A Whole Lot of Nothing

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

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

*All signs point to 'yes'*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bookmark and Share

WotLK Updates

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

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

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

Bookmark and Share

Oh Happy Day!

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

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

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

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

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

1800 personal rating on the button.

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

Bookmark and Share

WotLK Healing

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

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

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

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

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

The One Build

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

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

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

Bookmark and Share

The Bizz

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

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

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

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

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

/takes a break

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


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

Bookmark and Share

Things I Am Looking Foreward To (Druid)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bookmark and Share

Things I Am Looking Foreward To (Warlock)

Chaos Bolt What's not to like about a high damage output, quickly cast nuke that gets benefits from more than half the talents in the tree? Oh yeah, and it shoots through schools. Pally bubbled? Meh... time for Chaos Bolt to lawlgib him.

Demonic Circle Man... giving a destruction warlock MIGHT be the worst idea in the world... but it is a really neat idea on how it is implemented. The only question I have is will my opponents be able to see my teleport area on the ground, or not. If not... then I could foresee chasing down a druid into a corner while a warrior is cc'd, then teleporting back to the warrior (who is attacking guntir) and gibbing him while the druid runs back.

Fel Intelligence While I will miss Paranoia, it's only really useful at the beginning of a match... and only for certain opponents... and let's face it, we aren't going to be beating any rogue teams worth their salt with or without paranoia... so having more int and spirit will be helpful... if only as a debuff buffer.

Shadow Flame An AoE attack that does decent damage, has a short cooldown, is instant cast, and gets affected by over half my destruction talents? Again, what's not to like!? The only downside is the huge mana cost... which MIGHT be addressed soon...?

Backdraft When I cast conflag... it increases the casting speed of my next 3 destro spells by 30%. So, that's 1.05 second immolate, followed by 1.75 sbolt, 1.75 sbolt... if this makes it into the actual game, you KNOW I will be destruction spec'd... because we can call the gib out over vent by "casting conflag."

Pyroclasm The conflag buffs continue. This is a 2-point talent that gives a bunch of spells one never uses a 26% chance to stun the opponent for 3 seconds. They added Conflagration to the list of spells that can proc it. For 2 points, giving conflag a 1/4 chance to stun for 3 seconds is just ridiculous. This (coupled with Backdraft) make conflag one of the best tools in the PvP-Destro's arsenal.

Shadowfury Can now be cast while moving... essentially giving destro locks "shadow grenade." Also, the stun has been buffed from 2 to 3 seconds... which is amazing.

Cataclysm Currently decreases mana cost of destro spells by 5% for 5 points... terribad. Turned into a 3 point talent, gone from 5% to 6% mana reduction (which would be bad if not for) also increases your chance to hit with destro spells by 3%. Now it's amazing... no more gemming for the PvP hit, or wearing stupid trinkets to get enough. I can live with a 1% spell-miss chance.

Molten Core A lot of people have misgivings about this spell. The PvE hardcores are complaining because they only want to cast shadowbolt. The PvPers aren't destro (by and large) and have no idea how good this will be. Essentially, with my PvP-destro spec, I have Corruption out there all the time for added damage (and some damage to off-targets if necessary). Each tick of Corruption has a chance of increasing my fire damage by 10%. My fire damage already has a 10% damage bonus from Emberstorm, a 10% damage bonus from CoE, and a 5% damage bonus from Misery (when I'm with Guntir); with 1000 spell damage, Chaos Bolt would HIT for 2k.

Improved Fear Just amazing... if someone resists my fear, I get an instant-cast fear (if they made it free to boot, I'd be in heaven).

BUT THE NUMBER ONE THING I LOVE MOST ABOUT THE TALENT TREES FOR WARLOCKS RIGHT NOW... I can spec both Nightfall and Backlash+Chaos Bolt without giving anything up that I couldn't live without.

Here is the spec.

I can just imagine it now... casting Chaos Bolt, Nightfall/Backlash procs, drop the 5k instant-attack on my opponent. Also... Backdraft is truly going to open the flood-gates for gibbings. Make a macro along these lines:

#showtooltip Conflag
/cast Conflagrate
/cast [target=focus] Spell Lock;

which will silence the healer for 3 seconds while I drop 1.75 sbolt, 1.75 sbolt, 1.05 Chaos Bolt on the opponent... and if they live I'll put back up immolate and dots and wait for the next attempt... right after I drop shadowburn+deathcoil+shadowflame+shadowfury (my instants)... JEBUS... so many instants for the gib-factor...

Bookmark and Share


Hmm, this is quickly becoming a monthly installed blog. I do not necessarily think that this is a bad thing, but it is definitely not the direction I had originally intended for the site. Admittedly, the problem behind my lack of posts is most likely a lack of interest. Not in posting the funny little eccentricities of my gaming experiences, but rather a lack of interest in the game itself. Lately, I have found that PvP has become a really frustrating grind, and the end of the tunnel is really getting to 1800 on the druid+warrior team. I will most likely either stop playing that team competitively (meaning foaming-at-the-mouth-angry over losses to 1600 rated druid+warrior in full s4 except s3 shoulders and weapon that cost us 18 points when we're at 1799) as soon as we break 1800 and get the weapons. Essentially, we are simply grinding up for WotLK now. We are in that horrible valley which came last time a WoW expansion hit beta. Nothing new is interesting enough to actually facilitate competition, whereas nothing is going to be released for a while, so we're stuck in this "going through the motions" gameplay. I go out and farm up some primal airs every day while doing the dailies, etc etc.

As I stated before, our druid+warrior team hit 1799 at one point, then this past week we fought nothing but counter-comps and ended up going 2-8 and dropping down to 1696 or so. I had stockpiled about 3800 arena points or so, because I wanted to ensure that I had the points to buy the s3 weapon when we finally surpassed that 1800 point. After a lot of nothing happening, I decided that 1800 was a crap-shoot and I should just upgrade my gear instead. So, I go to buy the helm and chest, buy the chest, realize that I need 1700 for the helm, feel terrible, and gem/enchant my new chest. The second we bump over 1700 again, I'm going to buy the helm. I sincerely no longer care if I have the points to buy the s3 weapon if/when we get there... I'll just roll 3s every week and never play the 2s team again.

On to cheerier subjects: our spriest+warlock team is essentially neck-and-neck with our warrior+druid team now. I am a very odd destruction spec at the moment. The trick about destruction is that our opponents are bad, and don't realize that I am destro until it is entirely too late. Another thing, we completely eat warrior+healer alive, unless the healer is AMAZING and I get amazingly bad luck in terms of critically sbolting. At this point, our matches are usually of a derivative of "bait the spriest who will get all his dots out, then mind-blast and death, while I sit back lobbing shadowbolts at the dps target on the spriest." The reason this works so well is because usually we have gone against a string of healer+melee teams, and they almost always choose the spriest as the main target. So, guntir just keeps the melee target breaking LoS on his healer while keeping LoS on me, so I can continue spamming sbolts, keeping dots up, and cc'ing the healer as best we can. Essentially, if we ever get the melee down to 50% and shadow vulnerability is up (mine, not his), then the melee is going to die to what we lovingly titled "the gib."

The gib works like this: sbolt crits and shadow vulnerability procs, we look at the health of the target. If he is at or below 50%, we immediately start firing dps on all cylinders launching shadowfury (trying to hit both healer and dps... guntir tries to keep them close together for this and/or his AoE fear if it is up), shadowburn, and depending on placement and cc options, deathcoil. With shadow vulnerability up, shadowfury will hit for about 1.2k, and crit upwards of 2.5k, shadowburn is comparable in damage except I have seen it go as high as 3k on a crit, mostly warriors who have not yet dropped zerkers stance, and deathcoil will always do 1k, but I will often use it on the healer if he has not been feared by guntir. Similarly, guntir will drop his patented MB-D combo (mind blast, sw:death) which will hit for usually 4k damage combined with shadow vulnerability up. With the quick math, we can see that with svuln proc'd, we can essentially drop about 6.5k damage in 1.5 seconds with the healer cc'd from either fear or deathcoil and an accompanied 5 second silence from guntir. If the healer is feared, then the melee will usually take about 7k damage instantly, which should be enough to off him, but there are also dots ticking, and I usually have conflag available as part of this gib as well, which hits for 2k and crits upwards of 5k depending on the situation. Also, this does not even cover what happens if I am casting a shadowbolt when the previous bolt lands and crits... we usually can kill a warrior in this scenario even if NS-HT lands right after the second sbolt and silence is resisted or some other such nonsense.

I made a short video compilation of some of our wins. Most of the time we are facing stupidly geared warrior+healer teams (full s4 except for s3 shoulders and weapons), but we tend to smoke those. My favorite was against a paladin+warrior team that ended last season at 2100. They started by riding around mounted for a bit, then guntir charged into them and feared, which the warrior broke and started fighting from, but the pally just kept on riding... so I put my felhunter on him. The warrior was following guntir, who was limping towards the paladin, when the warrior intercepted my felhunter, and took him behind a pillar to try and gank him. I was laughing uncontrollably at this point, the pally was trying to dispel the dots off the warrior rather than heal him, so we rounded the pillar, I dropped shadowfury, sbolt, deathcoil, sburn, and guntir landed MB:D to kill the warrior while the pally was standing there like a mook with silence applied rather than bubbling quickly and Holy Shocking his warrior. The deathcoil worked great on the warrior in that situation because it ran him around the pillar, out of LoS from his healer, and INTO the open for our gib combo. This was a team that would absolutely spank our druid+warrior team, and they got completely humiliated against our double-dps caster team.

BTW: the video is about 4-5 minutes long, and has two Bad Religion songs in it: "No Control" and "I Want to Conquer the World." I thought that the songs were apt for what we were doing.

This seamlessly brings me to my last point: what's the point of playing the game if you aren't playing it your way and having fun at it. The destro+spriest team is horribly fun to play because it beats so many of the new FotMs. Shamang+warrior, arguably the new druid+warrior in terms of outlastability and damage output, is probably one of our hardest matchups, but if the warrior OR the shamang is bad, we win. Essentially, if a warrior ever stopped long enough to think about what is happening to him, we could not TOUCH that team between earthshock, grounding totem, and spell reflect. There is no way we could be a smart shamang+warrior. On the flip-side of the coin, however, if we go against druid+warrior, we cannot really lose to that team. If the warrior goes after me, I get instant-cast sbolts while dots do their thing and guntir fears and mana-burns the druid while keeping MB:D and dots up on the warrior. Without fear of dispels, he can get DP out whenever the situation needs it, and he has free reign to spam mind-flay for extra damage. Also, I am currently testing out a new strategy that I saw on a warlock vid which is when a warrior puts up spell reflect, use rank1 Curse of Wrecklessness. The armor loss is negligible for most well-geared melee opponents, but it makes me immune to fear for 2 minutes. Coupled with being undead, this is hilarious against some teams like warrior+priest. I have had a priest watch me trinket out of hamstring, after using WotF earlier in the match, walk over and use his AoE fear on ONLY me to be blessed with the word "Immune" over my head. I am quite sure that I have caused much more annoyance than that... but our team cannot be feared between us both being undead, spell-reflected CoW, and fear-ward.

See... that seamless transition is ruined because of my fervor for competition on that team. The point I was originally going to make is this: why play if it isn't fun. Back in the day, we would play to annoy other players. Essentially griefing anyone who would oppose us. While GMs have made this much harder in the newer times, and world PvP essentially being dead, we have had to get creative with how we can accomplish this goal. My brother and I are currently grinding up a shamang (me) and a paladin (him) for the sole purpose of healing in PvP. I like the way shamangs heal in PvP... it just feels more natural. Also, my brother has long been under the assumption that "anyone who whines about healing as a paladin simply isn't doing it right." So, he's going to try his hand at it. While I do not disagree that he will be a fine healer, I just don't know how much I am willing to dedicate to getting him geared out, etc. We are currently grinding with the idea that the blue reputation PvP sets will be sufficient to start in the arena, but that might not hold true. However, the point is not so much to do well, but rather to annoy people until the WotLK is released.

How are we going to accomplish this goal? Find a disc priest.

We had this idea while golfing last week. What would be the single most annoying team to have to face in 3s, where bursting players down is much harder than in 2s? We decided that a triple healer team would, indeed, take forever to kill, if it was even possible. Currently, the 3s bracket has a few types of team comps: healer+dps+dps (usually double melee, but not always), healer+healer+dps (usually warrior, but we played against an amazing pally+pally+warlock team before), and triple dps. The triple dps teams have a REALLY hard time against the double healer teams, but then again, so does double dps+healer. So, we thought "what could be more annoying that 30 minute matches against double healer?" We came to the conclusion that triple healer (all of a variety that rarely oom, and can always bounce back when they do) would be so annoying that most teams would AFK after an hour or so of arena play, and the others would eventually OoM and succumb to measly dot damage.

Restokin, holy pally, disc priest. Essentially, pain suppression, mana drain, and focused will make the priest the worst target with two healers on him, but a pally is no better because of bubble and high armor since most double dps teams are double melee. Restokin will have the benefit of supplemental damage, good healing, and never going OoM between Dreamstate, and already absurdly high mp5 while casting, and BoW. No one on the team will need to ever cast a heal bigger than FoL/Lifebloom/Flash Heal, so mana efficiency will not be an issue. Also, the priest brings mana burn and additional supplemental damage from dots. Also, with roots, cyclone, fear, JoJ, and HoJ, any one healer will be able to strip themselves from the fight and drink at any time, with the paladin being the only one who will actually need it because of Innervate and Manafiend.

WHAT'S THE POINT!? Well, quite obviously to annoy the reroll teams. I hate queuing for 3s and seeing a team in full s4 (s3 shoulders and weapons) who have either obviously just rolled a 3s team for fun to hit 1800 and sell, or are wildly successful in another bracket and are only in 3s to goof off and beat teams with worse gear than them. We are going to specifically target these teams. The teams who would require so much time defeating our team that they could have probably gone 20-0 had they never faced us instead. They will be our main target, we will relish in the matches that last 4 hours and will result in either an 18 point loss for them or an 11 point win because it will mean that the next time they face us, they should probably just afk and try to not get matched against us. We will be the most annoying team in the bracket because no one will be able to defeat us in a timely manner, and the teams that are competing will ONLY care about beating teams in a timely manner... get those 50 games in per day to hit 2200 with a win percentage of 55%.

They're going to hate us... and at the end of that 4 hour match, the scoreboard will show our team name: "Sorry for the long match"

Bookmark and Share