Archive for October, 2011
Greetings from Barcelona, Spain!
In a few hours I will be boarding the Carnival Magic. This is a 16 day cruise all the way from Spain to Galveston, TX.
I won’t arrive stateside until November 14th, and I will most likely not have Internet onboard.
I apologize for the quietness of the blog, but fear not, I will return soon!
One of the questions from the Q&A today was what the developers plan to do to address the problem with Eclipse, including how we have to sit in Solar to cleave and do decent AoE damage.
It was revealed in 5.0 that Hurricane would now have a ‘Arcane’ component while in Lunar Eclipse. Now, let’s hope they actually buff Hurricane, because lord knows we don’t use it as is for most AoE. I shall call this new ability Hurarcane! (get it?).
I think I would be satisfied if they returned the splash component to Starfall. Right now, it does the same damage across 2 or 200 targets. If Starfall could actually splash, we’d have decent Arcane AoE back.
I’m sure you’ve all heard about the World of Warcraft Annual Plan by now, and rest assured, I’ve already signed up so I can get into the Mists of Pandaria Beta ASAP!
Another neat aspect of the Annual Plan is that it will give it’s subscribers Diablo III for free. It was also just announced that for those who desire to be Annual Plan members and also purchase the Collector’s Edition, part of the price of the Collector’s Edition will go towards your WoW Annual Plan as a credit.
What are your opinions of the annual plan? Will you be signing up?
The Talent Q&A has finished, and there’s some interesting news as a result.
- An entire class will share one common talent tree.
- Talents will be at every 15 levels, starting at level 15.
- Every tier of talents has three talents available. You will have to choose one of the three. You cannot have more than one per tier.
- Talent changing will be much easier, similar to glyph changing.
- A lot of Druid talents morph depending on your spec, current form, etc.
- Many talents force you into the form that’s required, which makes things a bit easier.
- Most core abilities have been baked into a spec. You will no longer need to talent into them.
I will outline each tier of talents below, as well as my opinions on the individual abilities and the tiers. While there are a lot of COOL things that I currently see with Druids, it still looks like, for most fights and min/max, there is going to be one clear winner. That being said, some tiers seem to be more PVP or flavor, and not really important for PvE scenarios.
First, here’s a screenshot of all the talents:
Tier 1 (Level 15): This tier revolves around movement speed and escaping. A PVP tier, mostly.
- Feline Swiftness: Increases your movement speed by 10% and by an additional 20% in Cat Form
- Displacer Beast (3 min cooldown): Teleports the Druid up to 20 yards in a random direction, purging all periodic damage effects and providing stealth for 10 sec. Attacking or taking damage cancels this effect. Using this ability activates Cat Form.
- Tireless Pursuit (3 min cooldown): Removes all roots and snares, and increases movement speed by 70% while in Cat Form for 15 sec. Does not break prowling. Using this ability activates Cat Form.
While Displacer Beast looks amazing for PVP, especially as a Feral (think blink and vanish together), and Tireless Pursuit looks really viable for balance druids and restoration druids, I think the clear winner for a PvE environment would be Feline Swiftness, simply as it’d get rid of any movement speed increases we’d need on boots.
Tier 2 (Level 30): A healing cooldown tier. Not too impressive for DPS.
- Nature’s Swiftness (3 min cooldown): When activated, your next Cyclone, Entangling Roots, Healing Touch, Hibernate, Nourish, Rebirth or Regrowth becomes instant, free and castable in all forms. The healing and duration of this spell is increased by 50%.
- Renewal (2 min cooldown): Instantly heals the Druid for 30% of maximum health. Useable in all shapeshift forms.
- Cenarion Ward (30 sec cooldown): Protects a friendly target, causing any damage taken to heal the target for 2660 every 2 sec for 6 sec. Gaining the healing effect consumes the Cenarion Ward. Useable in all shapeshift forms. Lasts 30 sec.
First off, I’m not concerned with actual raw numbers (outside of percentages). Cenarion Ward is obviously not tuned yet, or the tooltip shown is for a very low level. That being said, Nature’s Swiftness is no longer “Nature spell”, and Wrath is out. This makes it not very viable in a PvE setting. Renewal looks to be a great tank cooldown, and also a great cooldown for PvP, but probably not effective in PvE. Cenarion Ward looks to be promising as another tank cooldown, and we’ll need to see real numbers.
Tier 3 (Level 45): Crowd Control
- Faerie Swarm: Decreases the target’s armor by 12% for 5 minutes and reduces the target’s movement speed by 50% for 15 sec. While affected, the target cannot stealth or turn invisible. Deals 49 damage when cast from Bear Form. Useable in all shapeshift forms, but incurs a 6 sec cooldown while in Bear Form or Cat Form. This talent replaces Faerie Fire.
- Mass Entanglement (1 min cooldown): Roots all enemies within 12 yards of the destination for 8 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect. Cannot be cast while in Bear Form or Cat Form.
- Typhoon (20 sec cooldown): Summons a violent Typhoon that strikes targets in front of the caster within 30 yards, knocking them back and dazing them for 6 sec. Useable in all shapeshift forms.
Faerie Swarm looks to be more of a tank/melee type ability, and mass entanglement looks amazing for PVP. That being said, I think the only real viable option would be Typhoon, but that’s all dependent on raid mechanics as well.
Tier 4 (Level 60): A cooldown tier that gives unique abilities depending on your current form or spec.
- Wild Charge (cooldown not listed): Grants a movement ability that varies by shapeshift form: Moonkin: Bound backward and gain 20 Lunar or Solar Energy, whichever is more beneficial to you.
- Incarnation (3 min cooldown): Activates a superior shapeshifting form appropriate to your specialization for 30 sec. (Tooltip did not list one for Moonkin, but think of this as comparable to Tree of Life for Resto Druids, it will be a “super moonkin” form.)
- Force of Nature (3 min cooldown): Summons 3 treants to assist in the Druid’s current combat role. Treant capabilities vary by specialization. Useable in all shapeshift forms. (Think Guardian of Ancient Kings for Paladins).
I think Wild Charge will be very interesting in PVP, as it’s form based and not spec based. This could add a lot of utility depending on what you’re currently doing, whether it be defensive and needing to escape, or offensive, such as chasing down a flag carrier. Incarnation will hard to be beat in PVE (and PVP), if the scale that they applied to Tree of Life for Restoration is now applied to Moonkin. I’m interested in seeing what it provides for us. I’d love to cast on the run. Force of Nature will be interesting too, and we’ll need to see what it provides. I think it’ll come down to Incarnation or Force of Nature in PVE, but hard to make a call until we get further information.
Tier 5 (Level 75): Another crowd control tier
- Demoralizing Roar (30 sec cooldown): The Druid roars, disorienting all enemies within 10 yards for 4 sec. Using this ability activates Bear Form.
- Ursol’s Vortex (30 sec cooldown): Conjure a vortex of wind that pulls all enemies within 15 yards towards your own location. Useable in all shapeshift forms.
- Bear Hug: (1 min cooldown): Melee attack that stuns the target and deals 10% of the Druid’s health in damage every 1 sec for 3 sec. Effect canceled if the Druid moves away, attacks, or takes any other action. Using this ability activates Bear Form.
All of these talents look pretty cool in a PVP scenario. I can’t wait to see AoE deathgrip, and that’s probably the option I’d take in PVP, especially in a CTF type scenario. None of these really look that great for PVE. Demoralizing Roar might be a great cooldown on AoE/add type fights, but that’s about it. Bear Hug just looks.. awesome.. especially for bears with huge health pools.
Tier 6 (Level 90): Hybridization tier
- Heart of the Wild (6 min cooldown): Dramatically improves the Druid’s ability to serve combat roles outside of normal specialization for 45 sec. Balance: Healing spells generate Lunar or Solar Energy and benefit from Lunar and Solar Eclipse. In addition, 50% of Intellect as Agility, 100% of hit rating as expertise rating, and increases armor by 95% while in Bear Form.
- Master Shapeshifter: Improves the Druid’s effectiveness at briefly switching between forms. Your melee abilities increase your spell damage by 10% and your non-instant spellcasts increase your attack power by 10%. Both effects stack up to 3 times and last 15 sec. Each ability used which benefits from one of these effects consumes one application of that effect.
- Disentanglement: Shapeshifting now removes roots. In addition, shifting into a form heals the Druid for 20% of maximum health. This heal cannot be received more often than once every 30 sec.
All of these talents sound pretty cool for hybridization, and disentanglement looks pretty great for PVP, but I’m really not happy. For every other class, Tier 6 is their “uber” talent tier, where they get really cool abilities. I play balance druids to be a spellcaster DPS, not to be a healer, or to be a feral druid. I want abilities that further enhance my balance play, and not abilities that still make me a watered down healer, melee DPS, or tank. I really hope Blizzard looks into this. I know a lot of people WANTED hybridization, and I’m glad that there’s a viable option now, but I don’t want to be FORCED into it. Heart of the Wild looks great for that aspect. Master Shapeshifter looks really weak, and I hope they consider giving us an ability for our main spec. The shaman tier 6 suffers from ‘luke warm’ tier 6 as well, although the Paladin tier is incredible. I don’t see any other class being FORCED into hybridization besides Druids.
Anyways. This is my opinion. What do you all think?
The opening ceremonies of BlizzCon have just ended. Mists of Pandaria is official!
Here’s what we know so far:
- New race: Pandaren
- New class: Monk
- New continent: Pandaria
- Focused on war between Alliance & Horde
- Level Cap increased to 90
- Challenge Mode Dungeons
- PVE Scenarios
- Pet Battle System
- New Talent System
Here’s the cinematic in-case you missed it:
While I won’t be at BlizzCon, I will be watching the LiveStream and I’ll be tweeting and covering all changes that could possibly affect balance druids in the new expansion. Expect a talent overhaul! Make sure you follow and participate @SunfyresNest on Twitter.
Another patch has hit the PTRs, and it looks like Wrath has been tweaked based on our feedback. I think they’re much closer to the right track now for Wrath, and Hurricane definitely looks neat.
What are your thoughts?
I think this is rather fitting that I am posting this from my iPad. Rest in Peace, Steve.
The 4.3 PTR notes have been updated once again, and once again, there is silence regarding moonkin. I primarily take this as a good thing, as they don’t see to nerf us, our mushrooms, etc. That being said, I was kind of hoping for a mechanic change to Starsurge to justify the new 4T13 bonus. I guess we’ll have to keep waiting.
That being said, Swipe (Cat) did get nerfed a considerable amount.