of my main complaint. Before I spec'd restoration, I was feared by rogues. It did not matter what spec they were, they were putty in my hands head-to-head. Feral is good at dealing damage and being versatile enough to heal through rogue damage. Eventually, the rogue would bleed to death. However, as restoration, there is not a whole lot I can do against a rogue. Sure, I can heal through their damage for a while, but it is incredibly mana intensive, and I have to use cc's to live through the worst of it.

That being said, my brother and I were playing golf yesterday (through gail-force winds... it was incredible) and talking about the matchups we will be facing in 2s come 2.4. We came to the conclusion that for most 2s teams with a resto druid, we will likely win. This is slightly surprising considering the amazing numbers for resto druids in the 2s bracket, but if we really break it does, running, healing, and cc'ing are all a druid can do, they have trouble healing through mortal strike, so they cc the warrior until it drops, then heal without it. Against our fdruid+warrior, cc'ing will be tougher because more often than not, I will eat the Nature's Grasp rather than my warrior because of the wicked fast swing timer. Also, the improved Maim (which is supposedly fixed on the PTR) glove bonus will be amazing against druids because of Cyclone-school-lock from maim. I can likely keep cyclone off my warrior (or myself) and lock the healing tree up quite a bit in between pummels. With improved inability to escape MS, the druid will be forced to heal through MS... which is horribly mana inefficient, especially with two dpsers on you.

Additionally, against mage+rogue, our resto team usually lost because of the amazing double-cc action going on. However, as feral+warrior, we will be able to split our dps better. The mage will get charged, nova, blink, then get pounced, thus stopping the initial polymorph cast on my warrior. So, after a significant beatdown from myself (or, more likely, after the rogue shows up and starts the beatdown on me) my warrior will have broken his icy chains and have intercepted the rogue and disarmed him to break the stunlock. This leaves me free to do what ferals do best: straight-own-up-and-down mages. The smarter teams will iceblock, but as long as I can keep the mage from casting polymorph on my warrior, we should be able to out-dps and out-utility that team... at least, that's the hope.

Again, we haven't tried this out, and we have no idea if it will truly be a viable solution, but it seems like (at least at this early anticipation stage) as if it will be a good playstyle. My brother is looking forward to having ~40% crit (and so am I) with his sword, and we keep talking about facing the teams that give us the most trouble (which also happen to be the teams we face the most). I can only hope that there are a few more feral buffs to come, but as of right now, fdruid+warrior won't be a HORRIBLE team...hopefully...


It has been a bit since I updated this blog. I have news! We gave up on having 2 different 2s teams. We decided that since my brother is finishing up his last semester in college ATM, he probably does not have the time to really be focusing on two different teams. We simply combined our 4 players onto 1 team. This really worked out well for us this week because we ended up going 7-3 over the 4 players. The most interesting side-effect of the entire idea is that our druid+warrior had their personal ratings reset, but still play matches at the 1750 level (which the team rating is at), so when they win a match, and it is only worth 14 team points, it might be worth something like 38 personal rating, whereas a loss of 18 team points may only lose 6 personal rating. It's very odd, but we might actually be able to game ourselves into the 1850 personal rating with a lower team rating.

Also, I respec'd my warlock over to 9/41/11, which I was told by a friend-of-a-friend is the new warlock build to be. I have to say, having never played nubguard before, that this spec has a ton of damage. We faced sl/sl+pally 3 times and won each match-up as spriest+nubguard. It was rather amazing, actually, because our plan was "just keep dotting stuff and the pally will have to chose whether to heal or to dispel". While this is an interesting plan in principal, it works better than I would have ever imagined. The simple fact of the matter is, I have only 2 dispelable dots... I have corruption and immolate. Whereas, my spriest brother has like 10 on only 4 casts (or something equally ridiculous). So, I spend the match making sure that the healer has CoT up the entire match, and replenishing dots which don't get dispelled as often as my brother's dots do, so I find myself with literally MINUTES of free time during matches. Free time which I have decided needs to be occupied with fearing the off-target and sbolting the main target. This strategy is amazing because, as the team mate who is hardest to kill, I am honestly ignored for the majority of the matches. Aside from dots or fears, I do not see much direct contact, so I am free to drop these sbolt bombs on my enemies without any resistance.

Also... why is it that my sbolt hits harder now than when I had shadow mastery?! It makes no sense, I have survivability coming out the wazoo and my damage is increased!?!? Oh well, I'm going to ride this gravy train until someone notices and changes it, I suppose. They have nerfed the spell damage bonus from demonic knowledge... but everyone knows that spell damage doesn't account for the huge damage; it's the giagantic multipliers I get. I get +5% damage done with nubguard out, I get +5% damage from soul link, and I get a bunch of spell damage just for having a pet out. Now, I am no slouch at math, but apparently I've noticed something that Blizzard hasn't: Shadow Mastery increases shadow damage done by 10% whereas spec'ing soul link with nubguard increases my damage (shadow AND fire) by 10.25% AND increases my spell damage by a considerable amount.

Okay, that's interesting... but here's what will be truly amazing. Once the expansion is released and I get my warlock to 80... there had BETTER be some amazing 51 point talents, otherwise I'm going to spec 30/41/0 for shadow mastery and nubguard. With that spec, I will have a base of "increases shadow damage by 21.275%", nubguard, siphon life, soul link for damage soak, and the draining abilities. HEYZUESCRISTO... it's going to get nerfed as SOON as the expansion releases and someone hits 80... because there is no way that is intended.

I think I'll end on that note... that insane note... they'd better have some amazing 51-point talents...

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Yeah, the fake patch notes are coming true -- push by push. There was a leaked post containing a lot of the changes in the game thus far. They had leaked:

  • Cyclone range reduced to 20 yards
  • Lifebloom coeff reduced
  • Treants now have a 15% chance to proc entangling roots
  • Natural Perfection was nerfed slightly
and 3/4 have happened (though the lifebloom one was changed from the leaked version to simply affecting the bloom version... but w/e).

Yes, cyclone has had its range reduced by 10 yards... I don't really mind. Why? Well, fear has a 20 yard range... so this brings our biggest CC option in line with other all the other class'. I believe this will affect how restoration druids play, but not a huge amount. Currently, resto druids have a hard time with fast melee classes -- that is to say, shs-rogues and warriors in open areas. Reducing the range on this spell is not a huge deal, but it does put the druid into intercept range while casting it, so that is a warrior buff, and rogues did not really need help killing druids... between mace stuns and the rest of their slew of "stand there whilst I beat you down without retaliation" abilities.

Oh well, the spec most hurt by this is balance druids. Balance druids can no longer cyclone-nuke warriors or rogues. Before, 36 yard range on cyclone and starfire was perfect for cyclone the target, then at 2.99 seconds remaining, start casting starfire. When cyclone ended, starfire landed without worry of the warrior mashing intercept or the rogue mashing shadowstep. Now, this will be a problem (if you cycloned the warrior in berzerker stance) as those two classes can end your nuke-fest rather easily by mashing either of those abilities.

Okay, enough QQ. Again, I think that feral has actually gotten some buffs (and the other classes have gotten some nerfs) which may make feral+warrior a viable 2s team in the 1800 brackets. Who knows, but casual play as this spec could not be any worse-off than casual play as resto. There will be teams we stomp, and teams who stomp us, most likely. It won't be an easy road to 1850... that's for sure, but it will be one worth playing. I started grinding honor again (as resto) which is just as annoying as I remember it being. However, I have this goal in sight: get 4 pieces of the feral set, and you can respec. I'm 2 weeks-worth of arena points away from the s2 feral mace... so I have to wait at least 13 days (though, if I just did some 5s atm I'd have enough next tuesday... maybe that's what I'll do...)

The day I get 4 pieces of feral gear and the mace is the day I respec back to feral... and what a day that will be...

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Damn You Deep

He mocks me... I often find myself listening to DeepFeral4/5 at work here, for one reason or another, and sometimes I chance a peak while the boss is preoccupied. Deep was (because he's resto now apparently) one of the best ferals out there. I see him in bgs doing insane damage and outlasting in arenas, etc. I think that he does have an advantage in that he has the 2-set bonus from Nordrasil which gives him an instant-cast regrowth when leaving a feral form... and I'm not going to be able to get that bonus, not being in a T5 guild.

Oh... he mocks me... with his "lawl: shred crits" moments in which he goes completely gun-ho in a battleground and 3-shots a paladin with ravage, shred, ferocious bite (3.5k, 4.0k, 4.0k). Yeah, that would never happen in the arena... but it's still amazing when it happens in the battlegrounds. Those numbers would look a lot more humble against someone will resilience (1.6k, 1.7k, 1.5k) but being able to drop that kind of damage burstily (not a word) would be handy in 3s or 5s.

Let's talk about that... I want to find a healer for 3s. More specifically I want to find a healer to do warrior+feral+healer in 3s. With the mana-drain nerfs next patch, a druid wouldn't be a bad healer for that team and he wouldn't have to worry about mana drains as much. While I was healing I tried enhancement+warrior+restodruid and we did alright. The only difference is that the shamang becomes the main target against good teams and he can't stay on anything to dps it. Also, I've found that you can reduce a team to 1v2 if the main target is mobile.

That is, if I (the feral) am the main target, as I suspect I would be, I can turn on the jets and run while my warrior continues the beat-down on our target essentially taking 2 dpsers with me while my healer heals me. Then it becomes a game of cc'ing the other two way on the other side of the map, getting back to burst down our target, and finishing off the rest of the team after that... which is why a druid healer would be best. If the dpsers go after our healer, he can run and cc while we double-burst down our target, then assist him. If the dpsers go after me, my druid can heal me through the damage and cc on the other side of the map.

... Just need to find a healer willing to give it a go ...

5s would be fun too... but I'm still looking for the perfect pally+priest combo to sync up with our warrior+feral+enhancement. Oh well, we've got time to search until 2.4 drops.

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Feral Buffs

Hmm. Maybe it is not the buff I was looking for exactly, but there is definitely a good feeling going on right now from the most recent changes. Regrowth has had its cost reduced by 20%. That makes regrowth hit 676 (was 845). That's only 100 more mana than a shapeshift... very interesting.

BUT WAIT, there's more! After looking more closely at the changes, I notice that Naturing Instinct says that it increases healing by 50/100% of the druid's agi. Then I got to thinking... how much agi do ferals have in caster form? Well, judging from a random feral druid I found wearing 3x s2, 2x s3, rings, and the like, it looks like ~450 agi in caster form isn't completely out of the question. That's pretty interesting... 450 healing in feral is really something worth noting.

Don't get me wrong, 450 healing isn't going to do much... but it's helpful for hybrid play. Why? Well, simply because I can switch over to my s2 mh/oh combo for an additional 560 healing. OH, wow, that puts me over 1000 healing as a non-healer spec. That's reasonably interesting and potentially useful. I'm not entirely sure that anyone has gotten wind of this yet. Being able to switch from a rather good source of dps to a rather good (albeit short-lived)
source of heals is a surprising turn of events.

I wonder if Blizz realizes what they have done.

The warrior+druid team now stands a bit better chance as a 2s contender (not a great one, but decent if nothing else, as most teams won't have a strat in mind for our makeup). Regrowth at 675 mana is the real crux of the argument, though. Since regrowth is actually a relatively decent amount of healing done with +heal, the burst-n-switch strat that we will likely employ will be pretty interesting. We'll do burst damage, then I'll fall off and switch to patch up whomever is the most damaged, then when we're back up a bit, I'll go back to cat form a burst some more.

Obviously paladin+warrior/warlock will be our most difficult matchup. Druid healers are still going to be good, but I'll have the 4-piece feral bonus, which means that my dps form moves as fast as resto's escape form (cat, travel, in that order). Also, my warrior will be able to keep the spamstring going, and between two melee bursters like us, we'll be able to down a druid rather quickly, even with bear form because of my bleeds. Also, my warrior will have to worry less about cyclone because of Maim interrupts and spell locks.

Paladin+dps is just going to be hard. Against rogue we would be at an advantage, because we'll just live through evasion as best we can, then burst hard and fast on a cyclone-rotation between the pally and the rogue and hopefully we can down the rogue in that amount of time. Plus, we have lots of interrupts to use against the pally. Intercept, pummel, maim, feral charge, 2x warstomp, cyclone, and fear. That's an interesting bucket-load of cc... since it doesn't share DR across the board. Paladin+warlock will be basically unbeatable unless we can down the pet twice. If we can down the pet twice, we'll be on the warlock reasonably hard... but it'll require me to still get free and drink to heal. If we can down the pet twice, stay above 50% each, then focus some burst on the warlock, we can win. Pally+warrior will be equally hard, but at least we can spread our dps a little better. Since all our damage is melee, we won't be able to do anything to mitigate that factor except through my bleeds.

Our real advantage will be over other traditional double-dps teams. Against mage+rogue, the main problem with warrior+resto is that if you don't heal early, they'll burst-n-cc your warrior-n-you. If you do heal early, they'll cc your warrior and burn you down. There's a real point in there where you start the heals, and catch one of them off guard, so the blind hits you, but sheep hits your warrior... or something... it's a game of luck. HOWEVER, warrior always does the same thing: busts up in sword-n-board and charges in, switches to def. stance and hopes to reflect a frostbolt or poly or something to get an advantage. Mainly, though, he charges, the mage frost novas, blinks, summons, then starts the pain train on the warrior. This will be an interesting tactic against feral+warrior, because after the warrior charges, the mage frost-novas, then blinks, SCAPRISE, there's a feral druid there ready to pounce. So, we get the beatdown started before them. Warrior trinkets (or w/e) and intercepts in with the two-hander and we burst-force the mage to iceblock. That strat will probably be the same against spriest+rogue, except we'll waste no time in bursting the spriest down as hard as possible.

Bah... now I'm excited about feral again... that's almost a bad thing... because these hopes are sure to be destroyed as feral is still really hard to play well. I love trying to play it well, but it's hard in most scenarios. Oh well, only time will tell. Until then, guess I'll keep grinding honor and arena points to get the gear.

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Okay... politics for a moment

Let me briefly talk about politics and why the feds will never win in controlling the public. The president signed a piece of legislature making it legal for the united states postal service to search and confiscate a person's mail. Why? Who knows... who cares. The point is that GWB is taking the "if you don't have anything to hide, you have nothing to worry about" stance a bit too far... and it's going to bite SOMEONE in the ass, but it won't be the public techies.

What does this mean for the United States Postal Server? Essentially, that the president is all for it going out of business in favor of other post mediums (FedEx, UPS, etc). If the choices are between the USPS (which will open, read, possibly never deliver your post) and FedEx (who will soon publicly state "We won't read your mail and we won't give it to the feds without a warrant!"), the smart public will chose FedEx. However, this is a slippery slope that started with phone taps, as many will recall. When the government starts spying on the public, the public starts retaliating in kind.

Here's the thing, if the government ever DID (and it's unlikely being as moronic an idea as it would be) start reading our emails, then the techies would start (already do) encrypting their emails with public/private keys so that only the intended receiver could read the email. This is NOT to say that the email would be private and the government would be forced into say "awe, shucks... guess we can't read that one," but rather they could (after serious decryption) eventually get the contents of the email, but presumably the data would be so non-helpful that such measures would be futile. Wait what? Oh... see, if EVERYONE uses high level public-key encryption, then decrypting every message (to see who it's from, what the body is, etc) would take a ridiculous amount of computing power to crack.

Long-story-short: the government can only spy on people who they do not want to spy on. That is to say, if you don't have anything to hide... hide it anyway. Why? To conceal the people who do have something to hide. Also, in case you want something to hide later. Oh, and lastly, to say a nice big "fuck you" to the government who feel like shitting on the Constitution is completely okay.

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When I Go Feral

It's gunna suck, I know. Oh well, I like feral more than healing. Healing is boring. Healing is 1-dimensional. FERAL is multidimensional bliss.

Okay, so far it's either spriest+feral (which we tried before when horribly undergeared... but it might be decent now that we have gear) or warrior+feral. Warrior+feral has hamstring... and warrior also gets the +5% crit bonus, so that's helpful. However, spriest has good damage soak and doesn't require standing on top of someone to do damage. Of course, spriest is beaten by dpriest because of dispel whereas dpriest gets eaten alive by warrior+feral. We'll probably try both, but I'm guess warrior+feral will be the better makeup, even though feral+spriest would be reasonably good damage... feral just doesn't bring enough "stand there and die" that rogue brings to spriest. Warrior+feral = decent damage output + ms + hammy. Usually, whatever we're fighting will be running initially, and hammy keeps them in range of shred... so that would probably be the best team... otherwise shred is hard as hell to get off.

Okay... well... that's settles 2s... but I want to try our luck at 5s. I like the idea of warrior+enhancement+feral because each bring good dps AND group utility (unleash rage or whatever the 35-point talent is for shamang, iLotP from feral, battle shout from warrior), but it will be hard to talk two healers into that setup... pally+dpriest would be the best option prolly... but those are scarce to find (with gear and skill... and willing to team with enhancement AND feral lawl). Who knows... it might be hilarious... it might work... though I doubt it... at least we'll laugh when we win!

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Still Waiting...

If it takes a lifetime... I WILL WAIT FOR YOU!!!
Yeah... still waiting on those feral buffs on the ptr...

I realize that I'm probably waiting for a train that does not come to this station, but all I have left is hope. Hope in the idea that feral will become a viable option for arena play. At the present, it is fairly simple to bubble around 1800 in the 2s bracket as a feral druid teamed with a warrior or a rogue, but the fights almost inevitably become "ah oh, heal the warrior" matches in which cc and healing hold too much of the feral's time. Maybe this is how Blizzard intends it to be, if I were a feral druid and could do these things at will AND have amazing utility while in my dps form, then perhaps I would be too powerful an adversary.

At this point, it seems like feral probably will not receive any worth-while buffs, though they are in need of them for arena viability. The argument often thrown against feral buffs is that it is a "pve spec" rather than a "pvp spec." At present, this may indeed be true, but it is a fallacious answer in that feral druids have pvp gear specifically implemented in the game for said spec, whereas prot warriors do not, and therefore are not for pvp by design, rather than by flawed implementation.

I personally feel that feral druids do not need an MS debuff, though they do need to have access to other abilities that other melee classes get. A snare, weapon enchants proc'ing while in form, and the ability to eat/drink/use items while in form are essentially the only changes I see as "critical" changes that would improve (if not completely rectify) feral viability in the arena.

Okay, enough talk about what ferals need. This has been done to death (both by myself and many countless others on the official druid forum). Let's talk about good reads. My brother has started a blog of his own in which he discusses, what he calls, "adversarial gameplay" and the development process, ideology, and implementation concerning it. The first two reads are very interesting which left me asking the question of "how can these problems be fixed in currently main-stream games, such as WoW or DotA, etc?"

The blog is still young, but I advise any and all of you visitors to go check it out at guntir.blogspot.com. He's currently writing a strategy game for his senior project in school, so it will be interesting gaining insight into this world of game creation that I am fairly unfamiliar with (though I do offer opinions on how best to balance game-play in WoW every post... so I may have some insight into certain topics). I already posted a reply to his most promenant (non-hello-world) post, so the debate will likely begin today.

Eneewace... I guess I'll get back to work... my bosses don't seem to like the fact that I'm posting in my blog instead of working for those hard-earned bucks... but w/e... this project is dumb anyway. I suppose I could just wait on my feral buffs... as I am sure they're coming to the ptr soon...

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